2013 was a year where Ubisoft released two stellar downloadable titles: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. While the latter went on to gain a cult following, CoJ: Gunslinger was overlooked by the majority of gamers. Does call of Juarez : gunslinger still hold up today? Let’s find out:
RELEASE DATE: 21st OF MAY, 2013
GENRE: First Person Shooter
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger puts you in the boots of Silas Greaves, a drunken old man who is telling his old days of glory to some fellows. Silas Greaves is one of the best characters I’ve come across in many FPS games. His stories change the course of the missions as he recalls various little details as he goes on. His tales seem a little exaggerated as he continues. This story spawns around 6-7 hours on a tougher difficulty and a new game+ mode and True West story mode opens up once you beat the story.
The gunplay in COJ is very good. While there is not much variety in guns, they all have a very good recoil and punchy feel to them. The rifle is used for ranged attacks, shotgun can be used for close quarters and pistols doing the middle ground. You gain experience as you mow through the enemies which helps you to upgrade your skills and also unlock legendary weapon variations. There is also a concentration meter which when filled up can be used to slow down time and locate all the enemies present in the area. Another meter present in the game is Roll of the Dice, which helps you to dodge one bullet when your health is at critical position. All of these culminate to give you the feeling of controlling one of the most badass cowboys ever.
Aside from the standard gunplay, there is another mode called Duels, where you and another major character face off against each other in a test of skill, speed and concentration. You have to build up your concentration against your opponent and keep your hand ready to draw weapons as fast as you can. If you wait for your opponent to draw their weapon before you, it will be considered an honorable kill, which will make you retain your XP from the duel, while a dishonorable kill is easier but rewards 0 XP.
These duels are a refreshing change of pace from the fast paced battles which are usually shooting galleries of enemies who re surprisingly smart. Enemies flank you from each side, throw dynamite and racial slurs at you. Missions change in the middle of the game and sometimes require you to completely replay a particular part just because Silas demands it to be.
Aside from the story, there are two modes : arcade and duels. Arcade is the shooting gallery where you kill for highscores while in duels, it is a series of duel battles like the ones found in the story. While these aren’t big time killers, they are fun activities which enhance the game even more.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger truly captures the feeling of the West. It has a cartoonish style which has been taken from Borderlands but it implements it so well in its setting that it makes me wish that this game was more open so that I could explore its world more. Everything from its rustic towns to the railway tracks, has an authentic feel to it. Bosses are introduced stylishly in Borderlands style and blood splatters everywhere when you kill someone. When bullets fly, they destroy everything that isn’t made of metal.
When a boss uses gatling gun and it decimates a cactus tree while you hide behind a rock seeing it being brutalized, it really is an exhilarating moment. In concentration mode, everything turns black and white while enemies are displayed in red which makes them easy pickings for the player in concentration. Its story is narrated in a comic book style which makes it all the more sweet. The world of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is simply stunning, and helps make this experience a wonderful one.
One word : Excellent. As much as I loved its world, I loved the voices and sounds even more. Silas Greaves is excellently voice acted and really invests you in the character. As the game progresses, you can see the character development of Greaves just by hearing his tales while you carry them out. The story starts out as all fun but slowly engrosses you in a tale of revenge, and the voice work is the one that really does the work.
The other characters which hear the tale are also done well. The background soundtrack is also amazing but what really does the game justice is the sound of bullets. When the bullets start whizzing past your head, it creates an experience like no other. Pistols and rifle bullets flying around while you scurry to kill each and every one of them is a great experience. Silas Greaves himself is one of the best things about the game, and no matter how many times I say it, it won’t be enough.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is one of the most underrated and overlooked shooters out there. It creates an experience like no other and the story of Silas Greaves is one to see for yourself. Solid gunplay, fun duels and excellent sound and voice acting makes Call of Juarez: Gunslinger a must play.
There are a few bugs present throughout the game and it acts funny when steam overlay is used while inside a mission. Though those are minor complaints for what is truly a great game.
It is also reasonably priced at 15 bucks and if you get it at a sale, it’s a steal.
(click on the image to see the rating explanation)