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Narcos: Rise of the Cartels

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Narcos: Rise of the Cartels
Pablo Escobar: ¿Plata o Plomo? (Translation: Money or lead?)
Fans: Plomo, para que podamos matar este juego. (Translation: Lead, so that we can kill this game.)
Genre(s): Turn-based tactics
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Release: November 19, 2019
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Developer(s): Kuju Entertainment
Publisher(s): Curve Digital
Country: United Kingdom
Series: Narcos

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a turn-based tactics game developed by Kuju Entertainment and published by British publisher Curve Digital. It was released on November 19, 2019, and serves as the belated tie-in to the first season of the TV show of the same name.

Why It's Not Worth Smuggling

  1. To make things simple, it's literally a massive rip-off of the modern XCOM franchise, down to its gameplay and UI.
  2. Ugly graphics that look like from the previous console generation game.
  3. While most turn-based tactical shooters let you move 2 or more characters at once, Narcos stupidly only lets you move 1 character at a time, making the game very slow and tedious to play.
  4. The AI is very inconsistent, ranging from being stupid enough to make dumb decisions and run erratically to being crazy-accurate.
  5. No real depth in unit types as other than permadeath, there are no incentives to swap out your squad members during gunfights. This means that you can complete a mission as a Level 1 crook with really good armour and guns, lots of guns.
  6. Speaking of guns, they have laughably inconsistent damage and accuracy as they can either kill an armoured DEA officer with one magazine or miss completely at point-blank range.
  7. A lot of missions can get terribly repetitive very quickly.
  8. No difficulty slider or in-game save options
  9. Almost all of the playable characters are literally nothing but reskins of one another.
  10. The names of the playable characters are extremely bland and generic and sound like they were created with an automatic name generator.
  11. It nearly killed the well-established Narcos franchise.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The unit classes complement each other really well.
  2. The counteract and killshot systems are very interesting additions to the genre and can offer some decent tactical options.
  3. Customisation through selecting skills can be decent, though there isn't a great deal of variety.
  4. The controls are simplistic.


Narcos: Rise of the Cartels got mostly negative reviews from critics and fans of the franchise.

On Metacritic, the game has a critic rating of 45/100 and a user score of 3.0/10 ("generally unfavourable reviews").[1]

WCCF Tech gave the game a 3/10, criticising the game's one-character-per-turn mechanic, slow and tedious gameplay, dumb AI, lack of motivation to switch characters and repetitive missions while praising its counteract and killshot systems and decent customization.[2]

Xbox Tavern gave the game a 6.1/10, praising its controls and counteract and killshot systems while criticizing its too-accurate AI, dated graphics and lack of difficulties and in-game save options.[3]

Nintendo Life gave the game a 5/10, praising its unique classes and counteract and killshot systems while criticizing its graphics and AI.[4]



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