Game Review: Drug Wars
Release: March 17, 09
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Paleo Entertainment
Available Platforms: PC
Players: Single-player, Multi-player 2-32
ESRB Rating: M
What is there to say about Drug Wars. Well first off you might know it as its old name “Merchants of Brooklyn” (MOB) when it was released earlier this year to a large number of negative reviews and press. Now developer Paleo Entertainment has re-released it under the name “Drug Wars”, the new multi-player mode added in a recent update, in hopes of abandoning the bad reputation of MOB.
But to do that they would have had to of fixed the issues the game had. When MOB was originally released it was soon discovered the Alpha version of the game had been released instead of the final build, but even after that mistake was corrected the game was still extremely buggy. Now with the release of “Drug Wars” the game has been promoted to Beta Stage, as evident from the title screen.
In the single-player you play as Mateo, a caveman pit fighter who after losing a arm and having it replaced with a cybernetic one, turns against the Merchants of Brooklyn running the operation and tries to escape. That is if you can make it through the maze of bugs and freezes that await you. Problems with choppy audio, corrupted saves and frequent crashes remain in the game after numerous updates. The AI is a complete mess, clipping through floors, running into walls and shooting you even after they appear to be dead.
The single-player only gets interesting when you get to the “Slums” level but you only get there after navigating two hours of square room after square room broken up by the occasional hallway. Then the game abruptly ends there right when I was starting to have fun.
The game isn’t particularly difficult but the biggest challenge is preventing your own suicide. The game allows you to pick up objects like tables and stools and charge them, turning them into makeshift grenades to throw at your enemy. Half the time however, you simply die after throwing them.
Another one of the standout features is its ridiculous gore. After blasting enemies with a grenade launcher (which is called the “Money Shot”, ha ha get it?) or a shotgun you can pick up their limbs and throw them at other enemies causing them to, in turn, explode, bleed profusely or throw up.
The only thing appealing in this game are the stylized graphics, which fit the decayed urban setting quite nicely. But that alone won’t keep you playing the game.
So after completing the single-player I went online to check out the multiplayer mode that was the entire cause of this re-release. On the officially website the game tells me about the exciting new vehicles and weapons that have been added and that I can play online with up to 32 people. Sadly when I went to check it out for myself I was greeted with this:
Yes, only a couple months after launch and there remains just one empty server. I had to get a friend to log on just to try it with me and unsurprisingly it turns out to be just as abysmal as the rest of the game. The base concept is interesting; your team collects random bags of drugs lying around the map and brings them to an area where you defend them, like similar to Halo’s Oddball. Sadly its just as poorly orchestrated as the single player, the vehicles are severely overpowered and fire fights are extremely boring and hindered by the fact that for some reason every piece of foliage in the game blocks bullets.
There is nothing in Drug Wars that warrants a purchase. Even if the single-player were to be fixed fixed it would still be a completely boring experience that only clocks a little over two hours and the multi-player is already a ghost town.
Special thanks to “mhmm” for getting online to help my try the game.