Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Hands-On Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood box art
System: PS3, X360, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Techland 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Ubisoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 9, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-12 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
McCalling All Bandits and Lawmen
by Adam Brown

May 19, 2009 - Every fan of the original Call of Juarez probably already knows what to expect from Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood’s single player experience (if not check out our previous preview). Of course, but what will folks who purchase the game have left to play once they’ve already run through the campaign a few times?

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood screenshot

It looks like the answer to this question is going to be a pretty solid and interesting online offering. We recently had a chance to check out Bound in Blood at a multiplayer event held by Ubisoft and what we played was definitely enjoyable and left us pining for more.

The first mode we were able to try out was called Wild West Legends. This mode pits a team of bandits against a team of lawmen in a variety of situations, each with their own sets of objectives to complete in order to achieve victory. We started out on the bandit side needing to break into a bank, blow up the safe, dynamite our way into the town’s horse stables, and then quickly gallop our way out of town. However, the lawmen had other ideas as they attempted to best us at every turn by defending the sites that needed bombed, covering the streets between objectives for easy kills, and even blowing holes in us or our horses as we tried to hightail it out of town with our pilfered cash. Each objective comes with its own time limit, so things can get pretty hectic as the seconds tick away while trying to complete a task in order to get more time.

Conversely, while on the lawmen side of these matches, all you need to do to win is stop the bandits long enough for their timer to expire. We got our chance to be on the right side of the law during the next match, which was played on a map that directly contrasted the city backdrop used in the previous round. Here, in the middle of the woods with a lake at the center, we were tasked with defending safes located in several different buildings scattered about the map. There were a couple close calls, but for the most part things went well for our team, at least until the showers of dynamite began to rain down upon us.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood screenshot

Potentially, one of the best things about Bound in Blood’s multiplayer offering is the slew of different character classes the player will be able to choose from. The game will start out with five selectable classes including gunslinger, miner, rifleman, sniper, and native. As you play, you’ll be able to unlock eight more classes consisting of scout, trapper, gunsmith, hombre, spy, officer, duelist, and veteran. Each class has its own strengths, weaknesses, and weapon load-outs. For example, natives are incredibly fast and can kill any enemy with one well-placed arrow from their bow, but it takes awhile to reload and you have no other weapons. Similarly, miners have very limited weaponry but spawn with a satchel full of dynamite, with the entire team spawning as this class creating the dynamite showers I previously referred to.

Each of the five unlocked classes seemed to be well balanced, with none feeling inherently more powerful than the others. Instead, it just seemed as though they all catered to different play styles. Whenever you die in Bound in Blood’s multiplayer you’ll have the chance to switch between classes, allowing for an element of strategy, since you can pick the best class for each situation. This lull between spawns will also allow for players to upgrade their favorite classes. Each kill and completed objective will net you some cash that can be used to improve your characters, although these upgrades will only be permanent if purchased while playing in ranked matches. Any and all upgrades earned outside of ranked matches will only last until the end of the match during which they were purchased.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood screenshot

While at this event, we were also able to try out a couple other team-based multiplayer modes which were called Posse and Manhunt. Posse mode closely resembles your standard team deathmatch mode but with a unique twist. Instead of winning when your team hits a certain number of kills, your team will need to attain a high enough bounty. This mode makes use of the game’s bounty system, which rewards players for getting multiple kills in a row before dying and for killing other players with a high bounty. Manhunt mode was fairly interesting and played like a variant of a VIP mode. In Manhunt, a player on one team is randomly selected to become wanted. This wanted character needs to survive sixty seconds in order to score a point for their team, but if killed, he’ll transfer the wanted mantle to someone on the opposing team. We were a part of several interesting situations where we were charging in to try to finish the other team’s wanted character, only to become wanted the moment we showed up to the gunfight and then quickly turning and running for cover.

The other two modes that round out Bound in Blood’s multiplayer offering weren’t playable at this event, as they aren’t team-focused. Shootout is exactly like Posse, although you will be on your own without the aid of teammates’ bounty scores. Similarly, Wanted is just like Manhunt except that it becomes the wanted character against the world with no one to help protect them from adversaries.

All the modes we had a chance to play were fun and felt natural to the setting. We would have liked a chance to try the other two modes, but since they are essentially just non-team versions of the modes we already checked out, we’re pretty confident they’ll be just as enjoyable as the other three. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how the class-unlocking and upgrading works when the game is released at the end of June, but it seems like a great way to cater to several different play styles while also adding longevity to the multiplayer experience.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor

Game Features:

  • Become a Gunslinger: Harness a variety of weapons from various revolvers to heavy-caliber cannons and machine guns. Every accurate shot increases concentration, which allows players to unleash deadly shooting modes when outnumbered and even deadlier ones when the brothers work together.
  • Dual Collaborative Gameplay: Players choose to embody Ray or Thomas, each with a distinctive gameplay style (close or long range), specific abilities (lasso, dynamite, etc.) and arsenal of deadly weapons (dual guns, long-range carbine, etc.). Take advantage of each of their strengths and join in the fiercest fights imaginable.
  • Never Before Seen Western Experience: Experience the iconic settings full of outlaws – the West before it was tamed. The McCall brothers face a renegade Apache Chief, a greedy Mexican bandit, a vindictive Colonel, and others, all driven by greed with moral disregard. Enjoy a wide variety of situations, using horses, canoes and wagons to explore the vast natural landscapes of the fabled Wild West and its legendary period.
  • Innovative Online Multiplayer: Developed in unison with the single player mode, multiplayer offers numerous modes and maps, resulting in endless hours of Wild West mayhem. Gunslingers, bandits and marshals struggle online for the bounty. Multiple characters are unlocked for team-based objective modes or the straightforward team death match. With a new Bounty system, players increase the bounty on their head with more kills. Get rid of the deadliest among you to increase your bank roll.

  • Screenshots / Images
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