Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
- Street Date:
- May 22nd, 2013
- Reviewed by:
- Mike Flacy
- Review Date:1
- May 23rd, 2013
- Game Release Year:
- ESRB Rating:
- M (Mature)
The Call of Juarez franchise has had its share of failure, particularly 2011's horrific Call of Juarez: The Cartel. I was a huge fan of the original Call of Juarez, particularly the campaign's focus on Reverend Ray McCall's gun-slinging past. Looking to redeem the series, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger adopts the arcade shooter route and focuses on a strong, entertaining single player campaign to win back fans. In addition, the game is significantly cheaper than other games in the series starting at just $15.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Driven by the tall tales of bounty hunter Silas Greaves, the game is told in a series of flashbacks that highlight important figures during the Old West such as Johnny Ringo, the Wild Bunch, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Curly Bill and the Dalton brothers. Greaves is recounting tales about these outlaws with a fellow pack of drunks in the local saloon. As an interesting twist, Greaves often fails to remember the exact details of the events and has to correct himself when caught in a lie. As he's narrating, the in-game world changes to match the new version of the story; definitely a cool way to alter the environment and open up new paths to the player.
Shooting your way through each level is fairly straightforward and Techland has included a solid weapon upgrade system that helps you become a competent fighter. Speeding up reload times or unlocking gold versions of your favorite weapons is particularly useful in the latter stages of the game. These upgrades can be unlocked by earning experience points when killing a number of enemies in succession, getting headshots or using elements of the in-game environment to kill enemies. Ammo is always in heavy supply, thus it's much easier to let the bullets fly each time a pack of enemies appear.
Typically at the end of each level, the player will enter a duel mode created for the game that pits the player against one of the historical figures. Using both the keyboard and mouse simultaneously, you slowly move your hand closer to the holster while attempting to keep a continuously moving target reticule on the enemy. If you are successful at that attempt, you will increase the speed at which you pull the gun and increase the odds of putting a bullet in the enemy. It definitely takes a bit of practice, but duels can be fun once you get a hang of them. However, blasting your way through a level with duel handguns is definitely more entertaining.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
While you can tell the budget for this game was small due to the static drawn images for cutscenes, it still doesn't diminish the quality of the story. I also loved the graphical transitions when someone at the table called Silas on his creative storytelling and the entire world morphs into another version of the story.
Regarding the in-game graphics engine, it definitely looks like the narrator's version of the old west, be it more on the cartoonish, cel-shaded side. However, there are plenty of clipping and hit detection issues in the game. That being said, the developers did a great job of creating wide, expansive levels that didn't seem as linear as they were designed. In many cases, there are multiple paths to get to the same location.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The voiceovers really do drive the cutscenes along as the as the overall story. It's probably the best aspect of the narrative. The music is also excellent, very typical of a spaghetti western. However, sound effects start to blend together after a while, especially the similarities between all the revolvers.
Unfortunately, there's no multiplayer component in Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. However, players are already getting a solid bang for their buck with the low MSRP. There are two different paths to choose at the end of the game, but you can simply replay the final level rather than playing through the entire game. There are two other game modes, Arcade and Dueling, but neither keep bringing you back for more. After you finish up the single player campaign, you are likely done with the game.
At just $15, the MSRP of the game is already fairly low. To get through the nine-level single player campaign, you are looking at 5 to 8 hours depending on your difficulty level. It's definitely a fun, entertaining romp while it lasts, even if the ending to the story is somewhat predictable if you have seen any classic western movie. By the way, keep an eye out for Steam and Amazon sales on Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. You can usually pick it up for 40 to 50 percent off which only adds to the tremendous value of the game.
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