Call of Juarez - The Cartel (Playstation 3*)

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A clear shot at fans of previous Call of Juarez games, The Cartel is a story-driven first-person shooter, with multi-layered plotlines and multiple main characters -- each with a different perspective on the way the adventure plays out. The action includes close combat, undercover missions, high-speed chases, and guns-blazing assaults on enemy strongholds. The story is set in modern times, carrying on the series' Wild West themes of freedom and justice in a lawless land of big-sky wilderness, but featuring SUVs instead of horses and semi-automatics instead of six-shooters.

The third game in the series features three playable heroes: Kim Evans, who grew up in street gangs before becoming an FBI agent; Eddie Guerra, an able DEA operative with a debilitating gambling habit; and Ben McCall, an unforgiving Los Angeles detective and descendant of Ray McCall, a central character in the first two Call of Juarez games. The three team up to take down a powerful cartel of drug and weapons traders. All three have similar abilities, and are played in the same way, but each experiences the adventure differently. To access all of the available missions, and to fully appreciate the overarching story, gamers should play through The Cartel as each of the main characters.

An online multiplayer mode allows up to three to play through the adventure together, each as a different protagonist. In the single player mode, the computer controls additional characters that are present on a mission. Although each of the trio has a different background and personal motivation, they must cooperate, support one another as a team, and embrace a certain "above the law" morality, in order to overcome the sophisticated intelligence and near-limitless resources of the cartel. To paraphrase Ben McCall: Where an army of good cops has failed, maybe a few bad cops can get the job done.