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Narcos: Rise of the Cartels looks like XCOM meets Miami Vice

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You got to carry weapons ‘cause you always carry cash

Just today I was lamenting the fact my OG Xbox croaked and I sold off my copy of Scarface: The World is Yours without realizing that was backward compatible to the Xbox 360. Now I learn there’s a video game adaptation of Netflix’s Narcos series coming next month.

While I can’t vouch for Narcos because I haven’t played it, the concept sounds like a thoughtful twist: Present a naturally violent enterprise like drug kingpinning in 1980s Latin America through the lens of XCOM-y turn-based tactical gameplay.

Then again, I get my rocks off as a dictator in the Tropico series all the time, where I put down violent rebellions while swingin’ cats in thin ties or block-print shift dresses shoot craps in my ring-a-ding casinos. What I’m saying is, I am always a sucker for period pieces, and Narcos: Rise of the Cartels from Curve Digital looks like it’ll appeal to that aesthetic, too.

We pause now for the greatest music video of all time, Glenn Frey’s Smuggler’s Blues.

In Narcos, players will draw up a strike team for either the DEA or a cartel and face off in a variety of seedy environments. DEA have the advantage of training and tactics, the cartel is on its home turf and has a laser-like focus on its territory and goals. Assuming the sides play to type, it should be an interesting match.

What I’ll have to see for myself is the promise of taking third-person shooter control “at critical moments.” While I can appreciate the gesture Curve is making to good old shooter fun, it has the potential to warp outcomes. Not only that, it could give a big closeup to graphics that are serviceable in an isometric view, but not so grand as a shooter.

We’ll see. Put me down for Narcos: Rise of the Cartels either way. It launches Nov. 19 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.