Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is ranked in the 9th percentile of games scored on OpenCritic.

Critic Reviews

No Recommendation
Nov 21, 2019

The hit Netflix show becomes a fun, if functional, turn-based strategy.

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41 / 100
Nov 20, 2019

A mediocre XCOM-like in the form of a deeply worrying depiction of militarised police.

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Metro GameCentral
Top Critic
6 / 10
Nov 27, 2019

Turning the Netflix series into an XCOM clone is a bold choice, but the dumbed down tactical options and lack of polish are destined to disappoint fans of both franchises.

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Polygon
Top Critic
Unscored
Nov 22, 2019

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels succeeds completely at just one thing: It makes me interested in watching the Netflix series. The game had a lot of potential, and at least superficially it looked like something that may be better than the standard advertorial we’ve come to expect from this kind of tie-in game.

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7 / 10
Nov 19, 2019

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a decently executed turn-based strategy title. Sure, sometimes it's a bit too easy, but when the enemy moves efficiently it become a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Just be warned that you'll grow attached to your squadmates, and hate if you lose them. This is for you, Ruiz!

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65 / 100
Nov 19, 2019

Narcos is a simple "tactics" game, which some fans of the Netflix series will enjoy because of an interesting use of the official license. After a few hours it gets repetitive, because of its lack of different maps.

Review in Spanish | Read full review

5 / 10.0
Dec 6, 2019

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a strategic turn-based combat game that simply doesn't work. Despite a high-sounding name, the managerial part and the strategic depth are lacking; moreover, the variants to the classic X-Com gameplay are strange and poorly designed.

Review in Italian | Read full review

Chris Wray
Top Critic
3 / 10.0
Dec 1, 2019

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is the perfect example of one decision ruining any chance a game had of being reasonable.

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63 / 100
Nov 22, 2019

Licensed games still get a bad rap these days and Narcos: Rise of the Cartels probably won’t convince the naysayers. But buried beneath the murky graphics and presentation is a pretty decent and entertaining turn-by-turn tactical game.

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3 / 10
Nov 19, 2019

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.

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5 / 10
Dec 4, 2019

If you are a fan of the Netflix's series, the game should suit you for a few hours before all of its flaws eventually spoil the party. Narcos : Rise of the Cartels lacks depth and is not a very interesting tactical game.

Review in French | Read full review

5 / 10.0
Nov 26, 2019

The successful Netflix series becomes a video game. However, the final result is certainly not the best.

Review in Italian | Read full review

5 / 10.0
Nov 25, 2019

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels was shaping up to be a fascinating advert for Netflix's hit series, but the overall quid pro quo bend of strategy ultimately makes it the shallowest of tie-ins. This is one Search Bloc party that you can count me out for.

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5 / 10
Nov 22, 2019

Considering how integral the back-and-forth tussle between El Patron and DEA is to the show, recreating such a violent game of chess in 'tactics' form seems like a match made in heaven. But even with some welcome gameplay twists – namely those real-time Kill Shots and Counteractions – the slow nature of its single-unit turn mechanic and the totally unremarkable AI makes this generous offering of missions far less exciting than it should be. As a genre, a turn-based tactics setup really suits the cat and mouse nature of this real-life-inspired cartel war; it's just a shame certain elements let it down.

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6.5 / 10.0
Dec 13, 2019

Overall, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels offers some unique strategy mechanics to help distract you from the game's slow nature.

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2.7 / 5.0
Nov 28, 2019

Without sounding cynical, ‘Narcos: Rise of the Cartels’ suffers from the same curse that looms over most video games that derive from TV shows and movies.

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4 / 10.0
Nov 19, 2019

Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a bad advertisement for the Netflix's TV-show.

Review in Italian | Read full review

6.5 / 10.0
Dec 26, 2019

A fun, but simplified take on the turn-based strategy genre, think "baby's first XCOM" and you're on the right lines. Its flaws are obvious but easily overlooked for newcomers to the genre. If you're a die-hard strategy fan, consider giving Narcos: Rise of the Cartels a pass, it won't have much to offer you.

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5 / 10.0
Dec 19, 2019

Your enjoyment of Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is going to be heavily based on whether you can accept its strategy game conceit.

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Nov 28, 2019

There's simply no reason to play something so utterly bereft of thought as Narcos.

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