|Posted by blcksb on July 11, 2013 at 4:20 AM|
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood isn't bad but its not a really strong game either, and considering I don't see a lot of games in a "old west" setting its just one you have to live with outside of Red Dead Redemption, which is the best Western game made in my opinion. The issues are really the targeting system and how enemies work. The game has the option to shoot through walls and it doesn't work at all if you are the player, yet the enemies can. The targeting system for the game is iron sights but still includes a targeting reticule for when shooting from the hip in game in fact when or if you play it you can pretty much, outside of sniping portions, not use iron sights at all and just play as is. The story I think in grand total can be done in under 7 or 8 hours, faster if you have good momentum going. The game to entice you to explore the world around offers "secrets" to find and access, these are just audio clips of extra back story on a still image.
Another issue is some of the cinematic's and voice acting, the game is designed by Polish company Techland and the Call of Juarez games to my knowledge are their only big products now compared to the other Polish gaming giant ProjektRED who have created the utterly stellar Witcher games, Techland are the Activision of Poland rinse and repeat ad infinitum. Most games you notice have REALLY polished cinematic's for their games and ones that use the actual game engine generally have had tons of work done to ensure that mouths, movements and so on match a script, Techland i'm assuming developed with Polish wording as a priority so the audio sync in CoJ:BiB is bad, the mouths don't sync or follow what is being said. Another thing is if you have subtitles enabled, whats written is never what is actually said through the audio, I think for those who need subtitles that they were edited to make sure really offensive language or phrasing is taken out as not to offend but I don't know, its also got some pretty big spelling mistakes. Now for the graphics, they are pretty good, the world you're in is gorgeously made and replicates the time and locations very well for a western, as the game is a First Person Shooter compared to the third person of Rockstars Red Dead Redemption CoJ:BiB has more depth to the game, but where it fails is as you ONLY are in combat when actually playing and each chapter is linear exploration is limited even though Techland wanted you to find the secrets which are not worth it, compared to Red Dead which being third person did not have as much depth but made up for it as the WHOLE world was alive, vibrant, was leading its life and was open and free to explore and screw around in wins overall for that. The controls are nice and fluid which is a BIG plus in this game, although some of the button layouts are bad and the lack of a melee option is weak, the game handles well, very well, and the analog controls are great for sneaking and such.
Now CoJ:BiB has a couple open world spots but there are ONLY two times that this can happen, the first one is in Act II or III where you have some time to kill before reporting back to a bandit you are working with, and the second which is in Act IV is meeting up with said bandit but leading to a plot twist. The open world parts are frankly boring, it can be seen that they aimed to have it be immersive (and its advertised on the box) but the world is virtually empty, the occasional bandit attacks besides these parts are not worth. During these BRIEF interludes you can earn some extra cash by killing gang leaders, finding stolen cattle, protect rail workers from Indian attacks and so on but the money you get 50 at minimum 150 at max is not worth it as you can get better guns as you go along. The best rifle in the game is 1,586 dollars, the best pistol in the game, a volcano gun, is 157 dollars, now you can switch in between weapons but if you buy one you have to buy ANOTHER again so your money is gone, it seems like the only thing that wont eat your bank is ammo, as long as you refill when you can the games good and you'll never run out.
Now to the characters! CoJ:BiB is about 3 brothers, 2 of them Thomas and Ray you play as, at the beginning of each chapter you get the choice to play as either brother, William the third and youngest brother is un-playable and is the moral character, both playable brothers have different strengths to them, Ray is much more on the ground guns blazing he dual wields revolvers, uses shotguns and TNT and can kick doors in. Thomas is more of a sharp shooter who uses rifles mainly, can use a bow and arrow and has a lasso to be able to climb up roofs and such, and uses throwing knives. You can switch between the two or play as one but a couple chapters of the game you can only play as one or the other and not both, ive only done Thomas so I have to do Ray still. The story for the most part is pretty good if unoriginal, the strongest aspect to it is the small cast of characters, each has a personality all their own and their methods and strength's differ but are engaging. The beginning and middle are strong but the ending is rushed and does not finish strongly and really turned me off, thankfully it was the end so next play through I can skip the story. The beginning starts in 1864 then cuts three years later and the rest is set in 1867, the two McCall brothers are part of the Confederate army but decide to abandon their posts to go back home for their ailing mother and younger brother, after 1864 we cut to the three to the present and them trying to make a living and eventually deciding to head south to Mexico to search for a legendary treasure.
Overall you can do worse in your first person shooters (Call of Duty and Battlefield comes to mind) but Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood overcomes is blatant problems by a very strong (if weak ending) story, a good small cast of characters, and the great smooth controls. I will say this is not a game to pay full price for though, the copy I played is a used copy and its not even mine, for a quick single player story and not very high replay value 40 or 50 bucks is not worth it, better pick it up or borrow it folks. All around that though this is a good time waster, and considering how uncommon games set in the Old West are its a nice treat, Ill stick with Red Dead Redemption more though.