Narcos: Rise of the Cartels review – pleasantly surprising strategy

November 21, 2019
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When I close my eyes and imagine a game based on drug kingpin Pablo Escobar’s life, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels isn’t exactly what springs to mind.

Whereas my imagination crafts a stealth-shooter with a bass-heavy soundtrack and slick bullet-time effects (yes, this is why I write about games and not for them), Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is an a more sedate affair, fusing an XCOM-esque strategy game with the true tale of DEA agent, Steve Murphy, and his fight to take down Escobar.

This surprising choice of genre isn’t a criticism. The first game to hop onto the coattails of the wildly successful Netflix show Narcos, it could’ve easily slipped into the unsophisticated frame of a generic FPS and most of us likely would’ve been satisfied with that choice (well, we’ve all learned the hard way not to raise our hopes for TV spin-offs; personally, I’m still recovering from Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse).

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