Welcome to Colombia, 1980's -- the fires of El Patron's empire have been lit, its influence spanning borders, and expansion unabated. Influence and corruption is rife; cops, guards, politicians and those in between are falling into the pocket of the Medellín Cartel, and after years of production, America is finally taking notice. Narcos: Rise of the Cartels tells the story of the hit Netflix TV series, of the rise and fall of El Patron.
Choose your side and ally with the DEA or conversely side with the Narcos. Explore recognisable locations from the show and take a role in pivotal world-altering events and battles that will define and shift the war on drugs. Form your team from a variety of class-specific roles, join leading characters, upgrade your skills and take part in brutal turn-based combat, where your actions will have consequence.
Plata o Plomo?.
Fans of the series will appreciate to rediscover the characters and universe of Narcos, as the game will remind them of the events and places of the first season. The graphics are good, provided that you don't get too close and don't mind about strange camera angles. The targeting can sometimes be problematic, but the strategic aspect and the third person real-time actions are quite effective. We liked being able to switch sides between Narcos and D.E.A but, unfortunately, the game is too repetitive.
In the end, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a game with good production values, let down by a tactical layer that doesn’t seem to have been fully thought-through. There are impressively few flaws here, but the ones it does have are so key to the nature of the game that they end up dragging down the whole experience. Like Pablo Escobar’s intrinsic arrogance which led to his downfall, so does Narcos’ rather basic assumptions ruin what could have been a very exciting tie-in game.
Your enjoyment of Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is going to be heavily based on whether you can accept its strategy game conceit. If you're good with the idea of only being able to control one unit at a time per turn, then you might be fine so long as you're also willing to accept the inherent lack of strategy that goes along with the very limited objective set. If you want your strategy games to be a little more traditional, where every unit can do something on a turn, then you'll hate this game to the point that even the counteract mechanic can't make things interesting. In short, Narcos is a hard sell for fans of the series, let alone strategy game fans, unless you can find it for a very deep discount.
A mediocre XCOM-like in the form of a deeply worrying depiction of militarised police.
This anemic game is not worthy of the amazing TV show it is based on.
The game presents some interesting innovation in the genre, a level design that should match, but is weighed down by a movement system that only allows one unit to be controlled for each turn.
Bland, boring, and uninspired, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels isn't quite the tie-in product that fans of Netflix's series would want to see. It's bogged down by flawed fundamentals, a repetitive campaign, and unengaging gameplay.