The Call of Juarez series is back with the latest entry in the series Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. Two months ago the lovely folks at Ubisoft invited me to play a demo version of the game and now I’m happy to finally have the full version of the game to review for you guys.
Developed by Techland and Published by Ubisoft Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is a western themed first person shooter released May 22nd on Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network and Steam. It is the first game in the series to be a digital only release but believe me this does not mean it should be overlooked at all.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (from this point referred to as Gunslinger) is set in 1910 where a legendary bounty hunter named Silas Greaves enters a saloon and tells tales from his adventures to those whom are there. Throughout the story you will get to face off against many legendary outlaws such as Butch Cassidy. The story plays out as individual levels instead of a sandbox style gameplay which was slightly disappointing as the game could have had a lot more to it with a free roam mode added in. While I do complain about lack of free roam mode though the game works brilliantly with a level by level style of gameplay due to the arcade style the game has, we’ll talk about that later on in the Gameplay section! Call of Juarez: Gunslinger‘s story may not be the games selling point but it is interestingly told and while I felt it could perhaps be deeper I did thoroughly enjoy it. The story has great pacing and is narrated well, there is a great moment in game where Silas is talking about the enemies he had to avoid when one of the listeners corrects him. Within the game the enemies change as this is said which was a really interesting twist to storytelling in-game and was extremely effective.
Gunslinger‘s gameplay isn’t far different to what you would expect from current first person shooters these days. The game ranges with three difficulty levels Normal, Hard and True West – where players will have to unlock the True West mode. The gameplay plays out in a more ‘arcade’ fashion than other first person shooters but is a great addition to the game. Depending on how you defeat an enemy you will get a specific score with headshots giving you the juiciest (or highest, whatever word is your preference!) score. The arcade style shooter adds a depth of replayability to the game allowing players to go back and get as high of a score as possible on the story mode levels. Throughout the game you will use several weapons, and in the arcade mode will be given the choice between loadouts of a pistol, shotgun and sharpshooter/rifle. While the weapon sets are good and most players will find themselves fit into one of the loadouts they do feel slightly limited.
Duels are a brilliant part of the Story Mode and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to compliment them. Duel Modes work so that you have to keep your crosshair on the enemy for as long as possible to get the best chance of getting a hit in first. After “Draw” is shouted you are able to draw your weapon and shoot… if you prepared correctly you will defeat your enemy successfully. Some boss fights decided to take a different route in game though and have the enemy on a Gatling gun for example which was ridiculously annoying as you had to either spam enemies with TNT or risk a one hit kill as you dive out to fire at your foe. A slow-mo shooting feature is present where enemies will be highlighted red and time is slowed to make shooting enemies easier. Whilst I feel like this feature has become necessary for every game on the market these days it is a useful feature which makes racking up those headshots a lot easier.
The game features on top of its Story Mode an Arcade Mode. Arcade Mode allows players to play a pre-determined level and gain as high of a score as possible and this is likely where most players will be after they have finished the story. This mode allows for a high amount of replayability as you try to beat your own and your mates high scores and get to that glorious spot at the top of the leaderboard. Personally I thought arcade mode was a great addition to Gunslinger and I poured several hours into this mode trying to rack up a decent high score… even if I failed horribly trying.
Gunslinger‘s visual style is well suited for the western genre and looks stunning. The cel-shaded style made it stand out compared to other western games released recently with the aim of being realistic graphics wise over the cel-shaded style. All of the environments you are in look great and fit the western style perfectly. The problem with the visuals looking so good in Gunslinger was the lack of exploring the player can truly do, with a slightly more limited free roam mode players would have been able to enjoy the gorgeous environments and explore them that bit more without the story pushing them through the level.
Positives and Negatives
+ Great visual style
+ Great storytelling methods
+ Plenty of replay value
– Loadouts seem slightly limited
– Story could be a bit deeper
You may be tempted to pass on Call of Juarez: Gunslinger due to it being a digital download only but hear me out, that’d be a terrible mistake! Whilst the last entry into the Call of Jaurez series, Citadel, wasn’t as good as other entries into the series – Gunslinger brings the series back again with a well narrated story, great visuals and a brilliant arcade first person shooter style. Gunslinger does a great job at covering up its flaws (such as its not so deep story) by providing players with brilliant shooting gameplay which is simply brilliant and entertaining. I can happily say that Call of Juarez: Gunslinger gets a well deserved 5 out of 5, if you get the chance – go play this game!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.