26 November 2011

Born to be Wild

Get back to where you once belonged.

When I heard that the next Call of Juarez would likely return to the wild, wild west, I was not surprised.  In fact, I was more surprised that the latest entry, The Cartel, was set in modern day LA.  In retrospect, this deviation from the series (along with a few others) was actually quite disastrous.  It wasn't long ago that Red Dead Redemption brought Westerns to the forefront of videogames.  A year later and another Western could have recaptured an audience itching to get back in the saddle again.  Instead, Ubisoft released another modern-day shooter into a world already weary of modern-day shooters.

The frustrating thing is that it really wouldn't have taken much to change Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood from a faint curiosity to a must-play title.  The critical consensus was that Call of Juarez seemed like it was designed to be a co-operative shooter, only to have that feature cruelly stripped away from it (presumably due to time constraints).  Now, I don't know how true or practical that even is, but the fact that they jumped from no co-op at all to three-player co-op in its sequel seems rather ludicrous.  The series has traditionally revolved around three characters, but prior to this has only ever featured two during gameplay (which I think makes perfect sense).

The other consensus view was that the game's authentic western feel was its greatest asset.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that Call of Juarez: The Cartel seems to have overcomplicated a rather simple equation for improving upon its predecessor:

Western + Shooter + Co-op = WINNER!

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