Call of Juarez: The Cartel

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Call of Juarez: The Cartel
European cover art
  • Ubisoft (2011-2018)
  • Techland (2018-)
Composer(s)Pawel Blaszczak
SeriesCall of Juarez
EngineChrome Engine 5
Platform(s)PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
ReleasePlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • NA: July 19, 2011
  • AU: July 21, 2011
  • EU: July 22, 2011
  • JP: October 13, 2011
Microsoft Windows
  • AU: September 8, 2011
  • NA: September 13, 2011
  • EU: September 16, 2011
Genre(s)First-person shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Call of Juarez: The Cartel is a first-person shooter video game developed and published by Techland.[1] The game is part of the Call of Juarez western-themed video games, but is set in modern-day Los Angeles and Mexico as up to three players take the role of law enforcement agents.[2] Call of Juarez: The Cartel was demonstrated at Penny Arcade Expo East 2011 and was released on July 19, 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows on September 13, 2011.[3] On March 30, 2018, the game, along with Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, was briefly delisted from Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network, citing a publishing dispute with the game's original publisher Ubisoft.[4][5] As of April 2019, the game has still not returned to certain storefronts, such as Steam, although Call of Juarez: Gunslinger has.[6]


The offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are bombed by unknown assailants. Assistant Deputy Director Shane Dickson enlists LAPD detective Ben McCall, along with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Kimberly Evans and DEA agent Eddie Guerra to track down the culprits. She informs them of the late Patrick Stone, who was investigating the Cartel up until his death in the bombing. They are also tasked with protecting Stone's only daughter, Jessica. Kim reveals that the Cartel has been purchasing military-grade hardware from an unknown source. During the story, each character illegally interferes with the investigation for various reasons.

The team then storms Mendoza's Hacienda, killing more of his men and finally manage to corner Mendoza, who promptly surrenders. Ben tries to strong-arm him into testifying, only for Mendoza to be killed by an unmanned aircraft drone, which fires upon the rest of the team, who realize that Dickson must've sent the drone after them in order to cover up her tracks, and they take cover to avoid drone fire trying to kill them. Ben says that Alvarez is the only one left who can testify to Dickson's involvement. The team chase him into a cellar, where they split into three paths. Kim and Eddie are contacted by their superiors who encourage them to kill off their teammates, while Dickson orders Ben to walk away, or "things will go badly" for him. The team manages to corner Alvarez, who reveals that Eddie's debts have been paid off in exchange for his agency to hold him responsible for his illegal actions, Kim reveals that Alvarez is a federal informant and was their link to the Cartel. Ben wants to kill Alvarez in retaliation for his crimes, Kim wants Alvarez alive so Dickson and Waters can go to prison and Eddie wants to split the drug money three ways where they can start with a clean slate.

The team engage in a Mexican standoff and the player is presented with a choice to either kill his/her teammates or decide not to fight. If the player chooses to kill his/her teammates, this results in Alvarez detonating a grenade and escaping, after which the player kills his/her teammates and gets different fates for each character: Ben goes to prison while the United States prepares to go to war with Mexico, Kim slaps Dickson after being awarded a medal, and is apprehended, and Eddie is killed (presumably by the person who was blackmailing him). If the player chooses not to fight, the team lets Alvarez live. If Alvarez is taken alive, he testifies to Dickson's involvement, resulting in her arrest. Eddie is jailed for his involvement in the murder of Jessica and Kim for killing Donleavy, and Ben is shown placing flowers on Patrick and Jessica's grave, and pulling out a Bible, finally seeking redemption.




Aggregate scores
GameRankings(PC) 50.33%[7]
(X360) 47.52%[8]
(PS3) 45.94%[9]
Metacritic(PC) 51/100[10]
(X360) 47/100[11]
(PS3) 45/100[12]
Review score

Call of Juarez: The Cartel received generally mixed to negative reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 50.33% and 51/100,[7][10] the Xbox 360 version 47.52% and 47/100[8][11] and the PlayStation 3 version 45.94% and 45/100.[9][12]

The game has also been accused of racism and insensitivity toward real life events, addressing issues such as human trafficking and the current drug wars in Mexico with flippant inaccuracy, particularly their having swapped the victims of such trafficking from being Mexican women shipped to the US to US citizens being abducted to Mexico. James Portnow, writing for Extra Credits, has criticized a level entitled "Gang Bang" in which the player is awarded with an achievement for killing 40 or more enemies, on the only level where there are African-Americans, and no enemies other than African-Americans, adding "This might be the most racist game I've ever played by a major publisher."[14]

Edge scored the game 4/10 and criticised 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."[13]

Responding to the mixed reviews received by the game, the CEO of Techland, Pawel Marchewka, said that the game was a "mistake" and he added that while the game is not "bad", it was not ready when it was launched.[15]


  1. ^ McElroy, Justin (2011-03-13). "Call of Juarez: The Cartel preview: This means juar". Joystiq. Archived from the original on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  2. ^ Glasser, AJ (2011-03-12). "PAX East: Call of Juarez: The Cartel Preview". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  3. ^ "Call of Juarez: The Cartel Eyes-On Preview". 2011-03-15. Archived from the original on 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  4. ^ Boudreau, Ian (31 March 2018). "Call of Juarez Gunslinger delisted from Steam". PCGamesN. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  5. ^ Vazquez, Suriel (31 March 2018). "Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger Delisted From Some Major Online Storefronts". Game Informer. GameStop. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  6. ^ Roemer, Dan (30 April 2018). "The Call of Juarez series has a new publisher through Techland". Destructoid. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Call of Juarez: The Cartel (PC) reviews at". GameRankings. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  8. ^ a b "Call of Juarez: The Cartel (Xbox 360) reviews at". GameRankings. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  9. ^ a b "Call of Juarez: The Cartel (PlayStation 3) reviews at". GameRankings. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  10. ^ a b "Call of Juarez: The Cartel (PC) reviews at". Metacritic. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  11. ^ a b "Call of Juarez: The Cartel (Xbox 360) reviews at". Metacritic. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  12. ^ a b "Call of Juarez: The Cartel (PlayStation 3) reviews at". Metacritic. 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  13. ^ a b[permanent dead link]
  14. ^
  15. ^ Makuch, Eddie (June 1, 2015). "Call of Juarez: The Cartel an Unfinished "Mistake," Dev Says". GameSpot. Retrieved June 2, 2015.

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