Destructoid review: Call of Juarez



This'll be a very unconventional Destructoid review in nearly every way. Firstly, this review will only consist of one editor's views -- mine. The rest of our intrepid Destructoid editors are busy handling reviews of Shadowrun and Planet Puzzle League, which you can look forward to those later on in the week.

Secondly, this review will be very, very short. And not because I don't have a lot to say about Call of Juarez, but because I wrote a quasi-review three months ago and I wouldn't want to run the risk of repeating myself too much. If you choose to read my earlier review, you've pretty much got my (fairly verbose) impressions of what the game does well and what it does poorly. If you want a score and a concrete recommendation, you're currently in the right place.

Call of Juarez (previously available in Europe but released in the States this week for the PC and 360) is a mixed bag: on the one hand, the controls are sloppy, the levels too linear, the sneaking missions irritating, and the final boss battle underwhelming. On the other hand, the aesthetics are fantastic, the mission structure is insanely clever, and the way the game develops its characters through gameplay alone is -- quite honestly -- nothing short of genius.

Hit the jump for a score and stuff.

Again, I suggest that you read my earlier article on Juarez first; it's much more detailed than this review will be, so read it, come back, and we'll talk.

Basically, Call of Juarez is not for everyone. Don't like western games? You can live without playing this one. Demand tight controls and intelligent level design? You'll be disappointed. Unwilling to overlook some seriously glaring flaws for the sake of appreciated incredible methods of character and story development? You'll friggin' hate this game.

Call of Juarez has undeniable faults, but its strengths truly set it apart from other games. The dual protagonist system is a totally ingenious way of simultaneously creating satisfying gameplay experiences (sneak past a bunch of guards as Billy, then get the opportunity to slaughter them as Ray) and endearing a character to the player. You'll care for both Billy Candle and Reverend Ray, despite the fact that one tries to kill the other. You'll feel bizarre and appalled as you find yourself forced to pull the trigger on your alter-ego. If you're the sort of person who can look at this sort of unconventionally genius game design and forgive the drab levels and underwhelming control mechanics, then you'll absolutely adore Juarez.

Personally, I love the game to pieces, but I simultaneously can't pretend the game does not possess significant flaws. This presents a serious problem in assigning a numerical score: how does one quantify the effective character development, or the way gameplay mechanics perfectly mesh with story mechanics? Does the fact that I felt a twinge of guilt when I was asked to shoot Billy Candle make up for the fact that jumping and climbing is a clunky, irritating affair? In the end, I eventually decided to give the game an even score of 5/10 -- if you're a gamer that focuses more on the artistic and narrative aspects of videogaming, you'll adore this game. If you just want to play a well-constructed action game, you'll more than likely be pretty disappointed.

Final Score: 5.0

Verdict: Rent It!

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reviewed by Anthony Burch


Anthony Burch
Anthony BurchContributor   gamer profile

Lead writer of Borderlands 2, curator of  more + disclosures



Filed under... #PC #reviews #Xbox 360



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