Posted by : Unknown Sunday, June 2, 2013

Developer- Techland
Publishers- Ubisoft
Release Date- May 22nd, 2013
Price- $14.99 MSRP
Review Platform- Xbox Live Arcade

A welcome return to the West

6/2/13 12:30PM |

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger puts you in the shoes of Silas Greaves, a bounty hunter who seems to have crossed paths with some of the most notorious western criminals, as he searches for several men that wronged him. The game is full of gunslingin' action, as the name would suggest, and ends up being one of best entries in the franchise as well as an easy to pick and play arcade shooter. Gunslinger does a great job of bringing you back to what made the original games great, while adding some fun elements to enjoy after the campaign has been completed.

Gunslinger has three main modes of play: Story, Arcade and Duels. The story mode is all about Silas Greaves as he recounts his adventures to fellow patrons in a bar, which happens in both the cutscenes and gameplay. Over the course of the story mode, which took me about 5 hours to complete, the patrons begin to have their doubts about the accuracy of Greaves' tale, since most of the famous and commonly known outlaws throughout history pop up at some point during the story. Think Forrest Gump, but with cowboys, gunslingers, and sheriffs.

The flow of the game from level to level varies a bit, but you'll mostly be doing a lot of the same actions over again until you reach the end and prepare to duel a famous enemy, but it never got boring to me.

Throughout the game, many useful skills can be unlocked, and focus on either dual-wielding pistols, close-ranged weaponry, or long distance rifles. Once you unlock enough skills in one of the three sections, you'll be able to use special weapons and boost the abilities of that weapon class. During my first playthrough, I mostly stuck to long-range rifles, and was able to fully unlock all of the skills for that weapon and put the remaining points into dual-wielding before the story mode was over.

Some of the more useful skills you can unlock allow you to slightly slow down time when aiming, increase your reload speed, or carry more ammo. No matter what you decide to upgrade, you're able to utilize the concentrate ability, which slows down time and allows for better headshots, combo kills, and accuracy that can impact your overall score at the end of levels.

The scoring system in Gunslinger is found in both the story and arcade mode. This mode contains various levels from the campaign, and tasks you with getting through them with a decent score to continue to the next level in the mode. Leaderboard rankings are the main motivation here, but it's also a fun way to go through sections of the story levels once again.

Duels mode has you facing off against the games' notorious outlaws in one-on-one duels, basing your score off of how fast and accurate your shots are, and taking points away if you decided to draw your weapon first, creating an dishonest kill. Controls are pretty unique for duels as well. The left stick is used to position your hand near your gun to increase speed, and the right stick controls a cursor which is used to increase accuracy as you hover it around your opposition.

Visually, this game looks great and has a nice cell-shaded appearance, which reminded me of the Borderlands titles. Levels are fairly colorful as well, and contain some great effects for the mostly outdoor environments. The audio is great as well, from the sound effects of bullets whizzing by, to the musical score that you'll hear throughout the title.

I really enjoyed Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, and plan on playing more of the game in it's New Game + mode, which is made available after you complete the game once. Gunslinger is just as good as it's retail counterparts, and in my opinion, right behind the second game, which is my favorite Juarez title. Download the trial and give it a go. I'm sure you'll have the urge to buy it soon after!

"From the dust of a gold mine to the dirt of a saloon, Call of Juarez® Gunslinger is a real homage to the Wild West tales. Live the epic journey of a ruthless bounty hunter onto the trail of the West’s most notorious outlaws. Blurring the lines between man and myth, this adventure made of memorable encounters unveils the untold truth behind some of the greatest legends of the Old West."

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