Call of Juarez: Gunslinger DEVELOPER: Techland
RELEASE DATE: May 22, 2013
As a fan of all things old west, I crave video games set in those times, and there haven’t been a whole lot of them to enjoy. The best so far has been Red Dead Redemption, but the ultimate would be a first-person open-world RPG western, kind of like Fallout: New Vegas but in the late 19th century and without all the apocalypse stuff.
It was this wish for more first-person western games that first drew me to the Call of Juarez series. The first game was a little rough around the edges, but because it was a western FPS it gained a special place in my heart. The sequel, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, was actually a prequel, and also an improvement over the first game. Then came Call of Juarez: The Cartel, which has no place in this conversation because it jumped to modern day Los Angeles and made me very sad.
I wasn’t the only one saddened by this attempted escape from the old west, and developer Techland and publisher Ubisoft took notice, returning to the franchise’s roots for the fourth game in the series, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. But is it worth your time?
The game opens with a man named Silas Greaves walking into a saloon, where some locals buy him a drink and talk him into sharing some of his stories. What they don’t expect, however, is to hear about how Greaves was involved with the lives (and deaths) of some of the most infamous outlaws of the old west. It begins with his time with Billy the Kid while on a quest to find Johnny Ringo. After parting ways with the Kid and tearing his way through the Cowboys to find Ringo, Greaves realizes there’s money to be made in taking down wanted outlaws. And so began his life as a bounty hunter, and Greaves shares the stories of his encounters with these famous names with the saloon’s patrons…who grow increasingly skeptical of his tales.
The thing about this new game, is that it’s not a full game. Instead of releasing a physical disc into stores, the latest title is a downloadable release you can grab on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, or Steam. Because the game is a downloadable arcade title, Gunslinger is obviously not nearly as substantial as the previous games in the series, which might leave those expecting the older games a little unsatisfied. But if you go in not expecting anything, it’s effective as an entertaining little shooter custom made for we the fans of the old west.
The gameplay itself has a different look as well, taking on more of a Borderlands style, but in a very subtle way, not at all excessive or distracting. And while I always prefer realism, I had no problem with the new look…though I do hope if they ever make another full game they’ll aim for the more realistic old west look.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger can grow a little repetitive at times, as you mainly move from one area to the next getting in constant firefights with enemies on your way to showdowns with whomever it is you’re after. But if you’re as entertained by wild outlaw gun fights, as I most certainly am, then this should be no problem at all for you. Plus, how often do you get the chance to have an epic one-on-one duel with some of history’s most infamous outlaws? That alone makes it worth checking out, and you most definitely should check it out.