Call of Juarez: Gunslinger preview

Written by Mat Jones

April 2, 2013 | 07:39

Tags: #call-of-juarez #fps #preview #ps3 #review

Companies: #ubisoft

The first sign of this reactive gameplay is in a sequence at the end of the first level where you have a duel with famed lawman Pat Garrett. You best him in a quickdraw battle and leave him dead. Silas then, through narration, says that this was all just a misconception and that it was actually all made up. Time whizzes by in reverse and the whole fight is undone.
 
Later, when you’re escaping from a prison cell and clambering over rooftops to get out of town, Silas mentions that he used wooden beams to make it from one building to the next, at that point they fall out of the sky and allow you to cross when you get close.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger preview
 
Our favourite example of this so far is a moment where young SIlas is being ambushed in a closed off canyon by what he says are Apaches. One of the bar’s patrons calls him out on how unlikely this is and so he updates the story to be about bandits attacking him “apache style” from high elevation. The character models then flicker from native-Americans into bandits.

This ambush causes the player to eventually run out of ammo, get so swarmed by enemies that they appear everywhere in the high elevation and don’t allow you to get any cover. You’ll die, but on respawning back into the game a way out will suddenly emerge that wasn’t there before. That’s masterful understanding of games as a form and what they can achieve if they really commit to the narrative style that they’re leaning on.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger preview

If you are just after a quick bit of run and gun action, though, Gunslinger also has you covered with a mode separate from the narrative that offers a sort of arcade mode like in Sega’s 2008 Smash Hit “The Club”. You're scored based on your ability to keep up a string of kills within a set time limit; each person you shoot adds a multiplier to the score, until that time runs down and you start again from zero. And if you don't get to the end, you don't get a score. At the start you’re allowed to pick from a variety of different loadouts that confer different starting weaponry, but you can also pick up guns that the enemies drop. There’s some variety in these weapons, even between different kinds of revolvers, with longer ranges or faster rates of fire on offer, but the trade off is usually that they reload slower.

It’ll be interesting to see if the narrative of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger gets even stranger as the game continues and/or how much more it leverages the potential options it's story-telling style opens up. The demo gave off the impression that the story experience might be a little short, but regardless our first impressions suggest it will totally justify the 1200 MS Points that it’s going to sell for over XBLA.
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