Posted: December 26
"Call of Juarez: Gunslinger" is a pure old-west action FPS game that is bound to entertain you for a fair amount of hours. It's definitely one of the better games I've played within the genre, as not only there is plenty of replay value thanks to its smooth and easy to grasp controls, but the whole product is presented and delivered extremely well. The campaign has taken me about 12 hours to complete, though I restarted about 1/4 into my first playthrough to select a different combat build. I'll present a list of features ranging from great to lacking so that you have more information to work with.+ (Great)
. Gameplay is quite addictive, a combination of smooth mechanics and enticing visuals. It's quite satisfying to shoot the numerous bad guys eager to take your life.
. Concentration: Killing enemies fills up your concentration bar, which you may deplete to enter concentration mode. This mode turns the world into black and white slow-motion and highlights enemies in red, making you feel like the fastest gun in the west!
. Duels are a good addition too. During the staredown, you control different features, such as your hand position (which affects your draw speed) and your focus on the target (the higher it is, the easier it is land a well-aimed shot).
. Fantastic atmosphere - This is probably one of the best things the game has to offer: You are bounty hunter Silas Greaves, who shares tales of his past with several patrons at a bar. As the player, you control Silas throughout these stories, with him simultaneously narrating important, funny, and interesting moments. You will often hear the patrons' comments as well, many times in disbelief at Silas' feats of prowess or at the fact that he keeps running into famous outlaws. Moreover, the levels may abruptly change on certain occasions depending on how the story is being told. For instance: indians suddenly appearing out of context to kill Silas, which was actually a trick in storytelling to see if one of the listeners was paying attention. That part was hilarious! ; Or having to stop a bank robbery in different ways because everyone kept telling the story wrong.
. Levelling system: You may spend 1 skill point every time you level in three different skill trees, which mainly grant you bonuses with the several weapons in the game, namely revolvers (dual, if you wish), rifles, shotguns, and dinamite.
. The collectibles in this game are known as Nuggets of Truth and are actually worth your effort if you are interested in Old West history. Each Nugget provides factual information and a picture about a real person/event/location, relevant to the plot at that particular point. I found them quite interesting and rewarding to uncover, which is something many collectibles do not offer these days. Besides, they also grant experience, which means more skill points!
. Moving train level. That is all for this entry. ^^
. Epic soundtrack. Very fitting themes that truly put you in the right mood. Want to hear for yourself? By all means, pardner! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAyVs4WapDw&list=PLRHJd0VBxwV98RiguAUMdcFgPWK1qyXTa+/- (Average)
. Linear levels: The maps in this game are pretty straightforward, with the occasional different approach to different situations, which is pretty much going to your goal by taking a slightly different path. It's not completely a bad thing, however, since it provides steady ground to keep on shooting bandidos with few distractions!
. Robocop AI. You can usually sneak up to the first group of the entire section and kill them off without trouble. Following that, it seems that everyone has an automatic target-lock on your position. If you're taking cover behind a barricade and try to go around a house to flank your opponents, it seems that they always know where you are and where you will come from. That's my experience, at least. In "Call of Juarez: Gunslinger"'s defence, it is not a sneaking game, and once your enemies open fire it actually becomes easier to track their position, especially by tapping the concentration bar once you hear a gunshot, which will then give you enough time to dodge the bullet(s). *wink*
. No puzzles. There's never any moment where you have to solve a puzzle or riddle in order to progress, not even find a secret key. Everything's pretty straightforward, which from one side of the spectrum means that the action is nonstop, but it may also be argued that the game is a one-trick-pony. (Though a good one!)
. Campaign is fairly short (about 12 hours), but the story is decently wrapped up.- (Poor)
. No horseback riding at all. Now, I was definitely not expecting a detailed riding system in this game, but the lack of it seems like a missed opportunity. When people think about Old West, I would say a vast majority will picture a cowboy riding a horse at some point. A couple of railroad shooting sections on horseback, dodging obstacles by strafing, jumping, and crouching, would be enough to satisfy this need.
. You'll be coming across the same visuals several times, such as re-used interiors and props, which can be monotonous in the long run.
. Melee combat is ridiculous. Press F in close range to one punch someone to the death. Besides, there's no real feel to this action (it looks like your hand just goes through obstacles to complete the motion), but it is easily avoided most of the game, fortunately.
In the end, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger definitely takes the gold medal home. I would rate it a solid 8 out of 10.
PS: I reduced the graphics and resolution to a minimum and the acquired grittiness matched the spirit of the game quite well! It had almost that dime novel cover feel to it. ^^