Review: Call of Jaurez: Gunslinger (PS3)

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Title: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.9 GB)
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Techland
Price: $14.99 (US), €14.99 (EU), £11.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is also available on PC and Xbox Live. 
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.

Having listened to the review of the previous installment in the series (episode 230) I had many doubts about anything bearing the name Call of Juarez. Then Ubisoft sent out a press release with a live action teaser video, I began to wonder if they didn’t want people to see the actual game. To top it off I didn’t get the review code until a day after its release, not a good sign. Alarm bells were ringing, “It’s going to be just like Call of Juarez: The Cartel.” I thought to myself.

20130422_COJG_screen_Duel 20130422_COJG_screen_Gatling_Gun 20130422_COJG_screen_Sense_of_Death

Gameplay:
You play as Silas Greaves in a Wild West first person shooter,  which rewards you with XP as you get score combos and headshots. Weaponry at your disposal include pistols, revolvers, shotguns and even dynamite. You are able to get different skills each time the XP meter fills up and these can be very beneficial to you as the story progresses. I ended up spending a large amount of time checking the three different skill trees to see which one suited my play style the best.

Controls are typical with the genre and I got used to them almost instantly, you’ll be happy to know that you can duel wield some weaponry and also change it to an Akimbo mode so you can fire each gun at will.

Nuggets of Truth are the collectable secrets scattered throughout the game and each one is a piece of factual information to do with anything from Ned Kelly to the Gatling gun. I found them to be quite interesting and worth checking out.

Arcade mode is all about the high score. Completing a level without dying and quickly taking out every enemy as efficiently as possible. You can pick one of three different loadouts which are also upgradeable by getting points during play. This mode reminds me of a game called The Club, only good.

I don’t want to ruin the story especially the way it’s told as it’s very good and works very well. A big part of any game set in this time period ends up being the dueling and this game does it very well. So much so that it has its own mode accessible from the main menu. You get five lives and have to get through all the games duels. Success in this mode will mean a fair amount of skill, timing and reflex, or some dishonourable behaviour where you draw first.

COJG-Wanted-PosterVisuals:
From the stylised storyboards to the massive scope of level design, Techland have done a brilliant job here. Their attention to detail and variety in the levels are fantastic, even to the point of straying off path to see when I’d hit an invisible wall, it just kept going. Lighting and reflection effects are very good; vegetation and the realistic flow of the terrain are brilliant. I don’t know if it’s just down to the Chrome Engine 5 or the skill of the graphic and level designers at Techland. Either way it looks astonishing.

The Western Dime Novel are the antecedent of comic books and what inspire the look and feel of the game. It looks great and helps to set it apart from many others. Another thing that you’ll be seeing a lot are the guns, now they didn’t blow me away in the looks department (excuse the pun,) but are good and detailed enough to not detract from the experience.

Audio:
A soundtrack that instantly feels right at home in this genre, combine that  with the voice work and you’ve got a Wild West treat to the ears. But I can honestly say the Narration steals the show and works so well within the game itself, so much so that it becomes part of the gameplay.

I would recommend playing with a good set of headphones plugged in as you won’t want to miss the story, it also helps show off the music, gunshots and explosions.

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Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only.

Conclusion:
It seems like Techland have learnt from their mistakes and have done a fantastic job with this iteration of Call of Juarez.  The alarm bells that were ringing have well and truly been torn down, melted into bullets and chambered into Silas Greaves dual wielding pistols. It feels and acts like a triple-A title, with a large skill tree progression and collectibles to find it definitely has a good amount of re-playability.

If you are a fan of the series, or even just the genre, you won’t be disappointed. Throw in the Arcade & Duel modes and this is a stunningly good value for money.

Score: 
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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  • Great review Chazz.

    • ChazzH69

      Thanks Sam. It’s a very good game, probably the best yet from Techland.