Call of Juarez- XBOX 360

3 Dec

Mack Flavelle
Almost a year ago I wrote a paper with Andrew Myers about the failings of Cowboy video games.

At that time the FPS Call of Juarez was announced and some screen shots were available. Those pictures looked great and on top of that the game was Published by Ubisoft, though developed by a polish company Techland. We were both excited about the possibilities.

This weekend I finally got a chance to test the game. The opening moments are a first person sequence where you are manning a wagon mounted machine gun and you just pull the trigger and point. Lots of bullets and lots of yelling.

Not a bad start.

Early in the game a lot of narrative is introduced and a lot of characters are met. Oddly this is done with a wall of text accompanied by voice overs during the load screen. Some how it doesn’t feel like a natural way to internalize the history in such a “next generation” game.

The other thing that caught my attention right of the bat was that Ubisoft hasn’t allowed for the brutalizing of corpses or killing of innocents and animals. Should you break the rules the game restarts you at the last check point as if you had died. It felt a little weird I have to admit but I commended their courage in making a moral choice in the ultra violent world of modern shooters.

Unfortunately that was the last time I was impressed. This is a poor execution of a high action game. When enemies are firing behind me and I come to a tree branch to “Indiana” across a gap the last thing I want to do is stop, edge forward, check my feet against the cliff edge and then look up to try and find the sweet spot for whip swinging. The action game takes action to a grinding stop.

On top of that I found the shooting to lack luster. Though they made noble attempts at realism with rusty guns that suffer from decay the truth is I want guns to blast people away with not feel overwhelmed and cowardly.

In all honesty I rented it for a week so I’ll give it another try but I’m not sitting at school longing for the controller.

I’ll let you know if there’s an update worth hearing.

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3 Responses to “Call of Juarez- XBOX 360”

  1. Nick December 4, 2007 at 10:35 pm #

    The day they make a good Western game is the day they smarten up and get some more Clint Eastwood in there.

  2. Christopher December 6, 2007 at 12:27 am #

    I’m very disappointed with the attempts at the western genre in games. It has indeed been extremely lackluster, even in the big attempts to create such a game.

    Really, perhaps, the fault comes in keeping it anchored in the FPS genre. You really can’t keep some of the granted FPS elements if you hope to maintain the spaghetti western feel. Until some folks learn that there’s some things you just can’t keep from FPS (overwhelming enemies and a large variety of weapons – Clint Eastwood NEVER used more than his revolver and maybe a COUPLE of shots from his rifle) then they’ll continue to flounder. FPS gamers are just inherently drawn to modern/future settings as well. Not a great recipe for western to dig its heels into.

  3. McElroy Flavelle December 6, 2007 at 4:51 am #

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that one Chris.

    Anybody know of a good cowboy game not locked in the FPS genre? And I don’t mean some steam punk madness but good old fashioned old west grittiness? I could see an RPG maybe…

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