Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Multiplayer Hands-On
Written Tuesday, May 19, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
The original Call of Juarez title that graced our consoles back in 2007 was a unique title. Not unique in the sense that it was a wild-west shooter because we all know that’s been done before. It was unique in the sense that, it was effectively a greatly received PC port by players and critics alike, and that doesn’t happen too often. With the prequel, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, a matter of months away, things are definitely different this time around. With Techland creating the title for all the HD platforms simultaneously this time, expectations are elevated, especially if it wants to hold its own in a year where we see Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption join the wild-west race.
On what can only be described as a dreary afternoon in good ol’ London town, the biggest and brightest of the UK gaming sites crammed around a wall of LCD TV’s in a suitably authentic Mexican establishment to duke it out on the playing fields of the latest Juarez title. In our fairly extensive hands on we got to give Bound in Blood’s latest multiplayer mode a run for its money by getting to grips with its traditional deathmatch mode but probably more importantly, its authentic raid-the-safe style objective based game.
First off, it’s important to put Bound in Blood’s multiplayer aspect in context before we run you through it. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill shooter and at no point can you say it tries to be. There is no doubt it’ll only really appeal to a fairly niche audience but everything about the mode is an authentic western experience, and a damn good one at that. From the look and feel of the title, right the way down to its objectives and pacing, everything seems to be right on the money. It’s essentially a different take on the traditional genre.
In the build we managed to get our mits on, there were five different modes and eight different maps to choose from but that could likely change between now and the release. Of the maps we experienced for deathmatch, the fact that your character isn’t that much of a quicker runner (even using the left bumper for sprint) meant that they always seemed to be quiet … a little too quiet. You could hear the bullets of your foes echoing through the deserted wooden cabins around you as your foes dispatched one another but the sheer size of the maps and lack of speed of your character actually left you pining for some action. Once you got into the action however, the controls, weapons and whole setting really comes to into its own. It definitely places a different emphasis on play style as it sacrifices the frantic multiplayer gameplay that many games rely on and replaces it for a more pragmatic and logical experience where you actually have to outsmart your foes rather than jump the gun. Simple actions like reloading because the animation is authentically elongated, have to be done tactically and at the right time otherwise it’s goodnight sweetheart.
Part of outsmarting your foes will come with what class you so wish to adopt to take onto the field. In all, there are 13 classes, each with its distinct advantages and disadvantages. If you wanted to use the “miner” class, you could make use of the sticks of dynamite and a short range sawn-off shotgun; the “hombre” class gave you two dual shotguns which were absolutely devastating at close range; the “officer” (and one of the favoured classes amongst the troops) took advantage of two middle distance pistols; and the list goes on. If you fancy a stealth approach, you could make use of the native that uses a silent one shot kill bow and arrow, although it’s that hard to fire, it’s relatively useless ... but it was fun for a minute. Don’t worry if you don’t get on with a class either, you can simply change it up between deaths or at the beginning of the battle.
Our favourite of the modes was easily the bandits-storm-the-bank-and-skip-town scenario that pits two teams against each other in a classic western cliché. The one team, the local law enforcements, must hold off the other team, the bandits, around various strategic points situated around the map, whether it’s the bank in the centre of town, or a certain gold deposit. If the bandits take over that strategic point, then the local law enforcements must drop back to defend the next point. If the time runs out, the sheriffs win, and if the bandits get out of town, then ... well, they win ... duh. It’s proper Western stuff this ... authentic in every aspect and a great mode to get stuck into and lose a few hours.
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood will be available in North America and Europe on June 29th and July 3rd respectively.