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Review

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger Review

  • Game release: May 21, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger's arcade-style shooting is wonderfully thrilling, fast-paced fun.

by

'

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is a remarkable shooter, but not because of its story, or its visuals, or some innovative new game mechanic. No, what makes Gunslinger so successful is its focus on delivering some of the most entertaining shooting around. Each and every bullet fired from your trusty six-shooter rings out with a booming blast that echoes around the valleys of the Old West and slams into villainous cowboys with a thoroughly satisfying splat. It's all so tight, and all so controlled, that the shorter missions and lack of exploration are easily overlooked in the pursuit of the perfect combo and the glory of a leaderboard-topping high score.

With the shooting displaying such finesse, it's a shame that the story doesn't quite reach the same levels of quality. But that's not to say it's entirely without merit. There are moments when it's deliciously sharp and witty, its tongue firmly in cheek as narrator and protagonist Silas Greaves tells of his adventures through the Old West via a series of flashbacks, rewriting history in the progress. Famous outlaws like Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and Billy the Kid make appearances, and sometimes disappearances too, as Greaves forgets parts of his stories and throws outlaws in and out of each of the short levels at will. There are even a few nods to the dumbness of video game mechanics that raise a chuckle and let you know that Gunslinger isn't taking itself too seriously.

Outside of those cheeky moments, some crisp animated cutscenes, and the hearty Southern drawl of Greaves, the story offers little in the way of surprises, building as it does to a predictable conclusion. Still, the onus here is on the shooting, and Gunslinger is an undoubted success in that regard. Each level is constructed like an old-school pop-up shooting gallery, with crazed cowboys aplenty for you to take aim at. The use of cover and height around each level is impressive, not because it's particularly sophisticated, but because it gels so well with the fast-paced shooting. You're constantly kept on your toes and behind your iron sights as you scan behind every rock and up to every water tower to pick off pesky cowboys.

Do so quickly enough, and you begin to rack up a score multiplier. This proves to be very compelling, and tons of fun. The satisfaction of nailing a 10x multiplier with some wonderfully quick shooting as you dash behind cover cannot be overstated. And Gunslinger just gets better with each level as enemies move more quickly and rattle off more bullets, forcing you to up your game and become ever more proficient with your weapon of choice. By the end, you feel like you've developed some accomplished six-shooter skills, even if they are limited to the virtual world. And as an added incentive, in the story mode, any points you earn are converted to experience points, which you can use to buy new skills such as quicker reloads or the ability to slow down time when you look down a gun's iron sight.

There are special, super-shiny guns to unlock too, but the majority of weapon types can be found in each level. And while the weapon selection isn't vast, it is sensible, giving you enough variety to fine-tune the action to your own style. Like to pick off enemies from afar? Arm yourself with a rifle for long-range shots, and back it up with a quick-fire six-shooter for closer combat. Like things up close and personal? Saddle up with a sawed-off shotgun and a pair of powerful Ranger revolvers for some messy takedowns. Or, if you just feel the need to blow stuff up, light a few sticks of dynamite and watch your enemies fly.

The excellent shooting is capped off with the series' trademark quick-draw duels. The system has been tweaked slightly so that instead of following the footsteps of your opponent, you have to keep him within a target reticle to increase focus, while also keeping Greaves' trigger finger as near to his pistol as possible for a faster draw. It's a precise, fun system that's a great counterpoint to the fast-paced action that precedes each duel. If only every boss battle in the game worked this way. Sadly, there are some frustrating sequences where you're forced to face off against bosses armed with Gatling guns. Your only recourse is to spam dynamite at them from behind cover and hope for the best. Any other move results in a frustrating instant death.

Such frustrations aren't enough to sour Gunslinger, particularly when they disappear altogether in arcade mode. There, you're treated to short, timed levels where your goal is to rack up as high a score as possible as quickly as you can. These are an absolute blast to play through, distilling everything that's great about Gunslinger's combat into short bursts of action. And it's their very shortness that makes them so compelling, letting you quickly replay levels to rack up the biggest multipliers, and perfect every high-scoring headshot. There's a similar mode for duels too, where you're judged on the accuracy and speed of your shots. Both modes link to online leaderboards, so if you're the competitive type, prepare to sink hours into beating your friends, or making your way into the top 10.

It's Gunslinger's arcade hooks that set it apart from other shooters. The single-minded focus on creating as tight and as entertaining an arcade-style shooting experience as possible is a breath of fresh air, particularly after the disappointment that was Call of Juarez: The Cartel. There's so much stupid satisfaction to be had from Gunslinger's bloody headshots and from nailing sweet combos that its flaws quickly disappear in a flurry of gunpowder and shotgun shells. It doesn't look half-bad either, with a semi-cel-shaded design and some nicely detailed environments that drive the Wild West theme home. Don't worry that the series has been moved to XBLA. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is a whole heap of Western fun and a thoroughly welcome return to form.

'
The Good
Tight, accurate shooting
Compelling combo mechanic
Weapons have a satisfying heft and sound to them
Well-designed levels
Tense quick-draw duels
The Bad
Gatling gun boss battles are shallow and frustrating
Predictable ending
8
Great
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277 comments
Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Bought this a while back and just got to it tonight. Really loving this game and wished I had gotten to it sooner. Certainly would have been in my top games of 2013.

campbell22
campbell22

I love Call of Juarez series. All of them, even Cartel. I buy this sequel and dont expect too much. But this is one of biggest surprise ever. Price of this game is redicilus. And I´ve got lots of fun shooting, great draw moments, totally lovely storytelling. I was just speecheles. 

07wintert
07wintert

8 its about right really enjoyed it but still think bound in blood is the best in the series 

prince__vlad
prince__vlad

8 ? you gotta be kidding me. This game is not worth a dime.. It has vivid extreme graphic ,as if they crank the color to extreme, an idiot duel system (the most idiot system I ever see, in fact) and no story, just a patrhetic excuse as story...Avoid this game,it's a waste of time and nerves...

Zamboet
Zamboet

However, still better than CoD

PartyGavinParty
PartyGavinParty

Oh my god, Gamespot, you rated this an 8 but the internet averages out to a 7.6/7!

Stop taking money from developers! 

Stop!

-dramatized- 

maxpatne1940
maxpatne1940

i thought the game was going to be rubbish,i was wrong its a good game

i have learnt good lesson try the game first before passing a comment

hitomo
hitomo

man, the 2nd Call of Jutaz was such an remarkable and outstanding game ... what happened ?

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

This game features the best use of an unreliable narrator in video games to date. Not just that, but the gameplay is also a blast. For it's price, the game is a steal

Defender1978
Defender1978

This game is great for the price.  Picked it up on Steam this time since none of the XBLA games will work on the new Xbox One. 

BladeStrike1234
BladeStrike1234

Looks like a generic shooter set in the Wild West. Big deal. "Fast paced action"? The only things I saw from that video review was slow aiming and firing.

OkRaider88
OkRaider88

One more thing: The fact  that the game doesn't have tons of weapons goes right with the theme. No, there will be no dual-wielded Gatling Cannon/Rocket Launching/ Laser Guns. What you get are pistols, rifles, shotguns, and a couple variants for each. This is the Wild West, rimfire cartridges were popular, and some people still used rifled muskets. As far as the story - it is an incredibly creative narrative. Because of the $15 price tag, you don't get crazy cinematics - but games like these prove that you don't need that if the game is actually... (gasp) GOOD.

OkRaider88
OkRaider88

This is a GREAT game. I bought it because I'm a fan of the series - and I didn't think "The Cartel" was that bad - I just didn't like any of the characters in that game. This is what a game should be: $15, Super Fun, does what it needs to do - instead of trying to do too much, No Bugs (at least none on the PC version, beautiful visuals, and did I mention it's $15? 

tobiaskarlsson
tobiaskarlsson

this game looks really entertaining. Just a fun game to play from time to time. That bullet time, story seems just okay. It looks great!!!

shamarke
shamarke

Anyone have that annoying black bars on the PC?

silversix_
silversix_

better than latest GOW and Zelda SS lolololol

DamnILoveGames
DamnILoveGames

I just got this for PC today and it's really really fun. Every kill feels satisfying, especially headshots in slow motion, and the sound effects are beautiful such as the bassy cinematic 'booo' noise of a rifle. It's cheaper than The Cartel and a million times more fun.

jmo116
jmo116

Good Game Good Value deserves to be Bought...fun and enjoyable that's what real games are about not about raping our wallets whit prices the games don't deserve it full of bugs and DRMS that don't work....Simple....GOOD GAME...GOOD  PRICE...GOOD FUN and that's whats matters

Vorheez
Vorheez

15 dollar game....totally worth it....played the demo on psn just now and highly impressed by Techlands development. graphics aint the slickest but gameplay and mechanics are on point!

philMcCrevis
philMcCrevis

i've never given this game the cred it deserves i guess.  looks like a blast i'm going to run out and grab it this weekend.  dang man i've got a ton of games i've not played yet already!!

celeost
celeost

good  game, simply as cool feels kind of fresh and funny like far cry blood dragon , i didnt expect was that good so another surprise , i certainly will play it if theres a second one.  

ArataWata
ArataWata

I'm guessing this is a way of saying "Sorry we made The Cartel."

Hotdogger83
Hotdogger83

Damn it, I was hoping for a great story driven game like the last two, not an increased focus on arcade elements.

tomservo51
tomservo51

Just remember you can't play it once your 360 dies. Not supported on XBONE.

ewjiml
ewjiml

Seriously, one of the best shooters I have played in awhile.   For $15, how can you turn that deal down.  Music is one of the best parts of this game.  I guess since I was obsessed with Red Dead Redemption maybe I am a little biased.  I don't really understand people's complaints with the graphics....they are perfect for a stylized western gunslinger.  

Also, the narration is the best part of the game.  It is truly unique and no other AAA shooter has done thus far on the style.  How the hell can a semi-indie game come out with ideas when heavy hitters like COD and BF4 come out with none?  Goes to show why I am excited for smaller games like these than AAA games.

jdrizzle117
jdrizzle117

@prince__vlad  Vlad you haven't even played it...that much is evident from the ignorance of your post.  Not one thing you say is true.  Anyone who has played it knows you're full of !@#$

maxpatne1940
maxpatne1940

@hitomo looking forward to friday so i can buy the last of  us,the review

as given the last of us 10


ahztek666
ahztek666

@hitomo 

This is better. One of the best games I've played in a long time.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

@BladeStrike1234 That's what I thought about the other Call of Juarez games (by looking at them and playing the demo), but this has a story style that's very enjoyable and the shooting itself is enjoyable. It's not quite as over-the-top as Bulletstorm, but it feels very good to get kills period the way it's to arcady with the scoring and listing of the type of kill you just pulled off (by explosion or while they're running at you, etc). Not all games should do that, but it works great here.

Logixyz
Logixyz

@Hotdogger83 It is a great story driven game in it's own right. I'm surprised that Mark Walton didn't touch upon the unique way the game delivers it's story. It's one of the most engaging form of story telling I've seen in gaming so far. 

I only have two bad things to say about this game.
1. It's not sandboxed (but can't fault it based on the price)
2. The weapons on offer are too few

snakebite6x6x6
snakebite6x6x6

@tomservo51 And the PS4 won't be backwards compatible either...yet I will very likely still have both within the next couple years. 

Backwards compatibility is nice and all, but how many people actually use it?

Aside from the first model of the PS3, PS2 games have not been supported...yet continued to gain sales over the console generation and even exceeded the 360 which had a head start.


Besides, I suspect that my ps3 and my 360 will continue to function for quite some time yet.


Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to go fire up my genesis and play some Phantasy Star.

TORCEDOR
TORCEDOR

@tomservo51 xbox 360  has sold many units and and xbox one still has some time to come through. publishers will continue to make ports for the xbox 360 , like sony did with ps2.

twisted_outlaw
twisted_outlaw

@ewjiml bc Indie games don't have a mega publisher telling them what they CAN and CAN NOT do. Mega publishers are all about that money. Check out Torchlight 2. Then play Diablo 3. Tell me which is the more in depth and better game.

jdrizzle117
jdrizzle117

@maxpatne1940 @hitomo No one here gives a !@#$ about the last of us.  Go to that board if you want to talk to people about that game. 

Hotdogger83
Hotdogger83

@Logixyz @Hotdogger83 Thanks, that's good to know. Since reading this review, I have also watched the Gametrailers.com review, which expounds upon the story telling method you mention, and that does seem interesting. 

Seems to me like they tried to make this game a bit like Django Unchained in some ways, ie. not taking itself entirely too seriously as well as having the gratuitous blood splatter effects.

Defintely going to try it out though.

Vorheez
Vorheez

@snakebite6x6x6 @tomservo51 I still play amped 2 to this day on my xbox.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger More Info

First Release on May 21, 2013
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
Call of Juarez Gunslinger lets you live the epic and violent journey of a ruthless bounty hunter on the trail of the West's most notorious outlaws.
8.1
Average User RatingOut of 572 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
Developed by:
Techland
Published by:
Ubisoft
Genres:
3D, Shooter, Action, Team-Based, First-Person
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
All Platforms