by Victor ‘r0gue’ Vieira
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, a story of the McCall brothers caught up in the Civil-War era in the Wild West. They leave their family land in Georgia, following their greed all the way to the Aztec ruins in Mexico. The brothers’ common lust for a woman provides a back-drop to the story that you follow through out the game.
Developed by Techland and published by Ubisoft, you get to be a cowboy in a ‘shoot-em-up’ FPS, with some unique and wonderful touches. The game uses the Chrome engine 4, which they use to create new some features, different to the norm with the FPS genre.
Game-play and features
I will start by explaining what new these developers have brought to the table. The ‘cover-system’ is just brilliant and works well with the pace of the western-theme which is not as fast and furious as modern war. You are able to get up close to the object you want to use for cover, then by using an analogue stick you can peek around or even over the object varying the amount you want to peek. This feature alone deserves an award of some sort. I hope that other developers play this game and that this ‘non-one button cover’ theme carries on with shooters to come.
In single player you choose either Ray or Thomas McCall to play with, who have unique strengths. One strong the other agile. These characteristics determine their different strengths and you can inter-change brother as you go through the stages. There are three levels from easy to hard. I did not try easy but medium was not too easy and hard is not overly-difficult. You can shoot one or two guns at a time, using two triggers for the latter. For those long-range shots you have a more accurate rifle. When using your auto-aim, your target becomes the focal point and the rest becomes a slight blur- a stunning touch which really gives the feeling of looking down a barrel of a gun.
For me though, the game’s party trick has to be the ‘focus ability’. You build up you focus by shooting enemies. Once full, you can perform a variety of awesome ‘shoot-em-up’ cinematics to get you out of situations that could otherwise be too much to get out alive.
Multi-player offers numerous modes and maps allowing for lobbies to go at it in true Wild West fashion with the common goal being bounty. The bounty on your head is increased by your kills, which makes you a bigger online target should you be successful. Multiple characters are unlocked for team-based objective modes or the straight-forward team death match.
The question I was asking before I got the game – “Is there high-noon shoot-downs?”
- GFX are just about faultless
- The nostalgia of a western well done
- Cover system
- The aim-assist is one of the best I have seen in a shooter
- Concentration mode
- Shooting chickens
- Being able to change your choice of McCall brothers and experience their individual strengths. You can do so at the beginning of most stages.
- The ‘oh so southern accents’
- The dialogue is mostly ‘cheese’
Every now and then a game comes along and does something new. Call of Juarez is one such game. Under-hyped and over delivered a hugely fun shooter, in a theme that I for one could not see done well. I am glad to admit I was wrong and that a western can not only be done well, but it can be done better than most in the shooter theme. It is a game that totally captures just about all things associated with being a cowboy in a package filled with wonderful touches.
Shooter fans should not miss this one for the experience of a western, and to experience things done diffferent to the norm with shooters. I think even if you are not a full-on shooter fan, you will probably still find much to smile about playing this one. And yes, in case I was not totally clear, I give this two huge thumbs up……..”yeeee haaaaa”