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CALL OF JUAREZ: BOUND IN BLOOD is a first-person shooter based in Western America. It is created by TechLand, published by Ubisoft and uses TechLands own 'Chrome Engine 4' for its graphical engine.
Following the military burning down the family house, the two brothers, and their other slightly paranoid brother set out to look for a sacred, supposedly cursed treasure that could help them rebuild their home and settle back down. Until such a point as they have the treasure, however, they settle down in the town of Juarez, and then one of the brothers sleeps with the Sherriff's daughter, shoots the Sherriff dead and they're on the run and looking for the treasure once again. It's not that much of an excellent story, but it's good enough for a video game, and considerable notches above most.
The gameplay in this game is generally cover-based. It's good for that reason that the cover-system in the game is next to astounding, allowing you to navigate your cover in first person and peer over what you're hiding behind, poke your gun out from behind the cover and protect yourself from enemy gunfire.
Less inspiring events and mechanics in the game include the bullet time moments where you burst in the door and shoot everyone in slow motion, a feature copied by many games after Call of Duty did it to great success, however, although copied, Juarez actually does it far better than Call of Duty, which works to its credit.
In addition, there are the quick draw events. These events can generally be drawn on a line between 'somewhat fun' and 'borderline frustration'. Some of them, even on the easiest settings require extraordinary amounts of patience to win. It's a good idea, but when the player is frustrated with how regularly they fail at the events, the mechanic degrades the games quality.
The shooting also feels quite good; the guns make reasonable noise and have good kickback, something that recent games always forget to put in. It also has a fair amount of vibration when you are using an Xbox 360 controller for Windows, and that adds to the experience quite a bit. Of course, if you can bear to use a 360 controller on a shooter.
The game feels just about the right length, and it has amazingly accurate pacing. Just as you were getting tired of the same old scenario, it runs in all guns blazing and gives you yet another one to play with. It's a good way of setting the game out, especially as it ensures that the frustration is limited to a short section of the game, rather than an extremely large chunk of frustration.
Using the Chrome 4 engine, this game is graphically good. It's easy to look at, atmospheric and runs well on even mid-range computers at fairly high settings. The dynamic shadows (the shadows that are cast by objects that are not part of the standard, static geometry of the level) are crisp and good-looking, and even adapt to the direction that the sun is facing. The explosions look meaty and can make you feel hot and the ragdoll death physics are well done and believable. The graphical effects of this game are fantastic, especially as they can be run so easily on a mid-range computer.
The sounds in this game are quite good, the explosions are believable, the screams of death agonising and the sounds of weapons firing explosive. However, the voice actors for all of the characters, especially the two main brothers sound weird and disjointed. It is as if they are being told to say a collection of words in their best Western Accent when they actually don't know what a Western Accent sounds like. As a result, they sound generally stupid. Ah well, the actual immersive game sounds are all fine.
Value for Money
The game's campaign is fairly long at an approximate eight hours from me (although I generally work through games slowly) and the multiplayer is fair and can be played for an additional amount of time to make the game considerably more worth the money that you paid for it. It's worth paying just for the experience, in a world where shooters are no longer innovative, this is a breath of fresh air for shooter fans. It's got a good pace, good shooting and cool set-pieces, and that's more than I can say for the latest Call of Duty or 'Insert Generic Shooter'.
The game gets increasingly hard as it goes towards the end, until the point where it is generally frustrating to play through. It then loses its momentum and gets considerably easier for the games climax, suggesting a hill shaped difficulty curve where it hits its 'Difficulty Climax' half way through the game and falls as the game goes on. It's not a bad thing, and allows for most people to bypass the hardest challenges and then feel awesome towards the end, and it also suggests that people could reach the end easily.
Call of Juarez isn't particularly bloody, nor is it particularly gory. There is some swearing, and there's a bit of sexual content, but overall, the game isn't quite that bad.
'''Violence''' - There is general shooting action throughout. Some of the slow motion scenes emphasise the ragdoll effects on dead enemies. There is no particular focus on pain or suffering throughout the game, and characters that you have to kill are very rarely so highly characterised that you feel bad shooting them. The action here is the equivalent of a 12 rated movie.
'''Language''' - Some swearing here and there. Some characters use words such as 'bastard'. The strongest language in the game is infrequent usages of 'f*ck'. There are some Spanish profanities heard in the dialogue.
'''Sexual Content''' - Some of the characters say generally suggestive things. Part of the story has one of the brothers having sex with the sheriffs' daughter. Nothing is shown, the strongest content was seen in the references of sexual situations. A women's stepfather claims that his stepdaughter has been 'Used like a whore'.
The game contains some language, sexual content and violence, but each of them are not particularly intense or harshly depicted, and therefore it should be easy for a teenager to play without any worries.
The biggest worries in this game are: '''Violent Content''' and '''Language'''
This game is a decent Western shoot out. It doesn't have a bad story, it has interesting gameplay elements and some fantastic set-pieces to shoot through. It's extremely uncommon to find a game so polished that there are times when it feels perfect.
I give the '''four out of five stars'''