Call of Juarez PC Review - -

Gameplay 9.1
Graphics 9.0
Sound 9.0
Value 9.0
Developer: Auran
Review Date:
November 2006
Kyle Sudukis
Classification: MA15+


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Call of Juarez

Ever since Lucasarts' extraordinary game called Outlaws, the first person shooter market set in the Wild Wild West has been rather dull and lacklustre. Sure, there have been a few entertaining games since then but nothing really captured that wild feeling about this era... until now!

Call of Juarez is set in 1882 South Texas where Billy Candle who has just turned 19 is accused of murdering his mother and stepfather. Hot on his trail is Reverend Ray McCall, his stepfather's brother and an infamous gunfighter who believes the Lord has chosen him to be Billy's judge, jury and executioner. With that said, Call of Juarez is an epic western adventure about vengeance, survival and the search for a legendary lost treasure that almost makes this feel like you are living a Clint Eastwood western.


  • Wild West: As seen in some of Hollywood's most memorable feature films, immerse yourself in the most authentic Wild West environments and scenarios ever experienced on the PC, including saloon brawls, train robberies, old-time shootouts, and bare-knuckle brawling.

  • Dual Gameplay: Play as two opposing characters, each equipped with differing skills, abilities and weaponry. As Billy, use your bow and craftiness to sneak in and out of trouble; as Ray, stop enemies in their tracks with your mesmerizing preaching, only to take them down with your six-shooter moments later.

  • Multiplayer: Shoot your way out of some of the Old West's most infamous events, such as Billy the Kid's shootout at Stinking Springs Ranch, in one of several objective modes or take the law into your own hands and hunt down a band of outlaws on the run with your friends in co-op mode!

  • Technology: Using the third installment of Techland's own Chrome game engine, Call of Juarez recreates the distinct rough-and-tumble beauty of the Old West through detailed and realistic environments and levels that spread across miles of terrain.

  • Reactive AI: Encounter intelligent Old West enemies, each with individual skills, who use their environments to their advantage, employ suppressive fire and work together as a group to shoot you down.

  • Weapons and Equipment: Take to the dirt roads on your horse, equipped with genuine Wild West weaponry and equipment like the standard issue six-shooter or the traditional bow and arrow.

The two characters that you play during the game are the very cool and fantastically voiced Reverend Ray who is a preacher and is trying to repent his sins that he managed to gain in his past life. Next you play as Billy, an orphan who has been searching for the Gold Of Juarez and also happens to beon the run from Reverand Ray.

As stated earlier, while you alternate between the two characters, the reason it is done so well is that most of the time you are very close on back of Billy and this means there is always levels full of tension, it is also very cool to see the different types of character do different things at the same points in the levels, one may creep past enemies, while Ray will just blow them all away and can then read a section from his bible to them as they lay there dying!
While Billy's missions do have a lot of focus on stealth, it isn't as good as has been seen in games like Splinter Cell or even Thief, the good thing though is that the game doesn't just have you doing that, you tend to explore more and hear more of the story when the levels are played as Billy, he also makes good use of an Indiana Jones style whip for getting up trees and across rocky gaps. The levels in which you are also riding on a horse or using a bow and arrow are all done with such love of cowboy and Indian movies it is hard not to enjoy them even when there are some annoyances such as relying on quick saves to get you through the levels.

Ray's missions on the other hand are more about taking out your vengeance on the people who get in your way, you do so much shooting that the adrenaline just keeps flowing. The best feature used in the game though is the Slow-Motion mode that is done when you draw your pistols from the holsters, each pistol then has its own separate aiming reticule, moving slowly towards the center of the screen, each gun gets fired separately with left or right mouse buttons meaning you can take out a whole host of enemies at one time if you can time it right.

The game also has many chase scenes, from chasing a speeding stagecoach to rides through and into a mine. There is also a train level which was one of my favorites and even better there are some levels in which you have to actually think about what to do next, something that doesn't happen enough in some of the more recent First Person Shooters.

The graphics of the title are quite impressive for the most part, although it does have a tendency to look a little shabby in some levels when compared to others. The horse riding scenes are very good and characters faces and design is great. The game seems to use HDR for lighting too, this works quite well in some scenes, especially when moving through mountains and coming out into the sun later in a level.

Sound is excellent, this is one area that I can't fault at all with the speech being first rate and I have to give my highest compliments to whoever voice Reverend Ray as I felt that his voice work is possibly the best and most fitting I have ever heard in a game and for that praise comes from someone who is usually critical when it comes to voice work.

In conclusion, Call of Juarez is a must have first person shooter, especially for those that are sick of stock standard sci-fi/doom clones. Great story, brilliant graphics and addictive gameplay... this is one title that you really need to check out if you love the genre or have been yearning for that modern Outlaws experience. Great stuff!



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