In a market that is not only saturated, but drowning, in alien/military-based first person shooters, one has to enjoy the change of scenery in Techland's Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood.
Published by Ubisoft, Call of Jaurez: Bound in Blood is the prequel to 2007's Call of Juarez. Released in the U.S. on June 30 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, Bound in Blood follows the adventures of brothers Ray and Thomas McCall as they make their way through the Old West.
After saving their land from Yankee soldiers at the end of the Civil War, the McCalls decide to search for a mythical treasure outside the Mexican city of Juarez as a means to finance the rebuilding of their Georgia plantation.
Throughout the game, players will experience many gun fights, quick-draw duels and vehicle sections, which encompass everything from stagecoach shoot-outs to Apache canoe firefights.
Most of the game is narrated by the McCall's younger brother, Reverend William. William's devout religious beliefs provide for a strong contrast against the sins of the elder McCalls.
In essence, Bound in Blood is the story of two brothers' descent into madness. The two seem noble enough at the start of the game, but quickly lose their humanity after their family home is attacked. Throw a woman in the middle of this and the pot really begins to boil over. From then on, anything goes.
The game's spaghetti-Western feel is noticed in not only the tasks that the McCalls take part in, but in the McCalls themselves.
The differences between the quiet Thomas and brash Ray — while providing players with a solid contrast amongst the two anti-heroes — gives players a really good immersive look into the Old West and its peoples.
Techland did an excellent job at transposing each character's nature into the gameplay.
Ray's kick-the-door-down-with-guns-blazing attitude can be seen in his weapon specialties of duel-wielding pistols, as well as his ability to use dynamite. The more reserved Thomas, on the other hand, is more suited for using his lasso to get on top of a roof, where he can execute his targets with a rifle or shotgun. Thomas is also able to silently kill enemies with throwing knives.
All of the weapons, from the rusty pistol to the Gatling gun, all carry a very authentic feel to the way they are handled. The game's core gameplay allows players to utilize a cover-based combat system, breathing even more life and realism into Bound in Blood's Western style.
What's even better is the fact that for the majority of the game, players can choose which McCall brother they want to take through a particular section of the main story. Aside from this switch in gameplay flavor and style, players can reveal more of the story depending on which character they play, which opens up the game to at least one solid replay.
Multiplayer is mostly based on teamplay, with one team designated as the Lawmen and the other as Outlaws. The bounty system allows for certain players to be worth more points than others, often times painting a nice bullseye on the best players.
The game is beautiful to look at, but the voice acting can be a little distracting.
Aside from that and the fact that the story seemed rushed, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a solid title that stands apart from other first-person shooters.