Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is a downloadable Western-style FPS from Techland and Ubisoft. It is available for download via PSN and Xbox Live. Call of Juarez, the debut franchise title, was released for PC and Xbox 360 back in 2007. It was met with mixed reactions with its lackluster gameplay mechanics and shallow story. After two more mediocre sequels, Bound in Blood and The Cartel, Techland has started fresh with Gunslinger. Can the series redeem itself this time around?
Gunslinger has its strengths and weaknesses. Its strongest asset is something the series has never done very well, which is its gameplay. The controls are tight and solid, making gunplay fun and exciting. Its one of the most rewarding games when it comes to taking down bad guys with your revolver, rifle, or other weapon of choice. The bullet time feature is here, which is temporarily slows down time so you can eliminate multiple enemies at once. It works, but its not something I found myself using very often. Duels are also here, which introduce some clever characteristics as far as gun drawing and accuracy. The visuals in Gunslinger are pretty, but they’re nothing to shout from the rooftops about. You could do that, but you’d look like a darn fool. However, for a downloadable game, it is very nice to look at. The environments are classic Wild West, with prairies, farms, caverns, valleys, canyons, and more. The game is dedicated to offering that old time western experience, surrounding and engulfing you in it. Sound is also great. Voice acting is the strongest part of the audio presentation, offering many funny moments and some genuine bad-to-the-bone ones as well. However, expect some outright silly and awkward lines throughout. The typical FPS flare is here, with explosions, gunshots and dynamite, which all sound glorious in surround sound. I advise you buy ear muffs or sound-isolating earbuds before your purchase. Either that or just resist from shooting that TNT barrel, which isn’t going to happen, and you know it.
Silas Greaves is the main character in Gunslinger, who is a thick-skinned, old cowboy. He is also the narrator of the story, as he tells men in a saloon his past encounters and adventures as you play through them. You’ll hear some famous names such as Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and Doc Holiday for a clever pop-culture and history kick. Its a very cool concept that works well. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously though, as there is plenty of comedy, which is genuinely funny and entertaining. It keeps things loose and fun. Oddly enough, this is one thing that lets Gunslinger stand on its own as a unique title. The game also offers arcade and duel modes, which are both rock-solid, more specifically the former, in which you take on hordes of enemies.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is the best game in the series, which is saying a lot, given its surprisingly funny nature and the fact that it hardly takes itself seriously. It has its flaws, such as a weak story and short play-through length, but overall, Gunslinger is fun, entertaining, and offers great replay value. Isn’t this what games are supposed to do? I think so. It’s no Red Dead, but its $15 well spent.