PS4 Review: Narcos: Rise of the Cartels

Netflix and Kill…

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?

When I first heard there was going to be a game based on the Netflix show Narcos, I naturally assumed it’d be some third-person shooter or something. I honestly didn’t expect it to be a tactical turn-based shooter like XCOM and while it isn’t as sophisticated, Rise of the Cartels is a pleasant surprise.

I actually have yet to watch the series myself, but after playing this I will definitely end up binge watching it at some point. Gameplay is simple but practical as you select where to place your squad and then decide to attack, which switches the game to an over-the-shoulder look as you shoot your opponent. You can also do this as they attack you in a counter-attack move as time slows down, it’s an interesting addition and welcome.

Visually, Narcos is a bit on the basic side but it works well with what’s available, while the voice-acting is decent overall. Framerate was steady throughout and load times weren’t too long, which is always a plus.

The Verdict

A simpler XCOM-type game, but one that works well regardless. It’s a surprise that a licensed game like this actually turned out to be fairly decent and while it won’t win any awards for originality or visuals, it’s still a decent tactics game and one that will please fans of the show too.

Score: 7.5