Today I thought that my second review should be on a game a bit more recent, and one that I wasn't so obsessed with.
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a FPS from the development studios of Techland, where ever that may be; At first it seems to follow the disappointing real of the bloom'n'gloom rail-shooter, mixing the atmospheres of grim dark and HDR bloom like never before.
However, ever so surprisingly, after it gets past its own asshattery it turns out to be quite a fun little shooter based in a surprisingly underutilized locale; seriously, why the fuck don't people make more wild west games?
So, back to what I was saying, like most shooters there are a variety of guns; unlike most shooters, instead of fucking people up more than other guns, some guns have some genuine pitfalls and uses compared to other guns. The problem with this mechanic, however, is that you will never carry enough fucking guns and you will continually spend money for the shinier version of the gun, until you get to the point that the enemies start dropping the gun you just spent all your money for.
Well, getting back to how the game starts, you start as Ray McCall in the confederate army, seemingly pissed about your brother being elsewhere when your commanding officer tells you that you can't go fetch him; only to have his commanding officer to tell you to fuck off and die.
On the way to pick up your brother you enter rail shooter mode and kill yourself with TNT until you decide to stop fucking using it; this is quite enjoyable for the first 5 or so minutes, plowing through those damn Yankees and generally causing havoc with their brain matter.
This is when the game starts to shine; you find your brother, Thomas (who seems to have drunkenly fallen asleep and forgotten to blow the TNT allowing the Yanks across the river), he will tell you to get your ass on the Gatling gun, cue BAD-ASS MODE, and generally have some fun. After you mow down several dozen "Blue Bellies" you're told to go on up and kill ANOTHER dozen trenches worth of soldiers, which does get kind of boring until you activate concentration mode (which I will get into a bit later on); at the top you'll find about a dozen troops firing a cannon, you kill them and then start taking aim at their troop transports. It's about 2-3 minutes of a kind of fun and badassery that you never thought you'd find in a wild west game, followed by blowing up the bridge that your brother forgot about.
So after all this, after the game starts to prove just how good a shooter it is, a random fat ass with mutton chops shows up and, instead of commending you on singlehandedly killing about a hundred people and stopping the enemy advance completely, yells at you to abandon your post.
So now your brother decides to act like he helped and starts bitching, your character agrees and decides to fuck off back home to the family farm.
What can I say, this game is genuinely fun, especially the concentration modes.
It's very rare that a game can come along and spice up the boiled rice recipe of FPS gameplay into something special and Bound in Blood is just one of those games.
It blends a unique setting, some truly solid gameplay elements and a heavily balanced assortment of weapons; but what's more is that it does it RIGHT.
So many games fail when it comes to this point, but Bound in Blood pulls it off and just as well, because that is what holds this game together.
There are some notable aspects of the gameplay that just make this game what it is, the wonderful concentration mode which, on the hardest difficulty, really comes down to the wire as a game saving piece, allowing you to take down as many as 12 hostiles that may kill you if you fuck up.
Another notable aspect of the gameplay would be the games version of boss fights, they are, in essence, both the strong points and the weak points of the game. They get progressively harder as the game advances, as you would expect, but there is no variety, there is nothing that makes these the cherry of the game that they should be.
There is something else I have noticed about the gameplay, the developers have given you a baker's dozen; they've thrown in some small aspects of other games as little incentives and I really found myself looking forwards to the next snippet of these.
Notably these are the free-roam parts, where you're given a few acres of land to fuck around with, shoot some Indians, shoot some bad guys, fulfill random contracts, go and buy ammo; but what is really wonderful about these snippets is that throughout the course of the game each one is different so you don't get overly used to the surroundings like in most open world fuck-a-bouts.
I'm giving Gameplay a 9.5/10.
Seeing as Bound in Blood is a recent release there is no real need to look back and compare it with others of its age.
The graphics, whilst nothing astounding or mesmerizing are more than enough to keep the game moving along.
Though I have to say that I love the art style for this game, it really sets you into the "Holy fuck, I'm a Cowboy" attitude, which is what this game really wants.
For graphics, I'm giving Bound in Blood, an 8/10.
Like the above graphics I'd really have to say that Bound In Blood's sound was nothing game making; there were a few gems, like the cracks of black powder going off, but for the most part the sound was just a filler and not much of a feature.
I'm Giving Sound a 5/10.
Now this is a tricky one, Bound in Blood doesn't really rely on replay value as much as KotOR, nor does it have such an active modding community, but it is just one of those games that will sit in the back of your mind and every once in a while will yell down your ear canal "Remember me Mother Fucker? Wanna go fuck some shit up recklessly?"
I'm giving Replay Value a 8/10.
Replay Value: 8/10