Metascore
47

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 62
  2. Negative: 31 out of 62
  1. Oct 19, 2011
    72
    The newest installation of the Call of Juarez franchise brings the series to modern day. Unfortunately this is like taking a shot in the kneecaps. The game can't stand in it's own feet anymore. The game is crowned with some really stupid game design flaws. It was once upon a time in the west, now it's just west. And plain west is not the best. [Sept 2011]
  2. Aug 2, 2011
    65
    The story is decent but lacks a spark. Supporting characters and dialogue are flimsy and uninspired. Shooting is solid – especially the slow-mo moments – but that pretty much exhausts the topic of the core gameplay elements. I have to admit though dual wielding is fun. There are a couple of car chases that were supposed to raise your adrenaline level but their execution is poor. And there are bugs and run-of-the-mill graphics that add to the smell of low budget that hangs over The Cartel. I hope Call of Juarez 4 returns to the Wild West, because it seems that's where Techland feels much more confident. [August 2011, p.42]
  3. Jul 21, 2011
    65
    Sub-Par shooter that has its rare moments when playing the co-op campaign. Otherwise, a bottle of Tequila is more fun.
  4. Aug 4, 2011
    64
    The new look of the popular Techland francise it isn't enough to reach the shooters standard quality. Just the cooperative represents a good feature to enjoy the story.
  5. Jul 20, 2011
    62
    It's depressing to think that Techland took a popular franchise, came up with some brilliant ideas for a new entry, and then botched the execution-but that's exactly what happened.
  6. 60
    Perhaps with more development time, The Cartel would have been a more compelling experience but, with a game engine that's showing its age, a confused new identity and a fair few technical issues, it falls sadly short of most FPS fans' high expectations.
  7. Jul 30, 2011
    60
    Call of Juarez: The Cartel is a poor videogame. Gameplay lacks in term of precision and variety; graphics is distant from the top of this gen.
  8. Jul 28, 2011
    60
    Call of Juarez: The Cartel isn't going on any short lists for 'Game of the Year', but not every game has to be a complete masterpiece.
  9. Jul 24, 2011
    60
    The game is shot down by bugs, poor design choices and dreary presentation.
  10. Jul 22, 2011
    60
    Some distinguishing features give this shooter a touch of class, but bugs and execution flaws cast a long shadow over Call of Juarez: The Cartel.
  11. Jul 22, 2011
    60
    A perfectly decent game (although in no way spectacular), with a three-player drop-in co-op mode and the characters' different secret agendas adding some replay value. But all the way through, the abandonment of the Western theme nags at you.
  12. Jul 19, 2011
    60
    There's just not enough at stake to make this secrecy worthwhile.
  13. Aug 17, 2011
    58
    The original Call of Juarez had something that had not really been explored, particularly in modern titles. Moving into modern times without maximising the modern gunslinger character this is just another run of the mill first person shooter.
  14. Jul 27, 2011
    58
    Call of Juarez: The Cartel doesn't add anything special to the FPS landscape except for the three-characters storyline, with a mediocre and unpolished technical production. A big step backwards compared to Bound in Blood, and departing from the old wild west setting didn't help.
  15. Jul 21, 2011
    58
    Quotation forthcoming.
  16. Aug 18, 2011
    57
    As long as you know this game has nothing to do with the Wild West and don't mind playing just another mindless FPS game with a vulgar script it's probably worth a rental, or possibly a budget purchase if you have some really low standards.
  17. Sep 2, 2011
    55
    On the whole, Call of Juarez: The Cartel had the potential to be a fantastic game. The plot's many twists and turns would have been superb if it wasn't for the game's poor execution and the multiplayer could do with improving. Nevertheless, it's still a solid game. If you're looking for something to fill the time during the summer drought, this is the title for you.
  18. Jul 27, 2011
    55
    The Cartel has some charm, style and can be fun. Unfortunately it's not a good game - mediocre at best and the developers should work on it for several more months. Maybe then gang fights wouldn't be so frustrating and embarrassing. Techland has produced a low quality game but fortunately it doesn't make your brain permanently damaged. We wait for another delivery and redemption in the form of Dead Island.
  19. Jul 20, 2011
    55
    Call of Juarez: The Cartel, isn't a very good game when you get to the basics. Its low production values and simple gameplay drag the experience down, while an erratic pace to the storyline makes it worse.
  20. Jul 22, 2011
    54
    Compared to the previous Call of Juarez titles, The Cartel is a colossal disappointment.
  21. Aug 15, 2011
    53
    It's almost as if Techland rushed this through testing merely to get back on Dead Island development…which would make sense if they had an idea how bad this game was getting.
  22. Jul 26, 2011
    53
    The Cartel is a mediocre game. Something disappointing because we know the Call of Juarez saga, with much better games and far superior action.
  23. Sep 7, 2011
    50
    The convoluted story is almost pretentious in its efforts at complex character development.
  24. Aug 9, 2011
    50
    It's your basic shooter without any impressive features and that's the problem: It's a game that doesn't stand out from the rest. It feels like the game was developed with an idea, but the idea wasn't executed to its fullest.
  25. Aug 2, 2011
    50
    It may be time to close the saloon doors for good on this one – we've just witnessed the fall of Juarez.
  26. Jul 29, 2011
    50
    Far from polished enough. We miss the Old West.
  27. Jul 25, 2011
    50
    Taking the series out of the Wild West has stripped The Cartel of character. While I understand Techland's desire to move forward, its lost its edge. In a crowded genre, The Cartel is solid, at times fun, but ultimately uninspiring.
  28. Jul 23, 2011
    50
    The Cartel has some interesting ideas behind it. However, too many of them are dependent on co-op, and even with them, long stretches of the game feel like boring, soulless slogs. More damagingly, the charm and sense of fun from the earlier games is largely gone, replaced with what appears to be a desire to ape the low-fi look and grittiness of Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days.
  29. Jul 21, 2011
    50
    The Cartel isn't a Call of Juarez title; it's an extremely average paint-by-numbers shooter channelling the Juarez fanbase for a modicum of credibility it simply doesn't deserve.
  30. Jul 20, 2011
    50
    It's shallower than the shallow end of a kiddie pool during a drought, and dammit, it's such a disappointment, because the series has delivered compelling storylines and settings, if nothing else, up to this point.
  31. Jul 19, 2011
    50
    One of the most generic, bland and uninspired shooters I've played in a long time, and in turn has potentially sullied the work done on the series in the past.
  32. Jul 19, 2011
    48
    At the end of the day the Call of Juarez franchise has taken a giant leap back with its latest installment in the series. Problematic controls, lackluster visuals, grating voice work, and unoriginal gameplay are some of the common themes when I sit back and ponder what went wrong with this game.
  33. Jul 27, 2011
    47
    Worse than Bound in Blood in every way, and you'll have more fun laughing at its missteps than anything else.
  34. Aug 23, 2011
    45
    Subpar map design and control issues put the multiplayer game on shaky ground from the start, and these problems coupled with team-based objective play that just wasn't designed well and a completely dysfunctional partner system that forces you to buddy up with a randomly-assigned stranger make the multiplayer game a "one and done" experience for most gamers.
  35. Aug 5, 2011
    45
    Although Techland brings some nice ideas into the Call of Juarez universe, the game ultimately fails to deliver because of a way too typical story, dated graphics, loads of bugs and a total misunderstanding of the concept 'Wild West'. The Cartel is a major step back for the franchise and we would have been better off without it.
  36. 45
    It's sad to see an under-the-radar favorite tank so spectacularly in an attempt to revitalize the brand, but Cartel is one call you can clearly push to voicemail.
  37. Jul 28, 2011
    45
    It feels like a budget title, not a Call of Juarez game. If you're a fan of the series I suggest forgetting this game ever happened and start hoping this doesn't become the series' swan song. That'd be a shameful way for a franchise like this to go out.
  38. Jul 21, 2011
    45
    The game is generic at best, broken at worst, and falls short in its attempts to innovate cooperative play.
  39. Jul 19, 2011
    45
    Taking the story into modern times seems to have robbed it of its passion and charm, replacing it with asinine characters and more cuss words than an Al Pacino flick. It's not the worst shooter I've played, but it's got all the problems of a budget title and few redeeming qualities to make it worth recommending.
  40. Jul 25, 2011
    42
    Feels like that blatantly annoying contemporary relative -- a sort of unironic Ali G.
  41. Sep 13, 2011
    40
    A woeful misstep into the pantheon of disposable first-person shooters, and a balsa wood ghost town of a game that no amount of support patching could possibly shore up. [Issue#113, p.96]
  42. Aug 19, 2011
    40
    A good idea in principle, and one that could have made for a great game, but its execution is so poor that it ends up looking like a complete mess. [Issue#75, p.76]
  43. Jul 29, 2011
    40
    Sure, there are some minor kicks to be had in three player co-op, but they're very short-lived and fraught with frustration. Call of Juarez should have stuck to its guns and remained an Old Wild Western. Avoid this like you would the real po-lice.
  44. Jul 29, 2011
    40
    Truly, this game is a disappointment on nearly every level.
  45. Jul 27, 2011
    40
    The most forgettable, bland, fractured game I've played this year which only gets points for some interesting concepts albeit extremely poorly executed. In a year boasting Duke Nukem Forever, that's really saying something.
  46. Jul 27, 2011
    40
    Quotation forthcoming.
  47. Jul 26, 2011
    40
    An outdated game – mentally and physically – that tries to switch from the West nostalgia to a drug dealers filling concrete jungle. Not a good idea. "Among the blind the one-eyed man is king" was the saying. Now, we can call it "The Ugly Duckling". But unfortunately, this is where the story ends – no maturing into a beautiful swan. And now back to the machines, back to the West!
  48. Jul 26, 2011
    40
    This can't be the same developer that made the last two games. That team must be off doing Dead Island or something. There were germs of good ideas in here, and it is possible to play it through to the end, but the criticisms and frustrations will overwhelm any fun you have doing so.
  49. Jul 26, 2011
    40
    It's not the game we expected. The Cartel is disappointing because it fails to be a good FPS or to show something different. Its characters have no charisma and the gameplay is tough. Awkward and very cheap budgets, this game will be forgotten.
  50. Jul 25, 2011
    40
    If the Old West is anything, it's a giant myth, and one that the Call Of Juarez games have always embodied. What The Cartel replaces this with – a mishmash of 
The Shield and conspiracy theories – is a much less substantial vision, played out within a world with no real resonance to it.
  51. Jul 25, 2011
    40
    Why fix something that isn't broken? The Cartel takes the franchise in a modern setting and fails in every possible way. Please, Techland, bring back the good, old west!
  52. 40
    The wobbly plot and hateful characterisation could be forgiven were The Cartel's shooting superlative. It's not. Guns feel flimsy, and enemies stick fastidiously to cover, hopping up and down and waiting to die.
  53. Jul 21, 2011
    40
    There are number of clever concepts here, but they're left drowning in a sea of mediocre first person shooting and action movie clichés.
  54. 35
    Call of Juarez: The Cartel is an incredibly disappointing sequel that manages to remove everything that makes their prequels so appealing.
  55. 35
    Call of Juarez: The Cartel surprised us, and not in a good way, as it took everything that was good about the last game and pretty much ruined it. The technical flaws are numerous, and The Cartel just isn't fun in any way, shape or form. This is like that terrible one night stand that happened when you'd had one too many and, frankly people, you can do much better than this.
  56. Sep 29, 2011
    30
    Call of Juarez has been downgraded and is disappointing in every aspect of gameplay and design.
  57. Aug 18, 2011
    30
    Techland's move from the Wild West into the modern era didn't pay off. The Cartel is an uninspired, boring and sometimes broken game that should not have been published in this state.
  58. An inept shooter that manages to make Duke Nukem Forever look like Modern Warfare.
  59. Jul 31, 2011
    30
    A once respectable franchise has been irreversibly tarnished by this steaming turd known as Call of Juarez: The Cartel.
  60. Jul 22, 2011
    30
    The Cartel is a calamity; an unfinished, unpleasant piece of dreck that even developer Techland got bored of before hoisting it out of the door. The Cartel's list of misdemeanours is lengthy and depressing, but the worst is how either Techland or Ubisoft can have the nerve to put this on the shelves and ask people to pay money --real money-- to play it.
  61. Jul 21, 2011
    30
    The Cartel heartbreakingly not only fails to build upon Bound in Blood's momentum, it spits in the face of everything that made it worthwhile. It doesn't feel like a misstep for the series, it feels like an epitaph.
  62. Jul 27, 2011
    25
    On just about every level it could, Call of Juarez: The Cartel fails to be anything other than a frustrating experience you can't wait to end. Usually a game like this can be redeemed by providing a co-op experience that pulls players together, but the game intentionally tries to drive them apart and does so without making a point of it.
User Score
5.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 95 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 31
  2. Negative: 14 out of 31
  1. Jul 19, 2011
    8
    I have just played 9 first missions with two of my friends. I really enjoy this game. Of course graphics isn't like in Battlefield 3 , but I saw worst (it's better then in Homefront anyway).
    The most fun is playing with friends and watching their moves. ( we have something like a secret quest different for all players, if you accomplish this quest you will receive additional XP, if you catch your friends when they are doing their own quest you will get additional XP, too). There isn't a cover system. (sometimes there is something like a cover system but we didn't understand how it worked ;( and it was really frustrating). I have never played a game like this one before. FPS with 3 coop, deep story, secret quest for each character, slow mo. It's not another call of duty clone. If Ubisoft made a little bit better graphics,put more effort in animations and dialogues, added a cover system it would be a great game. Now it is only a good game, to me 82/100.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 19, 2011
    9
    This is not your grandfather's call of juarez. I was anxious when I heard about the change of setting but it's still a COJ game at heart. To me the cartel has all the highlights of the previous games in the series: the plot is excellent and surprised me several times. Unlike in most games, here you have no idea who is really on your side and no, it's not the 'double cross surprise' anyone can see coming.
    The gameplay is good but it really shines in coop. On top of the secret missions you get while playing with AI, there are also challenges. Combined with the game's conspiracy / distrust plot they make the 'work together but compete' idea real.
    Graphics are workable but they could use some improvement, the same goes for animations. I've seen better AI, one more reason to play this with live players.
    Do yourselves a favor and don't discount this game on a gfx glitch or something. It's a cop game with an actual plot and some devious mechanics for each character, with a delicious cooperative mode and what seems to be a cool competitive multiplayer mode (gotta check this one myself when more people buy the game).
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 26, 2011
    7
    First, my opinion on the game regarding that it´s a Call of Juarez title: It´s a disgrace for the franchise (just read the other reviews to see why). But it´s actually a decent game and it gets better and better every single mission. There is a acceptable amount of unfair difficulties, the story evolves pretty good and personally, I like the characters and the setting. The graphics are not appropriate for a 2011 game, the whole environment seems to be dazzling all over the place. The gunplay is alright and there are some cool ideas like the "Team-Cover" system. Another negative aspect: Lots of graphic and script bugs, old dialog repeating after a cutscene, multiple dialogs at the same time and completely disappearing furniture when standing at a certain position in a doorway (nothing game breaking though)No must-buy, but a decent game if you´re ready to forget it´s CoJ name. Full Review »