Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Review
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is not your typical shooter, and not just because it's set in the Old West. A combination of a compelling story, a variety of play that includes gun duels, shootouts, and horseback pursuits, and a great Old West atmosphere make for some good gaming that's not your standard fare for the genre.
Bound in Blood is the tale of two brothers, Ray and Thomas McCall, which opens during the Civil War. The brothers fight for the Confederacy, and the war is starting to turn south for the South. When they hear that Union troops are on a slash and burn campaign and that the McCall estate is directly in their path, the brothers desert their unit to save home and family. In spite of their best efforts, the farm is devastated and the brothers head out west in an attempt to earn the gold that they need to rebuild … and they're determined to get that gold anyway they can.
Bound in Blood does not have a particular element that can be singled out as the reason the game is fun to play. In fact, if you look at some of its elements on their own they wouldn't necessarily stand up too well against those in other good games. Events are scripted, some sequences are on a rail, and the enemy AI is at best average. However, Bound in Blood succeeds as a game because its whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The developers have done a great job of taking these parts and creating a game that's as much an interactive story as it is a game - it's a spaghetti Western and you're the star.
One of the game's interesting features is that many of the missions can be played as Thomas or Ray, and your choice of character will have an effect on your play. Thomas is adept at long-range kills with his trusty rifle, is skilled with a bow, and is an expert at silent knife skills. He also carries a rope which he can use as a lasso to reach high places. Ray is more the "shoot now, ask questions later" type who dual-wields six-shooters and tosses sticks of dynamite as if they were grenades. He's also known for picking up and wielding the occasional Gatling gun. Both brothers can enter a concentration mode once they've racked up the requisite number of kills which is basically bullet-time for cowboys. With Thomas you flick the right stick as if you were working the hammer on a gun to take out multiple enemies in a short amount of time. With Ray it's maneuvering target reticules to "paint" multiple enemies for killing. The brothers always stick together, so now matter which one you choose the game will control the other. Sorry, no co-op mode, though.