Call of Juarez
Ubisoft takes on the western genre.
Xbox 360, PC
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Call of Juarez is a game of twos. There's the obvious part, the bifurcated story, which jumps between the two main characters as you work your way through the 15-odd missions that comprise the singleplayer experience. And then there are the playing styles, similarly divided, which disrupt the consistent quality and keep the game from being great.
The game starts with Billy Candle, a young man returning to his home after being on the run for two years, a journey prompted by worsening relations with his stepfather. Early in the game Billy is falsely accused of murder and it's as second character Reverend Ray - who just happens to be the brother of Billy's stepfather - that you spend the alternating sections of the game, giving chase to the fugitive.
"The action is smooth, the justice delivered is satisfying."
That impression is strengthened by the dismal quality of some of the levels that cast you as Billy. Either they're too long, too boring, too difficult or just too damn confusing for you to care. You see, Billy, despite being the one accused of murder, isn't much of a killer. So you spend his sections of the game avoiding enemies or navigating the meandering levels.
One particular grating example is an early level set at night, when Billy is trying to sneak into a mine. He has to creep around in the bushes, avoiding scores of enemies, as he tries to make it to the entrance. It's a full stealth mission with no room for error, since once you're spotted there's no chance of recovery. Needless to say, I was spotted - a lot.