Sunday, November 26, 2017

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (PC) Review

After the disaster that was Call of Juarez: The Cartel, I thought that this series is gone for good. It would be difficult for a game to redeem itself after a game like that. I was very surprised when they announced yet another game and this time around, they went back to the roots, with the game set in the Wild West.

Gunslinger is one of the most fun FPS games I have played. The last western FPS game I played was way back in 2005 called Outlaws. Great game, but western games never caught my attention since. Gunslinger looked very interesting, and when Humble Bundle offered this game for $1 as a part of Humble Ubisoft Bundle, there was no reason to not pick it up.

We are back in the Wild West once again...

The story is told in the form of flashbacks, as recalled by the main character Silas Green during his days as a bounty hunter, to a group of patrons at a bar. This has allowed for some creative gameplay techniques, because at times, the story is questioned by the patrons, and the game rewinds as the narrative changes.As the story is told, the environment also changes in real time to reflect the details being recounted.

You get to fight against historical figures in the campaign, such as Billy the Kid etc., as Silas recalls his encounters with them. Silas does not let the truth get in the way of a good story, and it leads to some funny dialogue.

A Star Wars reference...?

I felt the reason this game is so entertaining is because the developers did not take the story too seriously. It felt as if they wanted to create a game that was fun to play, first and foremost. It s weird weird saying that because you would think fun gameplay would the main motive behind all games, but I don't often get the impression when playing modern AAA games.

Shooting is so satisfying in this game. There are three classes of weapons, revolvers, rifles and shotguns. Based on your preference, you can pick any weapon to specialize. There is an RPG aspect to this. The selection is limited, but the shooting is excellent. I personally liked the rifle and revolvers the most. It is possible to dual wield revolvers, and its a lot of fun to dual wield in bullet time mode.

Speaking of which, bullet time works as a combination of slow motion time and x-ray vision. Using this is a lot of fun, they did not try to innovate on this too much by adding QTEs (which do exist), they kept it fairly simple, and as a result, when it is activated in a tough situation, it is very useful, while being stylish.

A note about QTEs in the game, I don't mind the way they are implemented. The game prompts the player to press a button in some situations, but it can be ignored. The game does not punish the player for not engaging in QTEs, for the most part. Ideally, I would like for them to not exist at all, but as it stands, its not as bad as Battlefield 3.

I have not used shotguns a whole lot, but when I did, they have a lot of impact, and fun to use, unlike the last game I played - Spec Ops: The Line.

Enemies range from natives to other outlaws, and the combat is always entertaining and frantic.

The developers did a fantastic job with the atmosphere. The art style has a comic book feel to it, reminds of the cel-shaded game, XIII. The intros to some of the characters are very well done, and this is one of those games where I did not mind watching the cut scenes. The visuals are beautiful. Its not all set in a desert, you travel through ghost towns, lush green forests, swamps, canyons etc. The level design is beautiful. For the most part every chapter has its own setting, and they are expertly created.

Audio deserves a special mention here. Voice acting, music, gunshots, and  atmospheric sounds are excellent. The term immersion is overused in gaming media, but that perfectly describes the audio. It captures the Wild West theme perfectly and adds to the immersion.

This maybe the first time I played a game set in Wyoming...

However, all is not perfect with the game. There is one aspect I did not enjoy, and that is the duels. The mechanics are vague, and although the game does try to educate the player on how the system works, I still had trouble getting used to it. The part that I hated the most about the duels is how the reticle does not obey player input. It feels as if the input lag is increased, and the dip is decreased. I found this system to be very irritating and unnecessary. I hope they scrap this feature in future titles.

I enjoyed this game a lot, and now I want to play the Call of Juarez, and Bound in Blood. Its unbelievable that I got this game for $1. It took me about 6 hours to finish the campaign in Normal mode. I am not sure its worth the $14.99 price tag, but I would definitely recommend this for the current price of $7.49.

On 11/26/2017, the game is on sale for $7.49


+ Wild West setting
+ Excellent gunplay
+ Beautiful visuals
+ Audio
+ Story

- Duels

Verdict - Excellent game, buy it for under $10.

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