Call of Juarez: The Cartel has been quietly slinking toward its July 19 release date, apparently gone to ground after weathering a storm of controversy over its modern-day setting and drug-cartel plot.

Here's our first deep look at the game since its appearance at E3. Middling graphics aside, the seven minutes of play show a game that has players taking on the role of law enforcement on the hunt for a drug dealer. I'm told that most of the action for this game takes place in Los Angeles and Juarez, Mexico. Apparently none of it takes place in Juarez sister-city El Paso, Texas. Though, Ubisoft was still trying to confirm that for me as of this morning.

While Ubisoft and developers Techland bristle at the notion that the game in anyway depicts the very real drug violence playing out in the back alleys of Juarez and El Paso, the game's ESRB description sounds like that may not be exactly true.

This is a first-person shooter in which players assume the role of police officers tracking down gangs and drug cartels from California to Mexico. Players infiltrate hideouts, locate specific targets, and engage in gun battles with armed thugs; some missions involve stealth operations such as planting bugs or stealing weapons. Players use pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, and rocket launchers to shoot and kill enemies; some sequences result in the death of unarmed civilians-though this can negatively affect players' progress. Realistic gunfire, explosions, cries of pain, and large splashes of blood accompany the frenetic firefights, and battles are sometimes highlighted by slow-motion effects. A handful of sequences depict close-range beatings of enemies (e.g., grabbing by the throat, pummeling). The main storyline involves drug trafficking, and players' direct involvement is sometimes required (e.g., selling drugs to earn money and experience points). As players set a marijuana field on fire, dialogue such as "Yeah, let's get out of here before they get the munchies" can be heard. Some storylines also contain sexual material and dialogue: a woman sitting on a man's lap as he reaches up her skirt-the camera cuts away to the couple caressing and kissing; brief instances of nudity, including a depiction of a topless female dancer; and dialogue such as "A four-way's gonna cost you a little more cash" and "For twenty I can take you to heaven, honey." Language such as "f**k," "sh*t," and "a*shole" can be heard in dialogue.

Rolling gun battles in the street, killing unarmed civilians, stealing weapons, selling drugs. Sort of sounds like some of the atrocities going on during the drug wars.