Review: Call of Juarez

We’ve got both kinds of gaming, country AND western. We’re talking about Call of Juarez; this is a first person shooter that plays like an old western film.

We’ve got both kinds of gaming, country AND western. We’re talking about Call of Juarez; this is a first person shooter that plays like an old western film.

There aren’t too many western video games around at the moment, most First Person Shooters tend to be set in the future or in some alter reality. And this possibly makes the game little more difficult to create; you can’t simply drop a few monsters or zombies here and there. Call of Juarez has to make do with old weapons in a hick Yankee setting. And it does a mighty swell job of making that exciting, especially if you’re not too big on the whole cowboy thing.

The game begins with a big shoot out, you’ll have a stationary canon like weapon and you’ll be killing tonnes of bad guys, and more bad guys, and even some more bad guys. Did we mention there’s allot of bad guys?
There’s probably too many in this introductory scene, but it’s a mighty fine way of introducing you to the laws wild west, or the lack of laws.

The premise is based around the character Billy Candle, he’s a skinny hombre who was on hunt for the Lost Gold of Juarez.
Now this isn’t as clichéd as it sounds, there’s a solid side-plot where our protagonist is wrongly accused of murdering his family. You get to play as both the hunted and the hunter known as Reverend Ray.

Now as you may be able to tell, there are quite a few quirks which make Call of Juarez into a fairly well rounded game. Playing as two conflicting characters may remind you of Halo 2 and at first this can be fairly disorientating but eventually you may come to enjoy the dynamic, in fact I’d bet my cattle and grains on it partner.

Call of Juarez will force you to take up a variety of stealth missions, puzzles, gun duels, platform jumping, and even some horse back riding. So in the end you can expect play through a pretty solid variety of game styles. There’s also the option to use the slow motion option when you’re playing as Reverend Ray. This is similar to the game F.E.A.R. where you can slow down time to increase your accuracy.

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The final quirk worth mentioning is the risk that the Call of Juarez takes. It doesn’t waste anytime in pushing the sex angle, in fact you’ll meet the towns prostitute within a few minutes of playing the game, and she has quite a thing for you.
Then there’s Reverend Ray who uses the Bible as a weapon. It’s similar to scenes from Pulp Fiction where you read passages before pulling out your revolver. And the Bible does actually work to distract enemies; they’ll stop to listen to your preaching before you swap to some more substantial fire power.
With all this in place, it seems that the developer Techland are catering for a fairly mature audience.

Call of Juarez has some darn good graphics with a slight exception to the character models being nowhere near as polished as the environments. The sound effects are two thumbs up and the music is well, perfect. There’s also some great voice acting which makes the game play-out as if it were a feature film.

The controls are solid, the action feels tight. It’s country and western for shoot em up fans.

Developer: Techland
Publisher: Ubisoft
Classification: MA15+
Formats: Xbox 360 and PC
URL: Call of Juarez

Reviewed by Michael Stark