El Matador Review

El Matador is a third-person action shooter that casts you in the role of DEA agent Victor Corbett. Well calling you an agent is not really as appropriate because you’re really more of a DEA enforcer or mercenary. Basically you’re sent all over Latin America to walk into suspected drug lords’ lairs and kill anything that moves, bringing new meaning to the phrase “drug war”. Questionable law enforcement tactics aside, plenty of gunfire makes for an exciting action game … or does it?

The game gets off to a good enough start. You begin at the onset of a raid of a drug kingpin’s dance club with a number of elite police units at your side. The game’s graphics provide for some detailed environments and good lighting effects which make for some interesting indoor and outdoor locations, and this is evident right from the opening. You’ll then immediately be thrown into an intense firefight between your fellow agents and the kingpin’s henchmen and soon find yourself looking forward to a game filled with plenty of action. Unfortunately this is also about the same point where the chronic issues that plague El Matador throughout the game begin to appear.

First there are some issues with the controls. For some reason the developers forgot to include any kind of lean controls or support for using cover. In a game that likes to throw you into areas filled with enemies behind cover it is unforgivable that you need to completely expose yourself each time you target an enemy. Then there is the weird moon jump. For some reason when you jump you almost do so in slow motion, leaving you exposed to enemy gunfire for a few extra seconds. Lastly we have the bullet time feature. The game makes no effort to explain why some random DEA agent has the power to slow time, but he is so blessed nonetheless. While it would seem that the ability to slow time would be a great advantage when you’re outnumbered and outgunned this is not actually the case. When you activate the bullet time, time does slow down but it slows for you as well. The controls become sluggish making it difficult for you to hit enemies in succession, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of bullet time in the first place. Furthermore, your enemies will still be deadly accurate in spite of your mastery over the space-time continuum. Hey guys, hold on a sec while I slow down time and make it easier for you to hit me! Brilliant.