I didn’t know much about Narcos: Rise of the Cartels going in, but I was expecting a much better game than what I got. Narcos as a television show has a lot of nuances regarding a gripping period of history: the “war on drugs” in South America and the rise of Pablo Escobar. Narcos as a video game feels like a cheap cash grab instead of the gripping, action-packed game it could have been. This is our Narcos: Rise of the Cartels review for PC.
Narcos was billed as a turn-based strategy game, but it has none of the gripping action that should be par for the course in the genre. I was expecting something along the lines of Fire Emblem, but I suppose my expectations were too high for a media tie-in. Instead of moving multiple units per turn, you can only move one man per turn, making the game as a whole extremely tedious. Dialogue trees are absent, which would’ve added some flavor to the game as a whole; you can only engage with your enemies in a violent manner. The story is very thin and almost nonexistent here, which is really disappointing when your tie-in media is as rich as Narcos. It doesn’t set up the story well at all, which feeds into the player’s perception of the extremely bland gameplay. I had no emotional investment in the character I was playing even though I knew I should given the context of Narcos: Rise of the Cartels.
I try to be as positive as I can with my reviews, but I was overall extremely disappointed and wouldn’t recommend that you play this game. You will get a lot more out of the action-packed Netflix TV show than this lukewarm RTS game.
A review code was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Compare to: X-COM, X-COM 2, Civilization V