Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood – Reviewed – XBox 360

6 min read
5

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Two years ago the first Call of Juarez was released and with a great “Yeeeehaaaa” and a lot of hat-waving, Wild West fans ran out to buy it. Even though the Wild West idea was a welcome change to recent first person shooters, flaws held the game back in the “just decent” section. With the release of Bound in Blood, Polish developers Techland have revisited this theme to see if they could improve on it’s older brother.

So dust off tha ol’ cowboy hat and make sure your six-shooter is shooting straight because we are going to jump in a find out if they succeeded.

The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit.

In it’s predecessor you played as Reverent Ray, a preacher who wielded a pistol and bible with equal ferocity. In Bound in Blood we at last get to discover Ray’s origins and the reason the man turned out the way he did. Ray and Thomas McCall are brothers who desert the Confederate army to defend their homestead, where their younger brother William and elderly mother resides. Upon finding their mother already dead the 3 brothers decide to flee their home, planning to rebuild it once the war is over. Two years passes and the 3 brothers are still no closer to rebuilding their old abode. Due to some unfortunate events, the three flee to Mexico… where they learn about the legendary stashed (and as per usual, cursed) gold of Juarez.

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It feels like the developers have gone the extra mile to make sure the experience is as “Wild Westy” as Hollywood tells us it was. They’ve just about added everything we modern people know about Westerns – high-noon quick draws, horseback riding, stage coach protection, saloon shootouts – plus the combat is quite exhilarating.

For almost every chapter you can select either of the gun-toting elder brothers, each bringing a bit of their own style to the game. Ray is stronger, and more of a pistol fighter while Thomas is more agile and a better long distance shot. Throughout the game both brothers help each other… a door needs breaking down, in steps Ray… have to climb some tower, here comes Thomas swirling his lasso and climbing the rope. The choosing of characters before each chapter also allows for some replayabilty, as you can experience the game from both brothers’ viewpoints.

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Draw!!

One thing that a lot of FPS lack on the console is tight controls (this is the main reason why I prefer FPS games on PC). The controls in Bound in Blood however are excellently implemented and the auto-aim element is very well done, just enough that you still have most of the control. The developers also added some extras to keep the monotony that most FPS have at bay. After killing a certain amount of enemies, you are able to trigger a concentration event, this helps you take out a lot of enemies quickly. Also a plus here is that the brother’s concentration abilities are different and is also handled differently. The cover system in Bound in Blood is revolutionary. The whole idea is that instead of pressing a button to take cover behind an object, you just need to move close to the edge of the object and you’ll automatically take cover. Then using your right analog stick, you can peek around the edge of the object or take aim at a head… and splat!

Just like in real-life-Hollywood-Westerns, there is a quite an arsenal of weaponry. From bows and arrows to sniper rifles, the choice is yours. In between certain missions you have the ability to takes jobs to earn more cash (to add to the stash you looted from dead bodies) in order to buy better quality weapons.

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The game uses the Chrome Engine 4, a renderer that supports just about every modern technology… in other words, the graphics are superb. The extensive outdoor levels includes dense vegetation, small animals and birds. Through out this I didn’t experience one bit of lag.

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Added to this rich single player experience Techland made sure that they added an enjoyable multiplayer component. Although the game only boasts 7 maps, each map sports multiple game types that will keep you busy for hours. There’s five different game types with 2 that are really worth mentioning.

Wild West Legends is like BF:BC’s Gold Rush, where successive objects must be met before being able to proceed. What makes this mode even more fun, is that all the scenarios are based on actual historic events. Other modes include Wanted, where everyone tries to kill the Wanted player… and the Wanted player the only one that scores. There’s also 13 classes available for you to choose from, giving every player ample choice in their play style. The 1 major thing I found lacking on the multiplayer side was co-op. Why do developers always leave this out, when the general gamer populace really loves it?

^^ For some reason this video doesn’t show the aim cursor

Conclusion

A great title and definite improvement on the previous game. If you fancy yourself a Cowboy or just want a different experience while playing a FPS, I highly recommend the game.

Scoring

Gameplay: 8.0
Solid and tight controls and a great covering system.

Presentation: 9.0
Superb graphics with no loading times in-game.

Sound: 7.0
Good voice acting but the quips between brothers can get old, really fast.

Value: 8.0
2 story lines and a great multiplayer section… lacks co-op.

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Overall: 8.0

A solid multiplayer component and a great single player experience.

Last Updated: July 10, 2009

  • Janrik

    The MP is awesome indeed.

    The gun play is so solid, it feels almost real!

  • Just finished this and really had a lot of fun.
    Something different for a change.
    The sp campaign is a bit short though 🙁
    Screw ninja’s, those indians are bloody hide-and-seek gods at that one river section.
    And Quick draw kicks arse! 🙂

  • p.s. and once you get use to the cover system it actually
    works pretty damn well.

  • Yeah… I agree totally. The fact that you don’t have to press (and hold) a button is really cool. And like Nick said yesterday, it’s a lot like what you would do in real life.

  • Lol… they do seem to disappear into the trees like wood dryads 🙂 Plus laying flat in the water where you don’t expect them was really cool too.

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