I really liked this game, it is not really a Western game but the gameplay still feels like a Call of Juarez game eventhough the scenario is obviously different. If you like games like Kane and Lynch and Stranglehold I think you will like The Cartel, it has the same action-film feel to it. It feels like you are playing an action movie.
As in the previous Juarez games you can play different characters, each giving a slightly different gaming experience. In the Cartel you can play three characters, each with his/her own mini-story. So there's at least three worthy playthroughs in this game, and if - like me - you really like action games that are set in the real world and dealing with contemporary problems, games like the Cartel is worth many playthroughs.
The story is really good; it has the same depth as a good action film. In fact you actually get four stories in this game; one main story and three sub-stories, one for each character.
The scenarios are varied and beautiful, from desert landscapes to forest areas to urban environments. Like the previous Juarez games you can expect a good deal of variation in how you play the game, its not just going around shooting things.
If you want a Western game this is obviously not your best choice, but if you want a good action game you should consider this game and don't take all the negative reviews too seriously. They were made by people who expected a Cowboy game.