By Sam Coles:
Like pirates the western is a genre that is underutilised and I don’t know why as they are a great setting to tell fun and even deep and compelling stories with love, betrayal and gun slinging action. Call of Juarez Bound in Blood is one of those games that I don’t hear a lot of people talking about these days and I don’t know why it’s a great first person shooter, with excellent characters and a great story.
Call of Juarez Bound in Blood takes place after the American Civil War as you take control of two former soldiers in the confederacy then they desert their posts during a battle to save their mother and family home. They are then branded as traitors and are hunted down across the United States and Mexico, Ray and Thomas McCall become outlaws making money anyway possible no matter who gets in their way. They start to squabble when a woman comes into play when they are in Mexico but a bandit owns the woman and things get very messy where Ray ends up killing him. Ray is the hot headed brother who ends get them into violent situations where Thomas is more of a cool headed person who tries to talk his way out, it’s a nice juxtaposition between the characters as it brings balance to the plot.
Gameplay is a first person shooter where you can choose between two characters at the start of each mission which have subtle differences between the two. Ray is a tank character where he can take more damage and is proficient with duel revolvers and shotguns whereas Thomas is more adept with rifles, bows and throwing knifes. Levels do play out slightly different if you play as the different characters such as Thomas taking a more elevated route as he has a rope he can use for climbing. Ray on the other hand takes a more direct route taking enemies head on as you would expect. They don’t control that differently minus the dead aim mode where Ray highlights enemies with the reticule and then guns them down quickly and Thomas locks on to them where you have to pull back the analogue stick mimicking pulling back the hammer on the revolver.
What boggles my mind with this game is that there is no co-op campaign you would think that with two playable characters that there would be some sort of 2 player campaign but there is not. This is a missed opportunity as it would have worked; a co-op campaign would be implemented in The Cartel which is an abomination of a game.
Another issue I have with the gameplay are duel boss battles which are simple at first but get stupidly hard in the later stages of the game and if you play the game on hard all the bosses have god like reflexes. The duels are probably the least enjoyable part of Call of Juarez.
The game’s presentation is excellent for the most part with beautifully detailed environments from the beautiful forests of the Rocky Mountains to the baron and sun bleach deserts of Mexico. The only things that do look bit dated are the character models in some scenes they look great, but when they start to animate they look stilted and unnatural.
Call of Juarez Bound in Blood is a fantastic western game and is the best game in the series, before The Cartel ruined it and they had to reboot it with Gunslinger in 2013. Get this game it’s really cheap and I hope Techland work on a new game in the series soon.