Post by Tyler Durden on Mar 1, 2007 16:31:39 GMT 6
I've already played the PC version and I can honestly say that it's one of the best shooters I've played. Here's a review of the game I had posted on another forum:
Call of Juarez Platform: PC and coming soon on XBox 360 Genre: FPS/Stealth Developer: Techland
Before I begin the review of this truly awesome game let me first tell you that it's not out in the US yet. It will probably be released in the first quarter of 2007. The developers are tweaking it for DirectX 10 alongwith the XBox 360 version which will have some additional features. The game, however is out in the UK and you can also download the UK retail version from the game's website.
Okay now on to the real review... If you haven't heard of this game already, it's a story based Western themed first person shooter. Now before you start to compare it to the other western themed shooter called Gun, stop! Because this game is much better and more polished than Gun (which was kinda enjoyable in it's own way).
The first thing you'd probably notice are the truly amazing graphics. Even before you start playing this game you'll be impressed by the vast open scenery of the wild west. The outdoor environments - hills, trees, grass, rivers look better than Oblivion (I just had to mention that game ) and definately more realistic. I can't wait to see how it will look when the game is out in DX10 and on the XBox 360.
In the game you play as two different characters - Billy Candle (I know... but you'll find out why he's called so when you play the game) and Reverend Ray. Billy is the steath character and likes to avoid combat as much as possible and for good reason... he's not very proficient with firearms and is extremely vulnerable to damage whereas Reverend Ray is the Preacher-cum-gunslinger and will shoot every bad guy that moves (and I mean that literally since for some strange ethical reason, you cannot shoot dead bodies). In short Ray is the one with balls while Billy is the p***y.
The game is not open-ended (and thank God for that!). Instead of making another GTA-style half-assed open-ended game, the developers decided to make it a tight story driven affair. The levels however are pretty big and it's not a corridor crawl like most shooters. You play the game in episodes alternating between Billy and Ray. Sometimes you get to play the same level from either characters' perspectives. It's actually quite satisfying to fill all those annoying bandits with lead while playing as Ray after trying to sneak past them as Billy in an earlier level.
The story is pretty good too. It's full of Western movie cliches (lost gold, revenge etc etc) but has enough twists and turns and it actually makes you keep playing just to find out what happens next. The ending is quite satisfying and the showdowns are very cinematic. It's like starring in your own Western flick.
Gunplay is extremely satisfying. I rate it amongst some of the most satisfying shooters (Max Payne, F.E.A.R., Halo...). You can dual-wield pistols and also carry a rifle if available. You can also dual-wield different types of weapons for example a pistol and a sawed-off shotgun which makes for some fun shooting. The left click fires the gun in your left hand while the right click the one in your left. The only downside to the gunplay is the constant reloading but it's quite understandable... after all there were no automatic weapons in those times! Well except for the mandatory mounted gattling gun (another western movie cliche) which you get to use in a couple of levels. There are some environment-based moves you can pull off... for example toss an oil lamp near some flammable material and shoot it to start a fire and flush out any enemies hiding in that area.
You'll also engage in a number old old school showdowns with some boss characters and you have to be really fast to draw and shoot before you catch one in the head yourself. These encounters actually make you feel like you are a badass quick shooter. There is also the obligatory bullet time mode but it's also handled rather uniquely. The bullet-time gives you two crosshairs which slowly merge into one. The trick is to hit as many opponents as possible before they become one. It's pretty cool to unload your pistols and then watch them all fall down as time returns to normal if you do it correctly.
As satisfying as the gunplay is, some of the stealth sections are pretty boring. Mainly because stealth isn't handled as well as stealth oriented games like Splinter Cell. There's always one route that you have to take and it's very difficult to tell whether an enemy can see you or not. Many times they will spot and shoot you from across fields but won't notice when you are sneaking from behind them. Billy can use his trusty whip to swing across chasms Indiana Jones-style using trees etc. but it's use is also pretty limited and you'll wonder why you cannot use it in certain places. The only real reason to play these steath levels is that you know you have a shooting episode after that...
Some of the levels are rather well designed especially one where you have to take a really long horseback ride while avoiding/fighting hostile apaches. It's kinda like the Highway 17 level from Half-Life 2. Another level has you chasing a stagecoach on horseback while another one has you hunting rabbits in a really beautiful looking open environment. So the game has enough variety to break from the constant shooting and sneaking stuff.
The music and voice-acting also deserve a special mention. The music is really fitting to the wild west theme and makes you feel like you are Clint Eastwood! Reverend Ray's voice acting is a bit hammy but since he is such a badass it's hardly an issue. I mean how many video game characters can hold a gun in one hand and read from the Bible in the other hand? Yes, Ray can use a Bible too!
Overall, this is a very entertaining and satisfying shooter full of Western goodness. It's also quite long unlike most shooters these days. The only problem is the poorly implemeted stealth system and a few boring levels where you have to use stealth. Also the game suffers from a "boring start" problem. The first couple of levels are not as interesting and you might start feeling bored and start wondering if the rest of the game is going to be the same. But the rest of the game is so good that you won't mind these problems. It is one of the best games I've played this year.
I give it an 8.5/10.
GOOD: + Engaging story + Really satisfying gunplay + Amazing graphics, vast open levels look very pretty and natural + Music, sound effects, voice acting are all well done + Runs well with no major bugs/issues (at least in single player)
BAD: - Poorly implemeted stealth system - A couple of boring levels - Slow start might turn off some players
8.0 Presentation Packed with atmosphere and humor, Techland creates a treat for fans of the wild frontier. 7.0 Graphics A few technical issues detract from what could have been a great-looking game. 8.5 Sound Fantastic cinematic score and laugh-out loud dialog, although that may or may not be on purpose. 7.5 Gameplay Techland takes a lot of chances and most of them pay off. Not without problems, but fun overall. 7.0 Lasting Appeal Prepare for online hell on horseback. Traditional multiplayer with Western flourish. 7.5 Good OVERALL (out of 10 / not an average)
Closing Comments Western fans are really going to enjoy Call of Juarez, a game not afraid to take chances and have fun with itself. The atmosphere is excellent, thanks to a great cinematic score and a great variety of gameplay including horses, dueling, stealth and flat-out action. While Call of Juarez isn't particularly great in any of these areas, you have to hand it to Techland for developing one of the most fun Westerns to date. The visuals are great at times, although textures and dark environments need to be improved. When you're finished with the brief-yet-engrossing single-player game, you'll enjoy the online multiplayer, thanks to some classic modes re-created with Old West aplomb.
Sam any luckkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
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