Call of Juarez – PC Preview
By: Andy Levine and Kurt Knudsen

Like the recently released title Gun, Call of Juarez is a first person shooter with an authentic western theme. Created by the Polish developers over at Techland, you can journey back into the Wild West where you need to stop riotous mobs, appease the Native Americans, and above everything else, have a quick draw. Although much about the plot still remains a mystery, from what we’ve seen so for Call of Juarez is shaping up to being a great gun slinging adventure.

In one of the levels we tried out, an angry mob took over the town of Hope and was wreaking havoc. After murdering the sheriff and harming his wife, it’s up to an ex-cowboy turned preacher to save the day. As he dusts off his dual six shooters and reminisces about his past, you’re given the objective to kill anyone else in the town that has a gun. Luckily, the main character has a great sense of aim and heightened reflexes, so being heavily outnumbered isn’t a major problem.

To start off, you have the ability to slow down time for a brief moment so you can pull off a few quick shots. To do this, you need to holster both of your guns and then press the fire button. At this point, two crosshairs will appear on the screen that turn red when they rollover an enemy. By pressing the respective mouse button (left mouse button to fire your left gun and right mouse button to fire your right gun) you can easily pick off targets one at a time. Eventually, the two crosshairs will overlap, giving you a few more seconds to aim freely before everything returns to the normal pace. It might take a little while until you can perform this heightened concentration act again, but when this move becomes available it can help you overcome devastating odds.

In addition, the main character can perform a bunch of other tasks that truly earn him the right to deem himself a cowboy. While dual wielding a variety of pistols is definitely a good start, later on new weapons such as rifles, dynamites, whips, and bows will become available. Each weapon has its own unique characteristics and its own special way to attack. For example, to fire a gun you simply need to click the LMB or RMB, but with a bow you must hold down LMB to zoom in and slow down time, and then pressing the RMB will fire. When using you a bow you need to lead your targets because it takes the arrows a little bit of time to reach their target, unlike guns. Also, this rugged cowboy is capable of leaning around boxes, zooming in on faraway targets, and he even knows how to ride a horse! Riding on the horse was an entertaining experience because you can really feel the speed of the horse increase as the gallops sound louder and louder. However, our horse and his master both died after we went flying down a mountain and collided with a rather large tree. As a whole, many different gameplay elements are going to be incorporated into the final version of Call of Juarez, so you can finally be able to live the life of a true outlaw.

Above everything else, Call of Juarez does a great job at creating an accurate western atmosphere. For instance, in the first level we were constantly weaving in and out of saloons, shooting at enemies in an old-fashioned jail, and mostly struggling to stay alive. Standing in the middle of a seemingly empty town with just the sound of the grass rustling in the wind was intimidating, and shortly thereafter the bombardment of gunfire told us that there were plenty of more baddies still alive. When riding on the horse, it was a beautiful sight to be rushing in a lush meadow with the sounds of nature resonating throughout the forest. Rather than being a simple run-and-gun first person shooter, this title creates different styles of gameplay that specifically fits your objectives, which works great because the life of a brawny westerner is never dull.

Overall, Call of Juarez is going to be a great FPS that will reach out to fans to a wide audience. Its diversified gameplay elements, intense shootouts, and its genuine western feel will all make it a game to be remembered. Slated for release in the near future, Call of Juarez is one game that definitely should not be overlooked by anyone looking for a distinguishable first person shooter.