Call of Juarez (3 stars)

XBOX 360/PC

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Call of Juarez

When you think about famous gunfights you don’t really tend to picture war or futuristic alien combat or even urban crime. So why do most first person shooters concentrate on these genres? Are not the most revered lead slingers, the sharpest of open bladed razor-sharp sharpshooters all from Westerns? Yet the cowboy FPS is as rare as a bad Sergio Leone Western. Call of Juarez tries so very hard to make up for this omission, but, despite some genuinely novel ideas, it never quite persuades you that this is a time and a place worth visiting.

It starts well enough, introducing a fantastic leading character in the Reverend Ray, before beginning to unravel an involved story about a young runaway called Billy whom the Reverend is pursuing. Flitting between these two characters, the gameplay swings between running, jumping and sneaking with the lightweight Billy, to glorious gunplay with the Reverend. But the two halves never quite add up. The storytelling lets it down, and, combined with some pretty sucky enemies, the whole seems less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps there is a reason why the lone gunman is alone. (Iain Davidson)

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