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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Techland

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

June 30, 2009

 

 

- Good story

- Great presentation, especially the showdowns

- Being able to play as two different characters

 

 

- Seems like the game was tailor made for two player co-op but it’s absent

- Cover system doesn’t always work properly

 

 

Review: Mad Dog McCree: Gunslinger Pack (Wii)

Review: Gun (360)

Review: Resident Evil 5 (360)

 

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Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

Tales of the American Wild West swing between scenes of bucolic living and community building (Little House on the Prairie) to epic gunfights every day at noon and continual stage coach robberies (Unforgiven, Back to the Future: Part III), but it seems that the more violent side has been embraced by most of the world.  Justice with a bullet has obscured the less sexy messages of hard work to eek out an existence, which is too bad because there’s something to that particular message that jibes with the “American Dream.”

 

call of juarez bound in blood          call of juarez bound in blood

 

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood attempts to put the two together with a focus on family, betrayal, honor, sacrifice, and showdowns in the street.  Playing as Civil War deserters Thomas and Ray, the story moves from the war-torn American

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South into Mexico as the brothers attempt to locate the Lost Treasure of Cortez to rebuild their ruined estate.  As most quests to secure lost treasures go, things get complicated when they run afoul of Apaches, a woman, their crazed Colonel, and a Mexican outlaw named Juarez.

 

The full, though compact, length of the story plays out in fewer

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than 7 hours, but it makes Bound in Blood stronger because there’s no attempt to draw out the proceedings.

 

Some of the one-off set pieces – particularly the optional ones found in the “Free World” sections not connected to the main story line – are awesome.  Forests, canyons, caves, mines, dusty wooden towns – the way developer Techland has textured and painted these areas completely jibes with how the American West looks like and feels in my own imagination. Maybe the outlaws had less dynamite and shooting accurately while on horseback is nigh impossible, but the fact it takes a long time to reload any of the guns; the priest uses the word “Savages” to describe the Apaches; and the voices sound so authentically gravely and dusty that I found it hard not to begin another run through the game just to see how the story might be filled in a little bit more by playing as the other brother.

 

call of juarez bound in blood          call of juarez bound in blood

 

In the next few weeks I’ll be playing more of the multiplayer.  Honesty being the best policy, due to my Xbox Live account expiring while I was out of town last month, I’ve put in only enough time to say that Brothers in Blood has multiplayer.

 

The fact the game has multiplayer makes me wonder why there’s no option to play co-op through the story.  The only part when the brothers are separated is during one of the final levels, but even then both Ray and Thomas are involved in parallel events.  I think about how awesome it would be to have a buddy responsible for completely different objectives in a slightly different location that affects the outcome.  As it is, you play first as Thomas retrieving horses for a quick getaway then as Ray to bust out the third brother, William, to get the full picture.

 

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is one of those games that has “cult hit” written all over it – maybe it won’t hit critical mass with a general audience but those that appreciate a good shooter and a well-told story should be happy.  I’m in that camp for sure and I have no problem recommending Bound in Blood.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(August 21, 2009)

 

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