Review | Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger
The Call of Juarez series has never been considered AAA franchise, but its always had it’s place in the FPS market – scratching that itch for a little poncho-based gun porn. But despite capturing the dust-caked feel of the Old West, developer Techland proceeded to make Call of Juarez: The Cartel, an absolute abomination with […]
The Call of Juarez series has never been considered AAA franchise, but its always had it’s place in the FPS market – scratching that itch for a little poncho-based gun porn.
But despite capturing the dust-caked feel of the Old West, developer Techland proceeded to make Call of Juarez: The Cartel, an absolute abomination with an unnecessary modern-day setting. Thankfully, Techland has decided to go back to their Wild West roots with their latest release, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. A download-only game that comes in at just over ten pounds, this may seem like a hard sell, but the devs have finally brought the series back to the meaty, old school gunplay that made the series so unique.
The Good, the Bad and the BOOM HEADSHOT
You play as Silas Greave, a gunslinger (shockingly) who recounts his many shootouts to the patrons of a classic saloon, name-dropping all the most famous men from the Wild West – from Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid (to name but a few). It’s your job to shoot through Silas’s many stories, reliving the bullet-ridden action as it unfolds.
Silas will often tell the story a certain way, and after you’ve played through it, he’ll go back on his words and Gunslinger will rewind and force you to play through the section again with a few distinct changes. It’s a very fun mechanic and always keeps you tuned in to the story.
One of the most interesting aspects of the game is how the story changes depending on certain in-game choices. These forks in the road will alter your path, allowing for a variety of different playthroughs. It’s a pleasure to play through the game multiple times just to experience the gorgeous graphics and robust shooting mechanics.
A Fistfull of… BOOM HEADSHOT
The shooting in Gunslinger is extremely fun and it offers all the slo-mo, one-shot kills that made the first two Call of Juarez games so interesting. It has an over the top cartoon violence to it, giving every hit a real weighted feeling. Every weapon in the game packs real power, from the six-shooter and the rifle to the vicious mini-gun – all of them pack one hell of a punch, giving you the feel of a bonafide Old West badass.
One thing that does affect that feeling are the cheap deaths you’ll endure in the first hour or two of the game. Some boss fights can end in your brutal demise in a matter of seconds, but some patience – and a little dumb luck – tends to see you through. The one time that it really infuriates is when a random enemy gets the drop on you. Slow motion takes effect and you have a limited time to dodge it, but if you fail, it’s instant death time. It’s frustrating, but it only serves to make you a better player as you push further into a firefight. Luckily, the checkpoint system is fairly reasonable, so you’ll never have to play through the same sections that often.
One gameplay mechanic that pops up at the end of a number of levels are the classic duels. These are the classic cowboy movie stand offs, but they’re barely satisfactory in their implementation. You’ll use the right stick to focus on the enemy and the left stick to keep your hand close to your weapon, and when the time is right, you go for your weapon and shoot. These sections are quaint, but are no more than the tarted-up mini game mechanic featured in previous entries in the series.
The IR Verdict (BOOM HEADSHOT)
Other than the main campaign – which will last you around six to eight hours – there’s only a score based mode left for you to enjoy. It may seem a little light on overall features, but the quality of graphics and sheer fun of the gameplay – and the reasonable price – makes Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger a must-buy for those looking for an FPS experience with a taste for the arcade.
Developer Techland may have stripped down the contents, but they’ve built a game that doffs some serious fedora to all the elements that made Call of Juarez great in years gone by.
You can pick up Call of Juarez: Gunslinger on XBLA for 1200 MS points, or purchase it for PC or on PSN for £11.99. For more reviews by Dave (@gamevana), check out his descent into the political depths of Metro: Last Light.