It seems I’d always been a fan of the Western genre be it movies or games. I remember adorning a cowboy hat and waving toy guns when I was a kid. Call of Juarez was a welcome addition to the FPS genre when it released at a time where Military shooters were predominant. Though I was not much of a die hard fan of Call Of Juarez, I remember enjoying it and its sequel Bound in Blood to a fair degree as well. I knowingly gave the 3rd COJ, Cartel amiss as i read its abysmal reviews and decided not to waste time on it.
Call of Juarez Gunslinger is the 4th in the series and brings us back to the Western roots as opposed to Cartel‘s modern times. The genre of western-themed games isn’t that large to begin with, but this makes up for the drought of western FPS in gaming. You play as an ageing cowboy, Silas Greaves who walks into a bar and starts narrating his escapades. As Silas, you go head to head with the who’s who of the Western legends, Billy The Kid, Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid, you name it you got it. I loved the narrative, it never takes itself seriously, it screams humor all the while keeping the story, gripping. I especially loved the sequences where ol Silas forgets some parts of the story that you’d have to replay when he recollects his memory. And this extends to even replaying a whole part of a level alternatively. Concentration mode is Gunslinger’s slomo dodge where when you rack up enough headshots the meter fills up and you can take on enemies in slomo, dodge bullets etc. Gunslinger’s pace is fast and I breezed through its campaign in about 6 hours or so devouring each level deliciously.
What hindered the pace at times were Duels, Gunslingers version of a Boss Fight. You’d be gunning through a level with immense pleasure and out of the blue you’d have a face off with a boss/mini-boss and you’d have to do a kind of stand-off where you have to balance Speed and Focus and shoot your opponent within a given time. I was initially put off with it but later on I got used to it and if points doesn’t matter to you you can quickly pull the trigger and kill your opponent ‘dishonorably’. Other nuances included disappointing enemy AI and it often felt like I was playing an on rails shooter. There were clipping and low res texture issues as well.
Gunslinger runs on the Chrome Engine 5 but its fashioned in the same way the narration goes, comic-ky and splattered with abundant ink and blood. Cel-shaded graphics aint new but it gives the game that essential pulp feel. Awesome, awesome western score beefs things up leaving you in a constant state of Western Spaghetti. Brownie points for the score keeping things immersive.
Its Gunslingers arcadish shooting experience that sets it apart from other serious shooters. You get points for kills that you can invest in some perks and then kill some more for perking up more all the while narrating a story with the tongue kept firm in the cheek…as simple as that.