Ubisoft

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger calls down the thunder, and now you’ve got it

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger calls down the thunder, and now you’ve got it

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

  • 360
  • PC
  • PS3

$14.99 MSRP

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It's been an interesting journey trying to convince gamers of the quality of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. The previous Call of Juarez games have been uneven, and they have yet to make a sizable dent in the industry one way or the other. They're not quite good enough to rise above the news, but not quite bad enough to be considered total failures.

Gunslinger is a $15 title for the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, and it transcends the previous games in the series, presenting a sort of Wild West fable, a tale that takes place around characters from history we know well, while playing with our preconceptions.

A whale of a tale to tell you, a whale of a tale or two

Gunslinger doesn't tell a story in the strictest sense, the game follows along with a story being told to others. A six-shooting near-superhero is sitting in a saloon, sharing thoughts from his past exploits. This allows some neat narrative tricks, as you play through a sequence, only to have someone in the bar question some aspect of it, and then you play through the scenario a second time for clarification.

“It was like a gift from the heavens!” our hero Greaves says at one point, and a dead body stuffed with ammo drops from the literal sky to his feet, giving him the firepower needed to fend off his attackers. We're not seeing what happened, we're peeking into the imaginations of the people listening to, telling, or questioning, the story being told.

 

Famous gunslinger Johnny Ringo isn't a man as much as he's a myth discussed in pulpy novels and tall tales, even back then. Having him be treated that way in the game's narrative itself is delightful. The bonus “nuggets of truth” you can find within the game offer a more balanced look at the actual history of these characters.

Since you're playing a literal story, there is no fat. It's just gunfight after gunfight, and you get bonus points for headshots, killing people from a distance, and keeping your combo going by killing man after man. The game rewards your efforts to play as a relentless killing machine, although taking the time to line up headshots leaves you more vulnerable to enemy fire. It's a brilliant risk and reward mechanism that gives the game a booming, drum-like pace.

The more points you earn, the more powers you can unlock, which allow you to clear gunfights in a way that makes you feel like the hero of a particularly good Wild West action film. You can also slow down time to take out multiple enemies, dodge bullets from time to time, and even the rare quick-time event enhances the action instead of stopping your momentum.

You'll also take part in duels that challenge you to line up your shot, keep your hand close to your gun, and react as quickly as possible. All the gunfighting systems work well, add to the game's theme, and are enjoyable in practice.

There's not much to complain about. Even the visuals are interesting: a detailed, cartoonish look at the Wild West.

Do you like fun? Then you should play this.