Call of Jaurez: Bound in Blood Review

Call of Jaurez: Bound in the Blood is a prequel to Techland’s 2007 title; Call of Juarez. While the game doesn’t make it clear exactly how long it is before the original title, I’d say it’s roughly 20 years or so, maybe a little less. Call of Juarez was special due to how well it used DirectX 10. The game had a mixed reception due to some poor gameplay elements, but I personally enjoyed the game. The graphics of it still stand up well today. Bound in Blood was released at the end of June.

Good

Story: The story isn’t all that bad. It isn’t a great story, but it is compelling enough to keep you interested in what will happen next and how the next chapter will play out. For fans of the original title it will provide some good back story to the characters and explain what Ray meant when he talked about his past in it. I can say it is one of the rare times in the last few years that I really enjoyed the ending of a game. It played out well and explained everything it needed to. There were no major plot holes left unexplained, they wrapped up everything pretty well. The story was one of the few areas of the game that didn’t feel like they rushed to finish it.

Sound: The voice acting is mostly good, with the main cast doing a good job and only a few times where it seemed bad. The ambient sounds were pretty average, the sound track wasn’t special. The weapons all sounded good and like old weapons should. In a rare case, I have absolutely nothing to complain about with sound. Nothing about the sound design stands out as good or bad. I do consider this as a very good thing. I can easily get annoyed when it comes to sound in games, especially when it doesn’t mesh well. When everything in a game simply works I’m glad for that, even if it leaves me writing fluff in the sound section of a review.

Bad

Animations: The faces have an uncanny valley effect to them. They look good, but there is no animation to them beyond the mouth. It is very off-putting and I notice it every time the characters speak. The other issue is pop-in. You will see object on the land simply appear as you are walking across the open desert. I didn’t notice any textures popping in during cut-scenes or during interior scenes, only when outside.

Auto Aim: Whether you are using a controller or a mouse, you are going to have to deal with it. It wouldn’t be bad if it weren’t so noticeable. There were many times where I could see the cross-hair just move itself on to an enemy when it was close and it would follow a moving enemy for a short time. Not only is this annoying, it is very distracting when you are trying to aim at the head and those cross-hair tries to line itself up with the body.

Multiplayer: I don’t know who designed the netcode for Bound in Blood’s multiplayer, but they need to be fired. I have never had so much trouble just getting into a game. I’m glad that I didn’t do MP until after I beat the single player portion because it gave other owners a chance to figure out what was causing the problems. In the end the problem was traced to Hamachi’s virtual LAN device. In order to get that far there was another list of things I had to try. I have never seen Hamachi make it impossible to play a game online and it is rather poor coding on someone’s part. Thankfully, once I was able to play the game online I had had fun.

Taking cues from Call of Duty and many other multiplayer FPS of the day, you earn points (money) by playing games and use it to unlock characters and upgrades. Upgrades only last for the duration of the match. Every time you start a new match all of your upgrades are erased. The money used to unlock characters is gained based on performance in these matches. It does take a lot of money to unlock characters so when you are able to unlock them it feels like your achieved something. The characters that are already unlocked allow you to pick your play style. From the dual pistol wielding Gunslinger (no, his name isn’t Roland) to the bow using Native. My favorite class was the Rifleman; he is a nice mid-range fighter.

Conclusion:

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is not a great FPS, but it is not a bad one either. Like its predecessor it does a number of things wrong, but enough right for me to have fun playing it. There are more than enough little things with it that make me say that it feels like the game was meant for consoles. While I didn’t experience any technical glitches or bugs, the entire time it felt like I was playing a console FPS. It’s clear that Techland only put it on the PC at the last minute and did not bother to optimize the controls for the platform. The good news is that they did spend time optimizing the game’s performance. Not once did my FPS drop below 65, it was above 70 most of the time and would hit in the 100s on occasion and I ran it maxed out at 1920×1200.

Call of Jaurez: Bound in Blood Review by Derangel