Call of Juarez: The Cartel Multiplayer Preview

The war on drugs knows no boundaries... including online multiplayer.

by

Call of Juarez: The Cartel isn't exactly what you would call subtle. This is a first-person shooter that revels in the grim sounds and imagery that you'd expect out of a conflict between law enforcement officers and the notorious Mexican drug cartels that they're perpetually battling. When you combine that with a presentation that's a bit, shall we say, rough around the edges, it's easy to be put off by the whole thing. But if there's one thing we learned from our recent jaunt through The Cartel's online multiplayer offerings, it's that you can squeeze some extra fun out of the game if you approach it with a sense of humor and a healthy imagination. In fact, you kind of can't help but do that.

Good thing drug runners can't collect XP and upgrade their weapons in real life… OR CAN THEY?

The Cartel is split into two different online modes. The first we played was dubbed simply "Objective Mode," and it has one team of drug runners trying to commit an elaborate series of crimes, one after the other, as the other team of cops tries to thwart them. One of the missions we played may as well have been called "Capture the Cocaine" as our team of cartel thugs pulled off an attempt to break into a storage warehouse, load up our SUV with mountains of cocaine, and then drive off to our safe house a few blocks away. The game's fast pace and loose controls led to a chaotic number of deaths and respawns that were made more hectic by hilariously persistent torrent of swear words coming from the in-game criminals that made up our team. The cops didn't say much, but we enjoyed imagining those officers shouting something to the effect of, "No! Put that cocaine down! Don't make me kill you again! I will totally kill you again!"

After piling up enough bodies, we did manage to get all the drugs loaded into that SUV. At this point--jumping into a vehicle to tear through the city streets--The Cartel started to feel more interesting than just a coarse online shooter. The act of fluidly going from an on-foot objective to hopping into a getaway car for the next stage of the mission was a moderately exciting one, but there were some comical speed bumps that kept the whole gangster-movie scenario from feeling particularly dramatic. For example, once the criminals took off in their car, the cops began spawning along the route to their safe house in the most perfect of locations. The result was that any member of our team driving the getaway car only managed to stay alive for about three seconds before being shot through the windshield. Getting to the safe house became a hilariously slow process, literally, as we were never alive in the driver's seat long enough to accelerate the car to more than a steady crawl. Think musical chairs, only in a driver's seat, and with a lot more blood.

One thing we did like about The Cartel's Mission mode, however, was the way it immediately launched us from one objective to the other without so much as a loading screen. After eventually making it to our hideout with the drugs, the game immediately prompted us to head over to a nearby apartment complex to plant a bomb in the residence of a key witness. Here, we had to dash up some stairs on the outside of the building, steal some gas cans, and then assemble a makeshift bomb fixed to the target's kitchen stove. Once again, it was a slaughterfest as the two sides went at it, which became all the more entertaining if you imagine the street cops had to do all this hard work because the bomb squad truck got a flat tire on the way.

There's a lot to take in with this interface.

Finally, we also had a chance to play a little Team Deathmatch. With a limited selection of weaponry (think shotgun, submachine gun, and pistols), the core combat felt pretty run of the mill. But there were some interesting elements at play, like a partner system that rewards you with various perks for remaining close to your buddy and a downed player mechanic that lets you revive fallen teammates or "execute" enemies. But aside from that focus on teamwork and, well, potential for all-out sadism, the Team Deathmatch was pretty standard stuff.

Call of Juarez: The Cartel is going to be an interesting game when it comes out next month. It's trying very hard to establish a tough-as-nails crime-world tone, but a number of shortcomings take you out of the experience to the point where you pretty much can't help but find humor in it all. Certainly that sort of entertainment has its appeal, but it's not the sort of thing that'll keep you coming back for more. But who knows? Maybe that's just a symptom of the online multiplayer. Perhaps the story campaign will be compelling and wrap enough context around the whole thing to really sell the tone and setting. We'll find out when Call of Juarez: The Cartel is released on July 19.

Discussion

41 comments
skyvongola13
skyvongola13

i think il take this one and captain america super soldier but i confused should i take call of juarez on pc or xbo 360

skyvongola13
skyvongola13

theres so many games coming in the end of the year like call of duty mw3,battlefield 3 ac revelation,deus ex human revolution resident evil operation raccoon city and skyrim and call of juarez the cartel and many more need to save up a lot

holtrocks
holtrocks

Looks to much like cod ill pass does no one know how to be original anymore? Battlefield 3 can't come soon enough.

KILLZoneKILLall
KILLZoneKILLall

If you bought any Call of Booty game in the last 3 years You should give this a go. Can't be any worse. MAG rules!!!!!

KoRniTo
KoRniTo

I feel raped when they call this Call of Juarez. Give my wild western game back.

kaem79
kaem79

Better stick to Witcher:AoK which is a fantastic game.

ishan316
ishan316

I would've liked Call of Juarez to stick to the old Wild West setting.

crunchb3rry
crunchb3rry

Meh. (goes to play the previous two games in the franchise)

hidraaa
hidraaa

xxbinahmedxx this is call of juarez 3

xxbinahmedxx
xxbinahmedxx

i hope that call of juarez2 is better than 1

xxbinahmedxx
xxbinahmedxx

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

avatarcj
avatarcj

We already have Call of Duty , Battlefield , Medal of Honor , Brink , even Uncharted will have Multiplayer . What's goin' on ? Rocker6 you sir are right , this is going to destroy the Franchise just like Duke Nukem Forever did for Duke Nukem .

Rocker6
Rocker6

Another generic shooter,just what we need.I loved CoJ and CoJ:BiB because of their interesting Wild West setting,and because we dont get many good Wild West themed games.But this looks boring and dissapointing,why leave a great setting full of potential and turn the franchise into boring hip-hop shooter? Almost as dissapointing as that new Brothers in Arms crap,another great series ruined.

qqxLV
qqxLV

Oh hey wow, another CoD clone

ghhajini
ghhajini

Seems a good one gonna think to buy this one.. :D

Blayzino
Blayzino

lol @ the top photo caption

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

Funny thing is if this had CoD branding the majority of people would be all over it. If anyone reckons this game would run on an N64 I'd prescribe glasses. Sure it's not up to current standards but it's visually better then anything on the consoles last generation.

dstv
dstv

Who goes around giving all the sensible comments thumbs down ...if i was given this game back when i had a GameCube i would have thrown it out the window ....i mean look at it

Vonage
Vonage

this looks like those 15$ arcade shooters maybe even worst

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator staff

@jeffbordonaro Fixed! Thanks!

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

I'll play it. Virtually nothing else is coming out this summer...

prontopup20
prontopup20

@dstv, lol i think its worse than the n64.

ezjohny
ezjohny

I think the Game developer could do a better job so where it could get a 9.0 or 9.5 rating, that's my opinion!!!

VioletX360mania
VioletX360mania

Ubi is the producing company so this will be awesome. This have to be awesome!

kubb724
kubb724

@jeffbordonaro Reading skill +1 lol

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

sounds like it need some tweaks to make it right, seems like it could be fun...but unfortunately it isn't on my list of games to buy this year, theres just too many amazing games coming out.

holtrocks
holtrocks

Has long has there are no kill streaks im happy ( man im gonna get a lot of thumbs down for this)

Marques123
Marques123

At first I was a little apprehensive. I must now say I'm even more intrigued.

artic1982
artic1982

Looks fun being honest. Let's see if it works

DoomRider13
DoomRider13

Sound crazy to me! I'll watch the review first before buying! B)

blueguykisame
blueguykisame

yeah it looks like it'll be a lot of fun, just hope it doesn't take away too much from the campaign.

suprdupr666
suprdupr666

sounds awesome but ill miss bound in bloods multiplayer