Call of Juarez: Bound In Blood

Bound In Blood is set in a time before the original Call of Juarez, where we gamers who dabbled with Reverend Ray McCall the first time round get to see what he was like in his younger days. He’s still quite gnarled-looking (proving that, in the Wild West, there was little chance of combating the seven signs of ageing)  but he’s not as much of a miserable git as you’ll have found the first time around. In Bound In Blood, Ray is joined by his brother Thomas, a less grizzly fellow with a nasty habit of pulling the ladies – a trait which, ultimately, sets the two brothers against each other as Ray gets a bit huffy about this.

If you’ve played Call of Juarez you’ll know what you’re getting. Bound In Blood, like it’s predecessor, is a fairly linear affair, although there are side quests dotted about along the way. Before you get too excited at the phrase “side quests”, let me quickly point out that this is not Fallout 3 – there’s probably six or seven side quests throughout the game including such demanding tasks such as finding missing cattle.

The linear nature of the game is a bit of a letdown to be honest because the map is quite expansive beyond the usual point A to point B trudge that you’re often asked to do. The first chapter, for example, has you fighting in the civil war slowly picking off people wearing different coloured coats but if you so much as stray onto the beach at the side of the river you will be shelled to buggery which gives you a game which has hidden 89 secret scroll type things throughout it, but then punishes you a little for having the gaul to explore the world a little bit.

Graphically the game is beautiful. I spent a little while watching the water flowing in a mountain stream. It looked really clean and good enough to drink. It probably wasn’t good enough to drink after I’d finished running up and down it to see if it made a splashy noise – I go that extra mile for my reviews – just so you know, it did but was a bit of a let down. That’s not to say that the eye-candy on show is not without fault. You will find, fairly early on, that sometimes the enemy are ridiculously hard to see and given the authentic period weaponry having the sort of zoom you’d get by squinting it can be hard to pick off your assailant – many of whom have little or no problem in picking you off. Play on the harder levels and the second sniper in the early chapter will earn a high percentage of your swearing vocabulary as, for a good few minutes, you will be fairly convinced that there isn’t  a man there at all and that you’re being sniped by a bush. Even the game’s handy habit of plonking a gold star on a target you need to deal with doesn’t make it any easier – unless you get ridiculously close you won’t know there’s a man in there at all.

Ray and Thomas have special concentrations modes they can call on when they’ve killed enough people. A quick press of B and you enter the game’s wild west bullet time which allows you to pick off targets with remarkable skill. Ray’s concentration mode is the simpler, and more boring of the two. Wave your reticule over the enemies and they’ll be targeted, exit concentration mode and Ray will rain bullets at your chosen victims and, as they say, Bob’s your uncle. Once you get your hands on Thomas’ equivalent, however, then you’ll have found your new favourite thing. Thomas has a much more interesting, and fun, concentration mode. You’re asked, with a deft flick of the right stick, to fire the gun by pushing down on the hammer like a quick-fire artist. This, alone, makes Thomas the more fun character to play when given a choice between the two. This choice, ideally, should give the game a decent replay value but their two paths are not that different. You’ll be asked to provide cover for your brother, or hope your brother provides sufficient cover as you soldier on. It’s really not much more variety than that. Which is ultimately a shame.

There is a multiplayer mode which I found to be quite unfriendly when I played. Like many games, these days, you earn money as you play online which allow you to level up your character, or unlock new classes. The problem is, many of the multiplayer games you enter will find people who have already levelled up leaving you at a distinct disadvantage. You’ll also find that your screen is full of the dynamite icons as people seem to throw them around with gay abandon. What this game needs is more people playing online to dilute the already levelled ups and give us n00bs a chance to get a look in.







One response to “Call of Juarez: Bound In Blood”

  1. waxc3 avatar

    i enjoyed the game.
    my gripes:
    the cover system is the worst in any game i have ever seen! press near some edges to take cover. okay, normal enough. but you can not see over most of it once in cover. i would rather duck behind the box, not be hidden all crooked unable to shoot. thomas even takes cover on the stairs when you walk up them often! WHAT!?

    i hated the duel system as well. its hard for me is the only reason why. if there was a place or chance to practice the timing of it perhaps i could forgive it. it often didnt work for me and whenever i do win a duel all i did was shoot a guy in his privates…
    so my practice came from failing and reloading a hundred times… a real game breaker for me.

    fyi – there are 6 side missions.

    this story answered some questions from the first but in the end dug major plot holes.

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