Hello everyone. I decided to write a review of this game because I enjoy it so much, I would like to not only support the game but to explain to anyone reading this how good it is, so that maybe you too will have as much fun as me.
I have a few issues with one of the reviews I read earlier, which I will try to address too. Someone said you can't use the whip to grab hold of stuff. That person is mistaken I'm afraid, because you spend a good part of the game using your whip, and you can whip and attach onto tree branches or wooden beams etc.. You can then swing on the whip, or pull yourself up. By the way.... The first few chapters, reminded me A LOT of Indiana Jones. You have a bunch of swinging on the whip parts which is very Indy, but there is also a few chase parts in a little coal cart thingy on rail tracks - JUST like Indiana Jones. It is so much fun, and basically this game is atleast 2 times more cinematic and fun and movie like, than any other game I've ever played. But first, its very important to mention this. I am playing the game on a C2D E6600, 2gig of ram, an Geforce 8800GTX, and a decent SATA hard disk. So its important to note that although I think the game runs extremely well, I have no doubt that it will struggle on slower PC's. You can change the graphics options obviously, so I'm sure that would help a lot. But there are load times which take about 30 seconds to a minute on my PC. On a slower PC, I suspect they would take a long time, and that will annoy some people I'm sure. But for me, its quick so that helps my enjoyment of the game.
But the main thing I want to mention is the game itself. First off, the graphics are superb. I am surprised to see a couple of comments here and there, about how the graphics weren't especially well done in some places. There are maybe a couple of objects here and there which aren't perfect, but on the whole the graphics are amazing. Again, bear in mind that I'm running at maximum settings and its very smooth, so that helps things. But several times during the game, I've actually stopped and just gawped at the graphics in joy at how good they are. There are very few games that look as good as this. The only other first person type games I've played which are in the same kind of league, are ES4: Oblivion, and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. Halflife2 and a few other games come quite close too I suppose, but Call of Juarez is a step above them and more modern.
Infact, there where several times when I thought, "wow, this feels like an early taste of Crysis". Its not AS good obviously, but its not far off. Again, in some places its not amazing, but mostly it looks awesome, in my opinion atleast. I have just finished playing another game too, called Might + Magic: Dark Messiah. That was a good game, but the graphics disappointed me a bit in that game, so coming to Call of Juarez straight from that game, is a real joy. This is why I bought this PC and this graphics card - to be treated with graphics like this.
Anyway, on to the gameplay. There are 6 key areas to mention. The first 2 are typical, but the rest are new features:
1) STORY: To stop this going on forever, I will simply say about the story, its one of the better ones I've experienced in FPS. Theres no aliens or science gone wrong/chernobyl explosions etc, or mad wizards on the loose etc.. here. Its a wild west story so its all very down to earth. I just love it because its quite simple and easy to follow, but its a good story. I basically feel like I am part of a movie, like a Clint Eastwood movie.
2) THE RUNNING AND GUNNING - TRADITIONAL FPS TYPE GAMEPLAY: Its not a whole lot different to other games, but its up there with the best FPS's. Head shots kill someone instantly, and body shots take a few hits to drop someone. So its realistic like other good modern FPS's (Rainbow 6 / Halflife 2 - etc). But what needs special mention is this.... This is the BEST FPS I have played, in terms of feeling like I'm actually shooting someone. Theres no heads exploding bodies like Doom3 etc... And theres no lack of blood like SWAT etc.. Its basically perfect and makes me feel like I actually shot someone. Hope I dont sound lick a sicko, but really I have never felt like this in a FPS before. Usually I know im just killing AI characters. But in this game, their hat flies off if you shoot them in the head. They run and take cover behind anything nearby. They sometimes run away. They sometimes run at you. They clutch their wounds when they die. The gun recoils nicely and the sound effects are great. I basically feel like I'm in the wild west and I'm Clint Eastwood etc.. Its very realistic and satisfying.
3) FIST FIGHTING: At a few points in the game, you get to fist fight with people. Its a real nice change from shooting people (not that you ever crave a change.. but having it is just a bonus). The fighting isn't very intricate, and could have been better, but it doesn't really need to be seeing as its only a small part of the game. But even so, its very realistic and very satisfying. Infact, its as good or better than most boxing games I've played. There is only a left straight jab, a right hook, and a left uppercut, so its nothing to get too excited about. But it actually feels like im beating someone up. Your first punch knocks their hat off and they come at you all annoyed... A few more punches and you bloody their face up. If you miss or are slow, you take a few punches which isn't nice. But if you throw a bunch of punches which land, its really quite satisfying with a good fist to face sound. It just seemed like a nice feature, and when you compare it to other FPS's which let you punch - and basically all you get is a fist jerking back and forth... Call of Juarez is a league above them.
4) TWO WEAPON SHOOTING: This is probably my favourate part of the game. When you have a hand gun in each hand, you can shoot normally like in other FPS's. Actually, you can even go into Quickfire Mode, where he holds his hand above a single gun, and reloads it really fast - Wild West style, so you can fire really fast. But when you have a gun in each hand, you can holster the weapons. After a moment, a little concentration icon appears, and you can then draw both weapons and it goes into slow motion mode (like bullet time from The Matrix / Max Payne / etc). Although thats not very original, its done very well. But what is original, is that you get 2 cursors representing both weapons, and you can basically take out different targets with each weapon. It takes a little practice, but its a lot of fun when you figure it out, and its just a really nice feature in this game.
5) DUEL: At a few points in the game, you have to do a pistols at dawn, 10 paces, type duel thingy. Like the fist fighting, its nothing to really write home about, but its still a nice feature which breaks up the gameplay a bit and gives you a little change of pace and a little bit of something else to do - if only for a moment. The way that works is pretty good too, and its well done.
6) STEALTH: I saw people mentioning that the stealth wasn't that great. Well its not exactly Splinter Cell or something, but when you consider that its a FPS, with a bunch of other new features... I think the stealth aspect is plenty good enough. Infact, its not really much different to most of the other games which feature stealth. (Oblivion, etc..). Basically if you are in the dark, you can't be seen. If its light, you have to hide in bushes. If you crouch and walk you can't be heard. And if you keep out of a character's line of sight, you cant be seen. What more do you want? It COULD be a bit more advanced I suppose, but its serves its purpose very well I think. You can sneak up on people and shoot them or whip them in the head etc.. And you can avoid detection in the first place, or even evade enemies by hiding and sneaking around etc. The only thing which isn't really perfect in my opinion, is that sometimes a character will spot you clear as day as you are standing right infront of them, and you can quickly duck into a bush, and they will lose track of you and ignore you. You hear the typical, 'My mind is playing tricks on me - or I drank too much whiskey today - or whatever'. But its serves its purpose and achieves it about as well as most other FPS's which have stealth.
Closing 2 points:
1) The first level isn't that great - but its by no means bad. Its basically a stage where you have to sneak out of town stealthily. Its not perfect, but its really not bad at all... You crouch and sneak around, and learn to lean to watch the bad guys to make sure you make your move when their backs are turned etc... You jump in and out of windows and basically avoid detection. Its not really any different to something like the Hitman series of games. So I am surprised to see a couple of people disappointed with it. The only thing I can think of, is that its a little difficult, and its not an action packed start so doesn't really draw people into the game as well as it could have done. But the level itself isn't bad at all, and I actually enjoyed it. Another way of looking at it too... is that it actually builds up some tension, and makes getting the weapons even more satisfying. (It doesn't even take that long until the action and shooting builds up too - so its not like it drags on either.)
2) This is the best game I've ever played in terms of feeling like I'm part of a movie. There was a whole decade or so.... (the 90's), when this was the primary objective of a lot of game developers. They realised graphics and sound where getting better, so they wanted to offer a, "YOU are the star of this movie!" type of game. Very few of them did an ok job. There was a few games like Myst which had nice graphics, but because they where so ahead of their time.... it was done in a slide show. So you couldn't actually walk around or anything like we are used to in FPS's. And there where some games which did quite well like Under a Killing Moon etc. But basically, at one point, it seemed like everyone wanted to make a very cinematic game, which has a story and characters as good as a movie, but YOU are actually the star - and instead of sitting back and just watching what happens... YOU actually get to do everything. THIS game is the best at that, out of any game I'v ever played. Lots of other games are almost as good. Halflife 2 for example, was pretty much the same thing. I felt like I was the star of a wierd sci-fi action movie. And lots of other games are similar. But Call of Juarez is the best at this - in my opinion atleast. The graphics and sound are so good, and the character graphics and animations are so good it, just helps you keep feeling like you are in the game world/movie experience, and doesn't keep reminding you that you are just playing a game. In other words, it helps your "suspension of disbelief", probably better than anything I've ever played.
I basically feel like I am the star in a wild west movie, and thats why I wanted to write this review, because I'm sure there are other people out there who would enjoy this as much as I am, and I hope they do.
P.S. Obviously its not the ideal game for everyone. If you ONLY like FPS's with tanks for example, or sci-fi elements, then this isn't that type of game. And its not as action packed as say... Unreal Tournament or something. But its a different type of game, and although Unreal Tourny is one of my favorite games ever, I love a story driven shooter which is a bit more realistic and with a few twists. This is one of the better games available like that. I would maybe mark it down to an 8 out of 10 if I was still using my older PC, but because it runs so well on my new PC, I have to review what I see, so there it is. Also - I hope people support this game, because perhaps that will allow them to make a sequel. That may even allow them to flesh out the fist fighting and a few other elements. Its an awesome game as it is... but if there was a sequel with even more advanced versions of these new features (fist fighting, two weapon shooting, etc..), it could end up being one of the most popular and best FPS's available.
9 / 10