Fandom

Zero Punctuation Wiki

Call of Juarez: The Cartel

517pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Talk0 Share

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Call of Juarez: The Cartel.

Transcript Edit

Let's face it: shooters have never been what you'd call overburdened with complexity. You point at things you don't like and then they go away; they're not exactly the twelve tasks of Hercules. But even this simple mechanic has found a way to devolve in recent years. "Oh, Yahtzee, you curmudgeonly, cardigan-wearing Lemsip drinker," I hear you sputter, "how can you say that? Shooter technology is the best it's ever been. The chest-high walls seem to stretch all the way to the horizon and you can see every scratch and imperfection on your gun when you stick the iron sights up your nose. I think you've fallen victim to the very same nostalgia blindness you're always warning people about. And no, I'm not still bitter about Ocarina of Time."

You know, perhaps you're right. But let me ask you this: what sort of things did you fight in Quake 1? Grunty dudes, knights in armor, the jumpy flea things, bouncy blobs, floating snakes, and an angry rabid cousin to the Sugar Puffs monster. Now, what sort of things do you fight in Call of Juarez: The Cartel? A dude in a red shirt and a dude in a green shirt.

So here's the framing device for this week's shirtwearer genocide. After a terrorist act within the U.S. is committed by a Mexican drug cartel, everyone starts getting really shirty and support grows for a full-on invasion of Mexico. You see what kind of piffle I have to work with? Everyone knows the U.S. would never invade a country just because a small faction within it committed an atrocity. No, they'd just invade the country next door.

But before Guatemala could start getting worried, the U.S. government sets up a special task force to take down the cartel, a coalition of FBI, DEA, LAPD, uh, BBC, TCP/IP, LOL. There's Kimberly, a sassy black FBI lady with hair like she got interrupted halfway through cleaning the tar out of her favorite jet engine; Eddie, a Latino gambler type who says "esé" all the time like an insistent university lecturer; and Ben McCall, a grizzled LAPD detective whose main role is to justify calling this a Call of Juarez game. He's presumably a descendant of Ray McCall from the Old Westy games, because like him he constantly looks and sounds like he's accusing someone of farting.

The first thing you must do is pick which one you're playing as, and don't worry if you haven't figured out which one you dislike the least yet, because you'll hate every single one of them equally by the end of all this. You'll resent the one you're playing as just for being the flea-bitten mule on which you ride this rubbish, and you'll resent the other two for constantly taking the piss out of your aiming skills even while they themselves try - and fail - to snipe an obese pig that's been lashed to a tree six feet away.

On the gameplay side of things, how it's supposed to work is that Ben specializes in close combat, Kimberly in long-range, and Eddie is the in-betweeny one (as is also the case with his skin color, weirdly enough). But even if there were any perceptible difference between the styles (there isn't), all three fight dudes at all three ranges all the time anyway, so it hardly matters. Oh yes, and while dual-wielding pistols was the only rapid-fire option in Old West times, when machine guns are available it's about as much use as feeding Gatorade to a sloth.

So we have three protagonists who get along like three Borgias in a hessian sack but bound by the invisible elastic bands of a game designed with a co-op focus. But here's the rub, gentles. Each character has a secret agenda that they must pursue without the other two noticing. Ben is looking for info on some guy who said his hat looked gay thirty years ago or something, Kimberly is a big narcing bitch, and Eddie is in debt and must steal what are either packages of money, drugs, or sandwiches to feed his crippling addiction to egg and cress. The idea is you have to find pickups and complete specific objectives without the other players seeing you and telling the teacher. Doing so grants experience points which with you level up and get better weapons.

So here's my question: why wouldn't you want your co-op partners to level up? Six missions in and he's trying to cover your arse with walnuts fired from a sling, you'd only have yourself to blame. While I'd need no convincing players enjoy dicking each other, that doesn't usually apply in co-op, except when absolute fucking twats are involved. It seems far more likely that players will just be saying "Hey, Steve, look over there for a second - I'm going to steal these drugs."

I'm growing increasingly sick at games that let their multiplayer mode tramp all over the single-player, getting scuff marks all over the carpet and dealphabetizing the CD collection. Playing single-player in The Cartel is made all the more excruciating by the game laying out all its special toys and then saying "What? No, these aren't for you, these are for the co-op players. Don't touch them, you'll make them dirty." Then it chucks a flea-bitten hand puppet on the floor and says "There's your partner A.I., now fuck off."

The game still introduces all that business of hidden agendas and warns you to get an extra special close eye on those crafty partners of yours, but the A.I. don't go after collectibles. They usually just stand there staring at you with gormless, uncomprehending eyes. They were also never programmed to drive, so in the occasional vehicle section if you perhaps would rather take riding shotgun to its literal heart, then fuck you and your haughty airs. The A.I. will pile into the backseat without a word and just look at you like a dog with its leash in its mouth. And as I said, they can't aim for shit. But after you've single-handedly cleared out an entire room, they'll unfailingly say the one of their four or five endlessly repeated lines that goes "You don't have to do this all by yourself, you know!" There is no middle finger big enough!

I will say that when you inevitably get sick of the single-player concentration camp, switching to online co-op is made nicely straightforward: you just press one button in the mission setup screen. But the thing is, playing games is my job, so I do it at around one in the afternoon, and no one is playing online at one in the afternoon. So the game would say "No one joined your game, reverting to single-player" and I could almost picture the game looking pityingly at me over its cool sunglasses and hear "Creep" by Radiohead start up in the background.

So is there anything good? Well, the environments look nice and expansive, except the expansiveness is a dirty lie because the moment you step off the linear path the game marked out for you a caption flies up going "BZZZT! Turn around now!" like I'm about to stumble upon the factory where all the gang members I've killed get turned into Soylent Green.

So basically, it's a game that does nothing but insult me in every possible way. Right back at you, The Cartel! I'd throw you away, but I'm concerned your stench would attract crime scene investigators.

AddendaEdit

Making a run for the border: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw

Is this game racist? It's hard to tell these days but you do shoot a lot of brown people and I don't want to be the only one to not point it out

Surely big duster coats would be a bit hot in Los Angeles


ScreenshotsEdit

Juarez Cartel 2

They themselves try - and fail - to snipe an obese pig that's been lashed to a tree six feet away

Juarez Cartel 3

Ben specializes in close combat, Kimberly in long-range, and Eddie is the in-betweeny one

Juarez Cartel 4

There is no middle finger big enough!

External LinksEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.