Hey, this is the cowboy game everyone is talking about, right? Hello and welcome to a new ranking. This one will be going over the Call of Juarez series. As always, this blog right here is the explanation while the rank itself can be found here. Also, if anyone was wondering, I am playing all of these on PC. So with that out of the way, let’s get into this first yee-haw game.
Somewhere out in the town of Juarez, there is a secret cursed Mayan treasure. You play as Billie Candle, a troublemaker who was off to go find the treasure, but failed. After returning to his home town, he gets himself in trouble and finds himself running home, only to find his parents have been killed. Then, you take the perspective of Ray Mcall, a fiery preacher who is the brother of Candle’s stepfather and is constantly plagued by his not-so-christian past. He finds Billie near the bodies and blames him for the murders. What follows is a cat-and-mouse chase between Billie and Ray that ultimately ends where it began for the two: Juarez.
When it comes to the story aspect, I actually quite liked it. The exposition is neat, the story and characters are interesting, and I love how you constantly change perspective between the two. One mission, you play as Billie, and the next you play as Ray. This character shift allows the story to be seen through two different eyes, which I thought was the highlight of the story aspects. One thing I thought would be neat is if the (supposed) cursed treasure actually cursed all of the townsfolk and everyone around you, making them want to kill you. It would be a better explanation than just ‘the townsfolk are mad because I don’t know and now they want to kill you.’ Still, I think the story that plays out, while not anything memorable, still plays out well for the kind of game it is.
The kind of game this is brings us to gameplay. This game gameplay-wise is very…meh. Some things about the gameplay are great, and some things about the gameplay aren’t. The highlight of the gameplay is the same as the highlight of the story: the characters. Not only do they serve as a difference in perspective, they also serve as a difference in gameplay. Billie can mantle, use a whip to swing from place-to-place, can use a bow-and-arrow, and can stealth. Ray on the other hand wears a metal chest plate which reduces damage, can alt-fire revolvers (putting your hand over the hammer and shoot faster), can go into a bullet time mode, and can read from the bible (which I guess scares dudes). Because of these changes, the gameplay never got repetitive. What also kept the gameplay from being repetitive were some of the breaks it took from shooting dudes. Occasionally, Billie will find himself either in a parkour section or a stealth section. While these two mission types aren’t spectacular, they also weren’t terrible and ultimately were a nice shift from being a shooting gallery.
On top of those things, I found some of the character-specific items and abilities to be a lot of fun. While I never used the bible and I think the slow-mo shot wasn’t great, I found Ray’s ability to fast-shoot a revolver to be a lot of fun. I am not a fan of dual-wielding weapons, which is why having this ability was a blast to use. When it comes to Billie, I had issues with the whip (mainly when it came to swinging around place), but the bow-and-arrow was a blast. Drawing back the bow slows down time, which I found a lot of fun. Other than that, the one other positive thing that comes to mind is the ending, while basic, was still good.
Some aspects of this game made the experience a lot of fun, but some were also very burdensome. For starters, the game always had black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. It is super annoying, and I am pretty sure there is a fix, but I eventually got used to it and moved on. One thing that was hard to get used to though was the game’s clunky controls. Controls felt very mechanical and hard to use, which also didn’t go well for some of the character abilities such as the whip. Mantling, whip swinging, shooting, and more just didn’t feel great. What also didn’t feel great were duels. Occasionally, a duel will happen, but they were terrible. You have to pull down on the mouse, which didn’t work half of the time, then pull up to control a floaty reticle and shoot dudes in slow motion. Dueling should’ve been the best part of the game, but it ends up being one of the worst.
The game gives you the ability to pick up small boxes and whatnot. While it is cool at first, trying to pick up a weapon only to pick up a box happened multiple times and it got annoying. Speaking of weapons, they actually degrade. All you simply do is pick one up off of the ground and keep going, but that meant breaking the guns I wanted to use and being forced to pick up ones I may not want. Auto saves are too spaced out, which ultimately made me manually save. Finally, the game can prove to be rather buggy, and I did have a few crashes. In the end, I think the gameplay definitely has some flaws, and it ended with me having an okay time with the gameplay.
Call of Juarez also offers multiplayer, which nobody was in. If the other games offer multiplayer as well, then I will probably ignore them too.
In conclusion, I think Call of Juarez is an okay game. While I think it has a neat story and cool gameplay mechanics like changing perspective, I think its clunky controls, bugs, and duels keeps the game from being great. This game will be first on the list because, well, it’s the only game on the list as of now. But I predict that by the end of this, it will end up in either the third or the fourth spot. Let’s hope the next games are better experiences.