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Call of Juarez: The Cartel

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Call of Juarez: The Cartel
The game that nearly killed the Call of Juarez series.
Genre(s): First-person shooter
Platform(s): PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows
Release: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
NA: July 19, 2011
AU: July 21, 2011
EU: July 22, 2011

Microsoft Windows
AU: September 8, 2011
NA: September 13, 2011
EU: September 16, 2011
Engine: Chrome Engine 5
Developer(s): Techland
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Country: Poland
Series: Call of Juarez
Predecessor: Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood
Successor: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

Call of Juarez: The Cartel is a 2011 first-person shooter game developed by Techland and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It is the third installment in the series and the only one not to take place in a Wild West setting.


A DEA office is bombed by a Mexican cartel, killing many agents, including officer Patrick Stone. The DEA then contacts FBI agent Kimberly Evans, DEA officer Eddie Guerra, and detective Ben McCall to investigate the cartel and protect Stone's daughter, Jessica.

Why It Doesn’t Call Cartel

  1. Takes place in a modern setting (around 2011, the year the game was made) instead of the Old West like the prior games, eliminating the series' signature setting.
  2. Has nothing to do with the previous games, aside from Ben McCall being the descendant of Billy (one of the first game's protagonists) and the titular gold making a brief appearance.
  3. Lame plot filled with clichés and stereotypes.
  4. Terrible main characters, especially Eddie Guerra: he is extremely prejudiced and cocky. They also have an extreme abhorrent for the law as they commit many crimes despite being officers of the law. These acts include, but are not limited to: getting confidential informants killed, planting and stealing evidence, false accusations of criminal activity, and outright domestic terrorism.
  5. Cliched and outright corny dialogue that tries too hard to be edgy, with tons of forced swearing.
  6. Lots of recycled content. The weapon animations for example, are recycled from Dead Island, another Techland game.
  7. Repetitive environments that are seemingly copy and pasted.
  8. Terrible sound effects that makes every weapon sound underpowered.
  9. Dreadful AI. Your teammates often barely help you, while enemies will just never flank the player and/or stay in cover.
  10. Many bugs and glitches.
  11. Unrealistic physics, with cars having no consistent damage input.
  12. Graphics are much worse comparing to previous games, being really blurry. You can't turn off motion blur, which may be distracting for some people, unless you use the Nvidia control panel on Nvidia GPUs.
  13. All of the endings are disappointing.
  14. Its awful reputation harmed sales of its vastly superior follow-up Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, with quite a few people thinking that was the bad game they'd heard about.
  15. Multiplayer servers on all platforms got shut down, leaving players only with single-player, which of course ain't a good thing, especially considering the game's quality and the fact that the game was meant to be played in co-op.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The soundtrack is decent.
  2. While the graphics are much worse, the weapon and vehicle models look nice.


Call of Juarez: The Cartel received mixed-to-negative reviews. On aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic, the PC version received 50.33% and 51/100, the Xbox 360 version received 47.52% and 47/100, and the PlayStation 3 version received 45.94% and 45/100.

The game has also been accused of racism and insensitivity towards real-life events, addressing issues such as human trafficking and the current drug wars in Mexico with flippant inaccuracy, particularly having swapped the victims of such trafficking from being Mexican women shipped to the US to US citizens being abducted to Mexico (though to be fair, such and other cases of human trafficking do happen). James Portnow of Extra Credits has criticized a level in which you are awarded an achievement for killing 40 or more enemies, on the only level where there are African-Americans, and no race other than African-Americans, adding "This might be the most racist game I've ever played by a major publisher". Though of course this complaint can be considered ridiculous nitpicking.

The fans of the series, for the most part, had been negative about the game. One of the biggest complaints was the change of the theme from Wild West to the Drug War in Mexico and how poorly it was executed.

Edge scored the game 4/10 and criticized many aspects of the game, saying "FPS games, like action movies, can be sublime or ridiculous. This is aiming for the former, and often proves to be the latter."

Responding to the mixed reviews received by the game, CEO of Techland, Pawel Marchewka, said that the game was a "mistake" and he added that while the game is not "bad", but it was not ready when it was launched. In fact Techland wanted to gain the rights to the Call of Juarez series, while they did they never took back this one, making it the only game in the series not to be released on digital stores again.

DX included it on his "Worst Games of the Decade" video stating "Call of Juarez: The Cartel is the spiritual sequel to Rogue Warrior that I've always wanted. It is a game so dumb, that the problems that got it nominated for this category are almost inconsequential because you'll keep playing out of a morbid curiosity to see what stupid thing will happen next".



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