It’s quite difficult not to cite the odd Sergio Leone reference in a game such as Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. While it’s true that Gunslinger is a no-nonsense FPS shooting gallery of a game centered upon a (sometimes) outlandish tale of sweet-old revenge, it’s not entirely the real reason why we’re praising this old-school shooter for what it really is.
Gunslinger is quite a simple FPS-cowboy game. Players take on the role Silas Greaves, a skilled bounty hunter that is on a life-long revenge across the 19th century, American-Mexican frontier against his assailant, Roscoe “Bob” Bryant. The game is split up in nine chapters across his 30-year career, all told in chronological fashion of Silas’s run-ins with some well-known outlaws (and their posse’s) of The West: Jesse James, Johnny Ringo and Butch Cassidy just to name a few. Whether it’s true or not is neither an issue as players are guided through some tall and, at times, humorously-outrageous tales of Silas’s escapades, takedowns, shootouts with hordes of outlaws and even drawn-out duels, which are in-game and part of the playing experience.
Some gamers, however, may find the mode of (inaccurate) storytelling jarring as the cutscenes will take gamers away from the main focus any (open-range) shootouts they’re in. Thankfully, the one-dime stories tie itself quite nicely with the very slim, unobtrusive UI and minimal choice of six-shooters and rifles, which, really, gives Gunslinger the impression of a straightforward FPS.
The predominately fun “cowboy” element invested in Gunslinger should really go towards the audio and sound department of Techland. It’s rare for games to possess such a huge emphasis on the audio/sound quality in games (Krillbite Studio’s Among The Sleep being the vocal exception). And it’s even rarer when the music is often overlooked and undervalued in games, particularly for Gunslinger. Personally, Gunslinger’s scoring and soundtrack encompasses a wealth of quality that depicts the lush, untouched forests and mountains of Missouri as well as the barren, desolate wastelands Colorado.
Gamers will feel the tempo through the scoring and sound of Gunslinger whenever they’re sprinting across a barrage of gunfire up on rooftops or careening carefully across railroads and bridges. In addition, the audio and sound really makes up for Techland’s Chrome Engine, which will infrequently recycle some scenes and locales. If anyone ever gets a chance to listen to the Gunslinger soundtrack on its own they’ll find themselves imagining the hijacking of a runaway train without realising it.
Gunslinger wouldn’t have been the fun, silly, but straight-shooting cowboy game without the efforts of Audio Director, Pavel Blaszczak and Sound Designer, Tomasz Gruszka. The both of them and their team should be commended for providing quite a polished and authentic score in bringing the American West alive to gamers’ ears.
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger for PC is out on Steam (without the nuisance of Uplay) for less than $20 and, for a AAA title that takes roughly eight hours to play, it is worth the money, especially for the scoring and soundtrack alone.
This game was supplied for review by UBISoft.