“I loved you and you lied to me, both of you! You betrayed me!”Ray McCall, expressing my feelings on Call of Juarez: The Cartel to Techland and Ubisoft.

Even if you were one of those who liked that game, you have to admit it was a huge misstep to take an American Old West series into modern day. It’d be like making an all-modern Assassin’s Creed. Thankfully, in Call of Juarez: Gunslinger we’re back to basics. Gunslinger is an excellent game, but it's not at the level of Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, or the original Call of Juarez.

The music is amazing of course, Pawel Blasczak is a great composer. Some of the music are revised versions of music from the previous games, which is great because they had excellent music as well. The scenery is gorgeous and just as good as the previous games. I had sincere doubts about the new comic book style, but the beauty of the landscapes doesn’t suffer, and the style isn’t
that bad after all. Despite that, I’m hoping it won’t return in the next game, as this style only works in the context of Silas Greaves’ narration. On a separate issue, and I thank Techland for this, there is an option to turn off the points counter. They deserve credit for being one of the few developers nowadays to have the decency to make such a thing optional.

I don’t like the fact that they removed so many weapons, especially the Volcano Gun, although I can’t say as I’m sad the Hybrid Gun and Peppergun are gone. I also despise not being able to dual wield a Ranger and a Quickshooter (or Six-Shooter) together, instead being forced to dual wield a pair of either one. It was nice being able to use a Quickshooter in a sticky situation when the Ranger or Volcano Gun were out of ammo, in the previous games.

My biggest complaint is the Dueling system. In Bound in Blood, you had to match your opponent’s movement, draw, and fire. In Gunslinger, you have to adjust and keep your eye on two separate meters (One that represents

Dueling (Review)
your focus on the enemy, the other on your own readiness to pull your gun). Have you ever tried to focus on two different things at once? It’s extremely difficult. It does get a little more tolerable once you get more practice in, but it’s still as annoying as a Spy sapping my sentry. So, angry at having being turned into swiss cheese, I sometimes would draw first, and almost always won. This however, was labeled as dishonorable, which is utterly ridiculous because it isn’t. In a duel, it was one man or the other, one of them was not walking away. If I was in a duel, would I draw first? Probably. Despite what Spaghetti Westerns led people to believe, most often the guy who drew last, died first. If you ask me, the dishonorable thing would be fighting a duel for the wrong reasons, or shooting a man in the back.

Speaking of dueling, let’s move on to the John Wesley Hardin duel. This was probably the most frustrating part of the entire game for me. I died more times than I’d care to count trying to take down Hardin in a duel. I had my eyes surgically altered was somehow able to keep up with both meters as I stared him down, and even when I managed to fire a couple of shots they never seemed to hit, strangely enough. In my last attempt, I fired all six rounds of my Quickshooter, and dodged all twelve of John Wesley Hardin’s, thinking it would be a draw, and thus game over. Imagine my surprise, and anger, when it turned out I was supposed to do that in the first place. Not shoot him like every other duel in the game. They didn’t even bother to tell me, “Oh,
Duel with John Wesley Hardin
you can only dodge in this one by the way.” No, it turns out that Silas Greaves did a magical bullet-dodging dance (probably as a homage to the “no” dueling dance move Ray and Thomas loved so much in BiB). It's also completely ridiculous that he dodged twelve bullets at close range. Dodging even a single bullet is physically impossible.

Which brings me to the Sense of Death. It’s nothing more than a gimmick; it doesn’t add much to the game, and in some cases actually takes away from it. It occurs way too often, it’d be better if it occurred once in a great while, or maybe even as a selectable skill in one of the trees. My second biggest gripe is something I wholeheartedly want removed for Call of Juarez 5… Quick Time Events. I tend to agree with Yahtzee when it comes to them, “Press X to not die” is absolute bull. Especially in Call of Juarez though, they have no place in this series, and can sometimes lead to frustrating situations. There was one incident in particular, before the boss fight and duel with Kid Curry, where I repeatedly failed the quicktime event and didn’t have a chance in hell against the enemies surrounding me without it.

Another of my primary complaints is a section wherein I went after Henry Plummer. Silas stated that he'd decided to go through a mine. I persevered through said mine despite not being able to see much, and got my face smashed in by some kind of train car (I couldn’t see it clearly). I tried a few more times and succeeded without too much difficulty, and fought my way to daylight through a collapsing section of the mine with Silas narrating that his plan of attack was not only moronic, but insane. Outside I was left with no choice but to jump

Ill-Fated Route
down into a pool of water, then, a train car came after me and smashed my face in and I died. Then Silas said, “It’s a good thing I abandoned that ridiculous plan before I even tried it.” And how he’d actually gone a different route entirely. My reaction? In response I said, “You #%@&$%#!” Needless to say that wasn’t one of my favorite parts of the game.

My intention isn’t to call Haris Orkin and Rafal Orkan (The writers of GS) out with this next part, but the story is not a mystery like Haris Orkin claimed. It doesn’t really come across as being set up as one in the narration, and it’s actually predictable what the big twist is (I’d go into more detail, but I don’t want to spoil it). There is a little bit of mystery about the story in a couple of places, but not enough to label it as one. I was surprised to see there is a moral choice which I’d imagine leads to two different endings (I’ve only seen one).

I was also worried during my playthrough of the game that GS had nothing to do with “The Call of Juarez”. The Call of Juarez, for those of you who don’t know, is the name locals of Juarez, Mexico gave to those seeking the Legendary Lost Gold of Juarez. The treasure was an ancient Aztec treasure said to be the ransom for Montezuma II, buried by a Spanish Conquistador in the hills near Juarez. Supposedly the Aztec Sun God put a curse on the treasure, and treasure hunters would only find madness in their own perdition. Whether or not the actual curse exists in the canon of the series, “The Call of Juarez” still does because of man's greed and what spawns from it. I was pleased to learn that this does indeed relate to the story, though perhaps not quite as much as it should.

Back to the example from earlier, where I kept failing that quicktime event and dying, I was met with a loading screen that read: “SMASHING [ENTER] BEFORE THE LEVEL WAS LOADED WAS CONSIDERED
Scenery 2
DISHONORABLE IN THE OLD WEST” and that laugh raised my spirits. I reiterate that Gunslinger is not quite as good as the first two games, but it's still a great game, although it is noticeably shorter than its predecessors. Still, Gunslinger was only $15 dollars so I won’t hold that against it. On an unrelated note, I’m a bit worried for people who work at Techland, it's come to my attention that someone who has been on their team since BiB has an unhealthy obsession with killing chickens…
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