The Chrome Engine 5 has also improved in the animation department, with more fluid character animations and a better animations overall.Physics
Vehicle physics can be a little twitchy but overall theyíre not bad. The rest of the gameís physics allow for some destroyable objects and an amusing ragdoll here and there when a grenade goes off. You can be knocked prone by this effect and thatís fairly nice to see, even though it happens with alarming regularity with sneaky grenade tosses from the enemy. Certain objects like cars also explode and can harm you or enemies with splash damage.AI
Partner AI isnít too bad; it works well enough and doesnít usually get caught with a path-finding error. If it does then itís not game over, since itíll wait for a bit and then jarringly teleport to the next waypoint to wait for you there. Itís pretty ok in a gunfight and if anything acts as a bullet sponge to soak up enemy fire whilst killing a few enemies now and then. The enemy AI is pretty decent as well, with it using various tactics and working in conjunction with other bad guys to flank you and use the environment to blind-side.Sound
The weapon sounds and environment sounds arenít too bad in the game, theyíre a little weak when it comes to some of the weapons but overall the sound engine is fine.Music
I really have a soft spot for this music and I wouldnít mind the stand-alone soundtrack, it blends in some of the Western themes with contemporary heavier themes quite nicely and has that Juarez flavour, since the music to these games has always been pretty special.Voice
The voice work in the game is decent enough, with the bit-part actors doing a decent job. Nothing really stands out from the crowd but nothing breaks the suspension of disbelief either. Benís voice has that gravel-cop that Iíve come to expect from the MCall family and Eddie is suitably framed, along with Kim Evans. It has good voice acting from the main cast as they deliver their lines with enough passion to make the story interesting.Dialogue
The story is interesting enough, the dialogue isnít too bad, there are no really cheesy lines throughout and it keeps you immersed in the world of drugs, weapons, skin trade and other facets of the teamís investigation. Throwing in curse words galore in various one-liners from the bad guys, that might repeat a little too much for some tastes.Multiplayer: Co-operative
When I talk of co-op, The Cartel allows up to 3 players to play together and against each other. You can revive a fallen comrade but youíll also get random challenges show up through the game, first to 5 headshots and so on for example. If you win these you get a chunk of experience to help you level up. Youíll also be able to compete to pick up your hidden items and complete your agendas, whilst trying to stop your friends completing their objectives if youíre mean enough. Co-op is fun and its how the game should be played, thereís something lacking when it comes to the secret items and objectives though and the novelty wears thin after a while especially if your players play a game of item camping.
There were no lag issues to speak of and the mp was smooth.Multiplayer: Competitive
Thereís little to no lag that we experienced with 11 players, 6 per side playing a standard team deathmatch or the new objective mode in the adversarial side of the game. Objective mode is by far the most fun with objectives such as escorting or killing the VIP and so o,, cops vs robbers style play and reminds us very much of Kane and Lynch 1 and 2. Itís fun enough and adds to the overall package. We still preferred the cooperative side of the game though, even though the back-stabbing antics felt a little protracted and telegraphed after a while. A Bullet...
The Cartel is a mixed bag. It wonít light the FPS world on fire but it doesnít seem as bad to us as some of the reviews made it out to be. Perhaps we have more tolerance for that kind of thing as plain old gamers, who arenít put off by the odd problems we encounter. Itís not a fantastic game by any means, but itís not wholly terrible. If you liked the first couple, then youíre probably going to like this one. In the end though, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and in the case of the Cartel the taste is just a little sour now and then. If a little more work had gone into the competitive-coop I think this game would have fared better.