Call of Juarez is back and this time is better than ever. Learn why on our Call of Juarez Gunslinger Review
For those of you who may have been living in a cave for the past decade, Call of Juarez is a western FPS shooter game developed by the amazing guys over at Techland and Call of Juarez Gunslinger is the latest installation of the series and it’s a blast. The last installation of the serie being that Call of Juarez: The Cartel was, to put it simply, a very bad game. Technically, visually and gameplay wise it was a mess. Gunslinger in the other hand is almost perfect and a blast to play through.
Gameplay is fun, visually it looks fantastic, but what I really liked about Gunslinger is the story or better, the unique way the story is presented to the player. Much like in Black Ops, Gunslinger tells its story through flashbacks, so where is the uniqueness you may ask? Many of the wild west myths and tales might and many have been well, just myths and tales. And here is where the uniqueness of the storytelling comes into play.
An old man walks into a saloon and starts referring to himself as Silas Greaves, the legendary bounty hunter, but we don’t know for sure if it is truly him. People in the saloon quickly get around him and poke him to tell his story. So the old man starts narrating Silas story, who he met, who he fought, who he killed and why he did all of the things history books talk about. The narrator is old and sometimes he is pretty unreliable as his audience challenges the lies and inconsistencies in his tales, he quickly manages to “fix” them and progress through the story.
During this narration, you play in first person as a younger Silas Greaves and you experience the story as it is being narrated. While the old man says things like “As I heard gunshots, I took out my revolver and ran to see what was happening”, you exactly do the same things. But here is when things get interesting. The narrator is an old drunkard, so sometimes he will screw up the story as he is narrating it. So one moment he may be talking about fighting against gang members and an instance later he will switch them with an Apache army and back again to gang members as someone from the public in the saloon picks up the inconsistency during his narration. The best thing is that you can see these changes happening during gameplay. Or sometime you will play through a whole mission and “complete” it, but as soon as it ends, the old man will say something like “Well I could have gone the long way, but I saw a ladder (or elevator) and I went that way” and the mission rewinds back to the start and you have to “complete” it again using this new path. It is very interesting and kinda unique to see how the environment/level changes on the fly and the execution is perfect.
Revenge is the central theme of Gunslinger. Silas is fueled by revenge, he seeks the killers that took away both his brothers. During his quest he will meet and sometimes fight legendary outlaws like Jesse James, Butch Cassidy, Billy the Kid etc. “I went toe to toe with Jesse James and…” he will say and somebody from the public will go “But Jesse James was shot in the back by his friend” and he will quickly respond “Well I didn’t say I killed him, did I?”. There are many moments like this in the game and it is interesting to see how these match up with the real story of these outlaws. To learn more about this, there are the collectibles in the game called “Nuggets of Truth”, collecting these unlock images of the real outlaws and their real story (maybe I am not sure). Finding these can be difficult cause many times these aren’t on the main path and also not in the next logical place where you might go to look for them. Many times they will be hidden very very well, like in a destructible box or under something that is not clearly visible. And the perk that should help you in finding them, it’s not that useful.
Perks, yes you heard it right. For every kill, headshot, combo or item you destroy in the world, you gain experience and once you got enough, you level up. After that you can choose where to invest this point that you got. There are three skill trees, one for dual-wielding pistols, one for close range and one for long range. I spend my points mainly on the long range tree as I wanted to feel like a real cowboy, scoring headshots with my rifle or revolver from afar, but I also spend some points unlocking the akimbo skills just to see if it was any fun and oh boy, it sure as hell was! Picking heads from afar with my trusty golden rifle then running towards after throwing a dynamite at them and quickly pulling out my quickshooters to fill them will lead, man I felt like a total badass. Then quickly tapping as fast as I could the square button to reload my rifle in a split-second while getting behind cover to recover from the bullets I took just to jump out of it seconds later, dodging a deadly bullet in Matrix style using the Sense of Death ability then quickly activating my Concentration ability to pick off the heads of the remaining enemies in slow motion…yeah f*cking epic! I can talk about and describe similar moments for hours, but experiencing them in game is a totally different thing.