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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Ubisoft
Developed By: Techland (Poland)
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: 1 (2-12 online)
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: June 30, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

When it comes to Westerns there are tons of movies, but not that many games. Thereís something about trotting across vast lands, where the might of your trigger finger determines whether you live or die. Where the lawmen have power, but canít always keep society in order. Thriving for power, dealing with morality issues and trying to secure the all mighty dollar have lead to many memorable tales in history, movies and now in Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. Though not the first and certainly not the last, the morality issues that plagued the protagonists will play ďclose to homeĒ with many gamers, heck millions of people around the world.

Bound in Blood doesnít consist of a simple plot where the guy gets the girl and the gold and lives happily ever after. The story is complex, full of morality issues, quests for revenge, justice and some gold to boot. When the game first starts out, you are introduced to the brother McCalls--Ray and Thomas McCall--who were once part of the Confederate army until they deserted their post during Shermanís infamous march on Georgia in order to protect their family and property. Upon arriving at their ravaged property, they are met by hostile Union solders. After clearing a way to their home, they arrive only to find their mother dead in bed and their younger brother by her side. From this very instance they vow to rebuild their lands so one day they can call it home once again. So the brother McCalls decided to head west in order to seek fortune and fame.

Due to their shoot first ask questions later attitude, The McCalls are always moving; trying to find the next big score, while avoiding the noose due to their unlawful ways. They eventually meet up with Juarez and his mistress Marisa, who clue them in on the famous treasure of Cortez. Because of their down and dirty ways, the brothers lose sight of their original goal of rebuilding their home and becoming a family once again. The appeal of the treasure of Cortez prompts the brothers to join forces with Juarez in order to seek it out. Not trying to spoil the gaming experience for anyone, throughout the game you will be dealing with the past and present clashing with each other as the brothers continue to wreak havoc on anyone who gets in their way. For those who have played the first Call of Juarez, this title will serve as a prequel.

While Ray and Thomas are doing all the killing, William has the most important role of all, narrating the story of the game. With every sequence of events, he gives the player a since of whatís going on inside the heads of his brothers, and what will happen if they continue their ways. William McCall is a GOD fearing man, so throughout the game you will hear him quoting scriptures from The Bible and asking his brothers to stop what they are doing and ask for forgiveness. Like William, Ray and Thomas also dish out some serious dialog in the form of banter, arguments between one another, and interesting conversations with other NPCs. You get the sense that they have a love-hate relationship, which plays out excellently through their dialog and body language on screen.

For most of the game, you will be given a choice of playing as either Ray or Thomas McCall. While you donít have to worry about which one you choose to advance through the game with, they both have their own style of play, which can create some unique and interesting moments. With Ray, you are able to absorb more damage due to his armor chest piece he wears. Ray also has the ability to wield more powerful weapons like a double-barrel shotgun and sticks of dynamite, which can be used to make new openings within blocked sections. In regards to Thomas, heís more of a stealthier individual. If he doesnít feel like using a six-shooter or a rifle, he can take out his opponents with a well place knife to the head or use a bow for added measure.

The focus of Bound in Blood is to take on large numbers of enemies at a given time, with several duels placed in between. Though your enemies are trying to kill you, I think they are nice individuals at heart. With every enemy you kill, they will drop an item or items that you can pick up. These items include weapons, cash, and ammunition for your guns. Another thing they give you is the ability to utilize a bullet-time technique for laying waste to everyone in range. Once the meter is filled, you would press the circle button to initiate the bullet-time sequence. Whatís interesting about this maneuver is that it plays to the strength of the character in use. With Ray, he will lay out a hail of bullets, while Thomas would opt for precise targeting, conserving ammunition.

Visually, Bound in Blood has several highs and lows. When you look at scenic backdrops and landscapes, they look strikingly detailed and awe inspiring. However when you move closer to some of them, you can see that the detail you saw from afar is not there at all. Iím not saying that it wasnít detailed, but you can tell the level of quality takes a dip. Character models are nicely done, including the death sequences that you will witness when you are dueling. For the most part, the visuals are well done, though something could be done about the fact that with every checkpoint that you trigger in the game, the game pauses for a few seconds. Looking at the PC and Xbox 360 versions, this isnít an issue at all. Listening to Bound in Blood, you can tell that Techland made sure to capture to feel of the Wild Wild West. The musical score is very solid, keeping you connected with the action thatís going on, while also helping to set the tone of the game. Voiceovers, as I spoke on before, are very well done. Each character has his/her own personality; which is nicely portrayed through dialog and body language.

When venturing into the multiplayer options of Bound in Blood, be prepared for an immersive experience. There are thirteen different character classes to choose from, of which eight of them must be unlocked through purchasing the character. Each of the thirteen classes utilize specific weapons that are tailored to their gameplay style. They also have distinct character stats that can turn the tides in a battle if used properly. Starting off there are five distinct gameplay modes across seven maps. Though no word has been given on a DLC for the game, there is an option for downloadable content. While each gameplay mode is fun to play, I found the Wild West Legends mode to be the most entertaining. Within this mode itís all about two teams trying to complete their given objectives, whether there be escaping from a certain area or destroying a specific target. The other team would be tasked with preventing that from happening.

When depicting the action and essence of the Wild West, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is one of the best representations within the videogame media today. With an engaging storyline, intense action sequences, and memorable characters, Bound in Blood is a gaming experience that all should play. Whether or not this title will become a huge success is up to the gaming community, however whoever does pick this title up will enjoy the gaming experience, both online and offline.


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