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whatshot Call of Juarez Bound in Blood PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 9.0
Sound 8.9
Value 8.6
Distributor: UBISOFT
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
July 2009
Reviewer:
James Wright

8.6


Call of Juarez Bound in Blood

There's never too many Wild West games and Call of Juarez Bound in Blood by UBISOFT is no exception to that rule. Set during the Civil War in America, the tale revolves around the McCall brothers who must work in conjunction to successfully free themselves of this deadly environment that holds them in gridlock with violence, outlaws and guns. So grab your guns, strap on your bullet belt and think hard because concentration is the key to successfully completing Call of Juarez Bound in Blood.


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Features:

  • Dual Collaborative Gameplay – Players can choose to embody either Ray or Thomas, each with a distinctive gameplay style (close or long range), specific abilities (lasso, dynamite…), and weapons (dual guns, long-range carbine…). They collaborate with their other brother taking advantage of each of their strengths and joining fire in the fiercest fights imaginable.
  • Deadly Gun slinging – Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood offers a visceral shooting experience, relying on gun skills and upgradeable guns. Whether close or long range, they harness a variety of weapons from heavy caliber canons to machine guns and various pistols for face-to-face duels. Every accurate shot increases their concentration, which allows them to unleash deadly shooting modes when outnumbered, and even deadlier ones when the brothers work together.
  • Uncharted Territory – Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood depicts the West before it was tamed with iconic settings (a smoky saloon, a Marshall prison, a Ghost Town…) full of outlaws. The McCall brothers face a gritty Lady, a renegade Apache chief, a greedy Mexican bandit, and a vindictive Colonel, all driven by Greed & moral disregard. The players enjoy a wide variety of situations, using horses, canoes, and wagons to explore the open natural landscapes of the mythical Wild West (dry desert of Arizona, Native American village in the woods…) and of its legendary period (Civil War trenches, gigantic cotton plantations…)
  • Innovative Western-themed Multiplayer- Gunslingers, Bandits, and Marshalls struggle online for the bounty. Multiple characters are unlocked for team-based objectives modes or the straight forward team death match. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood introduces a Bounty system, which sees the players increase the bounty on their head with more kills and try to get rid of the deadliest among them to increase their bank-rolls! Objectives-driven, team based missions let them relive the most famous scenes of the Wild West (bank attack, train attack...).

I must admit that I was a huge fan of Call of Juarez on the XBox 360 that featured brilliant next generation graphics that actually looked like the Wild West which also boasted some entertaining gameplay as I battled Cowboys and Indiansm all in this authentic feeling game.

Thankfully two years later, the sequel has finally arrived with developers Techland truly adding something unique to this franchise with a few twists of gameplay and once again some impressive graphics. Paying homage to those classic Spaghetti Westerns and Hollywood movies, this game is oozing with Western goodness which would make Eastwood and Wayne proud.

Best of all, even if you never played the original, this will not disadvantage whatsoever as as you embark on another first person shooter experience set in the Wild West.

As mentioned, the game revolves around the McCall brothers who are trying to reach the Mexican border with intrigue and excitement thrown in for fun. Without ruining any plots for those who are "hanging" to play this game, the story is quite impressive and will draw you in from the start as you are searching for your brother who might be dead. The characters that you meet are quite diverse and interesting which only adds to this gaming experience.


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As mentioned, the game is a first person shooter but the catch to the game is the collaborative gameplay which means the player has access to both brothers, each with their pros and cons. For instance, Ray McCall is a master of explosives and cannot "climb", however Thomas McCall is more agile and can reach places the other brother cannot.

With that said, Ray is the master of the gun and is a classic Western gunslinger who can also dual wield weapons. His use of dynamite is needed in certain parts of the game and it's a very satisfying experience seeing things blow up. Thomas on the other hand uses guile and stealth to succeed and of course his rifle prowess.

You are also joined by Reverend William McCall, a preacher who takes no for an answer and generally provides direction for the plot. As a fun fact, the reverend was in the original story who used a bible and a gun to get things done and it's great that this character has returned in this installment. I must commend the developers on a decent AI in the game because the brother that you don't control is actually very life-like at times and does assist you in a number of situations.

The control system is perfect on the PS3 controller and although it's a rather stock standard shooter, the fun of the game is using the concentration mode that allows you to slow time down, pick your enemies with the target and viola, the time returns to normal as you blow your enemies away.

If you do become injured, you can hide or run away to heal, however the cover system is to die for because when you run up to a box, it automatically goes into cover mode and quite a few objects in the game can be used for cover. It should be noted that the cover system does not automatically activate but when it senses you have stopped, it moves you to cover which is great. Peaking behind boxes is also a great way to dispose of your enemies or wait until your concentration has recovered to use.

The game contains a variety of authentic type weapons from traditional six shooters to something more powerful like Gatling guns. For those who love vehicles, Bound in Blood allows you to ride horses which is quite fun or my favourite bit in the game, defending the stage coach.

To liven up the gameplay of this traditional shooter, the title contains some interesting "boss" fights where you must engage in a showdown with the enemy that was a little tricky to master at the start but once you do, flicking up that analog stick to draw is very satisfying.

Apart from the main campaign mode, the title does throw in a few side missions where the player is awarded cash which can be used to upgrade your weapons and actually spices up the story by giving you a break and allowing for some player freedom.

After the single-player mode, the title does support an interesting online mode of Outlaws vs. Lawmen for up to 12-players for traditional death matches and team battles. Unfortunately the gamers online are way too good and really handed me my butt, even though I did manage to hold my own most times.


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Graphically, the title is a visually quite impressive on the PS3 with next generation graphics that boasts detailed characters and some wondrous Wild West inspired environments. It's one of those games that actually makes you stop during gameplay and look around to admire.

The special effects in the game such as the lighting is quite professionally done which goes hand in hand with the Matrix like concentration mode. The soundtrack of Bound in Blood is like it has been taken directly from a Hollywood Wild West movie and suits the game perfectly, however the stars of the game is the perfect voice acting, especially our good friend, the Preacher.

In conclusion Call of Juarez Bound in Blood is a breath of fresh air to an overly populated World War II or Modern Military first person shooter experience. The graphics are great, the gameplay is sturdy and the voice acting is pure ingenious which makes this game so fun.

The only drawbacks to the game is that it was unfortunately rather short and we managed to successfully complete the game in around 8 hours. There were some load time issues as well but fortunately it did not hamper the experience but if you're looking for something different in the world of shooters, than this is the game for you.





 

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