Lately, it has been hard for me to find a game to keep me engaged, and sometimes I just open them just to close them again. I recently purchased a bundle on the Switch Store that included the tenth anniversary edition of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and also Dying Light: Definitive Edition. As much as I wanted to revisit Dying Light, I would have needed to use my dock which was not hooked up. So, I started up Call of Juarez: Gunslinger to play as a bounty hunter in the Wild West.
I have never played any of the titles in the Call of Juarez series before, so this was a new experience. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger starts with old bounty hunter Silas Greaves (played by the late John Cygan) walking into a saloon. Greaves begins to talk about his hunt for Roscoe “Bob” Bryant. Greaves weaves a story that has players facing down Billy the Kid in Kansas. This was my first introduction to what would be some of the best gameplay I’ve seen in a first-person shooter in quite some time. While it’s true that this is not a modern open world type shooter, being able to concentrate just on the shooting mechanics was a surprisingly welcome turn.
You start out with a revolver and shoot your way inside the house Billy the Kid is holed up in. Each of the three types of weapons (revolver, rifle, and shotgun) are equipped with iron sights only. This makes developing your aiming skills important for a successful run of the game. As you level up you can get better versions of the weapons, but all will still have iron sights only. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger takes you on a trip with almost every Wild West legend.
Because this title is a port from 2013, it shows its age graphically. Sometimes the enemies get lost in the brush or background. I played it on the Switch in handheld mode, which compressed the screen. The last full level with the ghosts was especially challenging from a graphics standpoint. Despite the dated graphics, the gameplay was not affected too severely. I like how the gameplay is framed around Silas’ story. So new areas would open up as he remembered parts of the story.
The dialogue for Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is incredible and drags you into the story. There were fun, sarcastic moments like when one of the people listening starts snoring during the mission. So Greaves started talking about how Native Americans attacked him. The guy, named Steve, woke up and asked, “There were Apaches there?” Greaves responds, “No, I just wanted to make sure you were listening.”
The gameplay is more arcade shooting than Call of Duty. Although you can slow down time, it is not for very long and recharges as you kill enemies. It becomes a valuable tool as opposed to a crutch like in F.E.A.R. 2. There are duels as well, which take some time to get used to but are a lot of fun to take part in. Call of Juarez: Gunslinger was so engaging that I beat it on all three difficulties. It’s not a very long game, maybe about eight to ten hours per difficulty.
I haven’t been hooked on a title this much since XCOM 2 released. There is a new game plus mode that allows you to continue upgrading your weapons. Additionally, there are two endings in the finale of the last chapter. Call Of Juarez: Gunslinger is on the Nintendo Switch Store for $13.99 (it is also available on Steam for the PC) and is recommended to be added to any shooters shopping list.