This game ain’t big enough for the both of us
It's surprising that games developers have never really capitalised on the Western genre.
Sadly, there are few cowboy-based games out there. And the ones that do make it to the shelves tend to be disappointingly middle-of-the-road affairs.
One such missed opportunity was the original Call of Juarez. Released back in 2007 to a largely lukewarm reception, the first-person shooter had bags of atmosphere but suffered from some annoying flaws. As a result, we didn't have particularly high hopes for the second game in the series.
In fact, Bound in Blood improves on the first game in almost every area. For starters, it looks and sounds much better. The graphics are great and you can almost feel the grit in your teeth whenever the wind kicks up a dust cloud.
Gameplay was also much better. Most of the first game's irritations such as its frustrating stealth sections have been completely removed.
You play as one of two brothers: lasso-wielding Thomas or trigger-happy Ray. Most levels offer you the choice of playing as either sibling, which yields a few small but significant differences to the way the level plays out.
Things start off more Call of Duty than Call of Juarez, as you find yourself in Confederate trenches in the midst of all-out war. Once you are reunited with your brother, however, the game's true quest begins, sending you deep into Apache country in search of a fabled treasure.
The storyline, full of treachery, skullduggery and familial conflict, is actually pretty strong and moves the game along at a fair trot. Characters, too, are slightly deeper than you find in the average shooter and, as with the previous game, there is plenty of authenticity to the frontier feel.
Aside from a couple of brief 'open world' moments on horseback and regular quick-draw gunfights, the majority of the game plays out like a fairly straightforward first-person shooter. This is not a criticism, however. The single-player campaign is comparatively brief but never dull and offers plenty of gun-slinging action all the way.
It’s by no means perfect but, given the distinct lack of competition, Bound in Blood is quite easily the best Wild West game around.
Age rating: 16+
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Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is the best Wild West game around
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