Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
0

Gaming News

'Call of Juarez: Gunslinger' preview: Once upon a time in the West

By
Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is a surprise addition to Ubisoft's upcoming range of digital releases, especially after the dismal reaction to predecessor The Cartel, which nearly proved as fatal to the series as a stray bullet in a crowded saloon. It appears the franchise was merely wounded, however, and will return to Xbox Live Arcade, PSN and the PC early next year.

For the latest Call of Juarez release, Techland has gone back to the series' Western roots, telling the story of a veteran gunslinger and his run-ins with the likes of Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Pat Garrett. We got a sneak preview of Gunslinger, sampling an early mission that's hotter than Dale Winton's sunbed and more dangerous than a Twitter war with Jasmine Lennard.

'Call of Juarez: Gunslinger' screenshot

© Ubisoft



Once upon a time in the West

Narrated by a grizzled gunslinger to an audience of drunks and harlots, Call of Juarez plays out through a series of flashbacks, colourfully bought to life with a vibrant art style and comic book panel effect. The first mission sees our bad-tempered bounty hunter travel to the aid of Billy the Kid, who's trapped on a farmstead surrounded by Garret's hired guns.

Ditching the "gritty realism" of The Cartel, Gunslinger's opening mission floods the senses with bright sunshine, blue skies, dusky red rocks and yellow sand. The almost cel-shaded art style suits the Wild West setting and should help the title stand out among many a grey shooter.

With trusty revolver in hand, our nameless anti-hero fires a few deadly shots at Garret's clueless guards, pistol-whipping any who come too close for comfort. Points, which are awarded for straight and steady shooting, flash above victim's heads, putting to bed any doubts that Gunslinger is anything other than an all-out arcade shooter.

'Call of Juarez: Gunslinger' screenshot

© Ubisoft



The fastest gun in town

As the gunslinger makes his way through the farmstead, commentating on the action and filling in any blanks in the story, he's faced with more and more of Garret's men. Deadly in large numbers, but showing little individual intelligence, goons are easily offed thanks to a steady supply of ammo - not to mention a rather large placement of explosives.

In addition to being a dab hand with a pistol, the eponymous gunslinger also has a few skills to draw on, which are unlocked and upgraded via a skill tree. In addition to health upgrades and improved reload speeds, talents include the ability to dual wield and slow down time (named 'concentration mode').

Bullets that pose particular danger can be dodged at the last second with a move referred to as 'Sense of Death', giving players a brief window of opportunity to dodge left or right as the bullet flies by. There's also an auto-aim ability, which can be used to target and take out groups of enemies during daring escapes.

'Call of Juarez: Gunslinger' screenshot

© Ubisoft



Famous faces

Before long, the gunslinger runs into both Billy the Kid and Pat Garret. Both are introduced in classic comic book fashion, complete with a few choice words describing their strengths and summing up their notoriety.

Without giving too much away, the development team hint at a later level in which the Kid goes from friend to foe, though in the early stages you're very much at his beck and call. Your encounter with Billy sees you grab a rifle and target groups of enemies from a top floor window, moving between openings as required. Before long, it's out to the stable to grab a carriage and make an escape.

Outside and within smelling distance of freshly-laid horse manure, the gunslinger comes face-to-face with Garret. Ending on something of a cliffhanger, the scene is set for a duel. After all, it wouldn't be a Western without a one-on-one gunfight.


After the disappointment of The Cartel, a digital download is a smart way for the development team to reignite the interest of fans without risking a flop at retail. From what we've seen so far, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger looks like it will be a fun arcade shooter packed with all of the conventions and clichés associated with the old West.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger will be released on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN and PC in early 2013.

You May Like

Comments

Loading...