The Good: Fantastic narrative that is fun and unique, tight gun play, great graphics, fun leveling system, varied environments, duels are fun
The Bad: May be too simple for some, can be a tad short, enemies repeat often
Call of Juarez has been a very rocky Wild West series. The first game was terrible, the second game was great, the third game was horrible, and the fourth game is great. Will the fifth game be horrible? Who knows. What I do know is that for $15 this is a very enjoyable shooter with a pretty good story and a narrative inspired by Bastion. You play as Silas Greaves, a "retired" bounty hunter who went after the most notorious outlaws in the west such as Jesse James, Kid Curry, The Dalton Brothers, and The Sundance Kid.
The story's cut scenes are told through black and white stills, but the narrative is really fun. If you have played Bastion you will know what I'm talking about. As you play the game it is being narrated as you go. Some times things will change right in front of you, on the fly, as Silas narrates his tales. Some times you will go through a whole section of a level, a bar patron will ask Silas if that really happened, then he will back up and correct himself. You then play that part again in a different way. It's really fun, and as you progress you start to question if Silas is really who he is or even telling the truth. The battles get more outlandish and even the patrons start questioning him. The story has a nice twist ending and I was hooked the whole time thanks to the tight gun play and fun story.
The game is very simple and basic at heart. You get four different weapons: Dynamite, pistols, shotguns, and rifles. There are a couple variations of them, but they shoot damn well and I have to say I haven't had this much fun in a shooter in a long time. While the enemies repeat often and it's the same shoot outs throughout the level -- the environments change often and the fun narrative keeps things mixed up so you are never bored. Every so often you will have a duel with a boss. You need to use the two analog sticks to control the focus on the enemy and the speed for your hand. It's tough to concentrate on two things at once but it makes it fun and a bit challenging. During shoot outs you can slow down time and highlight enemies in red. You also get a "last chance" by being able to dodge the bullet that would normally kill you. Push both sticks in the opposite direction to save yourself. These little elements are just fun and a bit different from your typical military shooter.
Some boss fights require you to hide and sneak around or use dynamite. There are also hidden secrets in the game that tell the real life tales and occurences of these real life outlaws and skirmishes. They are pretty interesting for anyone who likes some history in their game (Assassin's Creed fans!) That's all there really is to it. The game is simple yet a lot of fun. You can do challenge missions afterwards and a new game+ to continue with your leveled skills. There are three categories: Trapper/Melee, Long range, and short range. As you advance each section you unlock a special gun in that category and it makes the game both easier and more fun.
Overall, Gunslinger is a really fun game. There's not much wrong here other than it being bit simple for some people. The graphics are fantastic, the gun play is solid, and the narrative is a lot of fun and will keep you hooked to the end (I rarely put the controller down!) For $15 this is one of the best downloadable games you can buy this year. It may also be a good jumping in point for anyone who hasn't played a Call of Juarez game before.
(Review based on PC version)