The Game: Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Publisher: Ubisoft Platforms: PS3, XBOX 360, PC Release: Summer 2009
Story: 7.75 – Decent story, corny dialogue at times, somewhat predictable but feeds us gamers all we need to get a decent rise out of this experience. Keeping in mind that all other Western-genre video-games before this were never really that great, this is definitely the best Western to hit next-gen consoles.
Graphics: 8.25 – Environments are awesomely detailed, feels authentic to Westerns, frame-rate somewhat lacks – slightly choppy, also when close up to certain objects, graphics tend to get a bit blocky with pixles when standing at certain angel. Other than that, this game is pretty much perfect in most other graphics categories: AI movements are realistic and seem unpredictable, the showdown duels are beautifully executed in every aspect, even the act of helping your other character up a ledge or a rooftop looks pretty decent considering this is an F.P.S.(First Person Shooter) Sound/Music: 7.5 – The soundtrack didn’t take too long to start becoming redundant and annoying, and repeated phrases from your characters, like how they say “sunn bitch”, is very annoying, along with plenty of other corny things that fly out of your characters’ mouths. The music often sounds a bit too modern to fit the genre seamlessly, and even sounds a bit like Middle-Eastern Techno, because we all know what that sounds like, right? Well, you will after this game if not.
Coolness Factor: 8.0 – If you want a solid F.P.S. that isn’t simply a rehash of everything else you’ve ever played, pick this game up and at least see it for yourself. Plenty of action, and the only dull moments I have noticed come in the form of cut-scenes. The Not-So-Cool: Repetetive corny phrases, lack of side-missions, obnoxious voice-acting at times
Replay Value: 6.0 – Though it can be a fun game, the only incentive to play through this game twice or more would be to play as a different character. Other than that, the secrets are lame and playing the whole game once through seemed like enough for me.
Pick-up-and-Play Value: 9.5 – If it wasn’t for the “Concentration Mode”, anyone who is familiar with first-person-shooters can pick this up and feel comfortable with the button layout and jump right into the gun-fights. “Concentration Mode” needs a little practice but is very easy to get the hang of. You’ll find the most fun in gun-fights come from filling up your “Concentration Meter” to use this mode, which allows your to slow down time and target up to 12 enemies (with Ray, 6 with Thomas) and shoot them all down in a heart-beat.
Impact on Genre: 10 – I personally feel that this game is a big step in the right direction as far as Western-based video-games goes. It might not be the greatest game to bless our consoles, but for those of us who crave a genuine Sergio Leone Western with the classic Ennio Morricone soundtrack, this game is just one step closer to “groundbreaking epic”, and with enough dedication to the genre I firmly believe that a developer who is ready to take the reigns and do to Westerns what “God of War” did to Greek mythology, we could very well see the rebirth of the bad-ass cowboy in it’s most magnificent form.
OVERALL RATING: 8.14
To the few of us who actually played the first installment of this game, “Call of Juarez” actually manages to do something different with the FPS (First Person Shooter) genre by allowing the player to play the game as two different characters. In the first “Call of Juarez”, you are not given the choice to choose between your characters. As you play through missions, the game switches who you get to be automatically, putting you in the shoes of the wrongfully accused Billy Candle who is on the run from your other playable character, the Reverend Ray McCall, who just so happens to be one of the two characters you get to choose from in the new “Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood”. It was a very interesting element of gameplay that no other video games had ever quite done before – being the protagonist and the antagonist at the same time. A tough feat, and yet not quite pulled-off with success until now.
In “Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood”, you get the choice of playing between two different characters who are brothers in the game. Reverend Ray McCall makes a return in this game, but being a prequal and keeping with the original story, Ray is not yet a reverend. Without giving away any spoilers, you will find out why he becomes a man of the cloth by the end of this game like he was in the original. Thomas McCall is a new character, the brother of Ray, and throughout the game you will be given the choice whether to use Ray or Thomas before each mission. You will find that their differing qualities will give you more of an advantage than the other might, depending on the situation at hand: Thomas is a good distance shooter, is quicker and more agile than his brother Ray, he takes more damage than Ray but is more accurate when shooting, wields knives, bow and arrows, a whip for climbing, and can only hold one weapon at a time, whereas Ray is stronger and takes less damage, he can wield two weapons (either a gun in each hand or a gun in one hand and dynamite in the other), is slower and needs help climbing, and close range attacks are where Ray is at his deadliest.
The “Concentration Mode” definitely deserves some kudos. I prefer using Ray for this, when his “Concentration Mode” meter fills up and you hit Circle, it slows down the time for you to place up to twelve aiming reticules over any visible enemies for you to shoot, and once all targets are placed, you simply sit back and watch how Ray automatically shoots off his gun, laying a crowd of men to rest in a single instance. The only difference when using Thomas is that you flick the R3 joystick (on PS3) and Thomas automatically targets the enemy, all you have to do is pull the trigger.
The story has many thrown-in twists: your characters are two awol confederate soldiers being hunted down by their former army general for deserting the war to save their families, you join forces with a gang of Mexican’s with a girl who becomes the completely un-needed love interest of both of your characters causing tension between the brothers, the next minute you’re fighting alongside Indians, the minute after you’re pansy baby brother is trying to preach about the Lord’s love. It’s starts getting a little crazy when you’re supposed Mexican friends turn out to be demented crooks who turn against you, all the while this “love interest” plays both your characters hook-line-and-sinker. These are just some of the factors that build up this story. If you’re an avid game who plays and beats at least one game a month will realize not long after getting into this game that the story is very menial compared to the gameplay. In fact, nothing hinders the gameplay more than the developers needs to shove all these
If you’re accustom the FPS’s, then you’ll find “C.O.J.:Bound In Blood” fairly easy to pick up and play, and if you’re not extremely picky in the types of games you play, you will find this game to be a nice, mediocre treat to hold you off untill “Batman: Arkham Asylum” or “Bioshock 2″ comes out.