Average User Score: 8.2Jun 5, 2013Other western games may better capture the great importance of the American West, but pure, outrageous western gunfights have never been moreOther western games may better capture the great importance of the American West, but pure, outrageous western gunfights have never been more thrilling and satisfying than they are in Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. Let's hope this marks a new direction for the franchise and not yet another let down in its ever more schizophrenic history.
The story is presented as a mere flashback, with Silas Greaves, the bounty hunter, recounting his achievements across the American west as he holds court at a local saloon. At any moment though, the story might change as Greaves recalls something he forgot to mention or a listener gives him hard time for one supposed “fact” or another.
When it comes to game-play, you might be finding yourself fending off an Apache ambush in the middle of a hunt for fleeing bandits, only for someone to ask why there are suddenly Native Americans in the mix. Greaves then recounts and explains, “No, they ambushed me like they were Apaches,” at which point the scene changes as your attackers suddenly transform into outlaws.
This happens repeatedly throughout Gunslinger. The environment transforms itself right in front of the player, and an confined space could suddenly have an exit that Greaves forgot to mention. At one point, your path leads to a deadly encounter with the end of a speeding mine cart, complete with a Game Over screen that quickly disappears as the game rewinds while Greaves explains how stupid it would have been to take that particular path.
The unusual story progression does put a nice twist on what would otherwise be a linear FPS. Gunslinger embraces a much more ambitious look than past Call of Juarez games. Vibrant colored textures that heavily emphasize shadows to the unique look of Gearbox Software’s Borderlands games, but the overall feel falls closer to that of a graphic novel.
players also have the option of playing around with either Duel or Arcade modes. Duel is a boss rush mode that pits you against key enemies from the story in a quickdraw arena. The quickdraw mini-game however is a weak element in Gunslinger, with players needing to juggle a pair of meters by twiddling the left and right thumb sticks. It’s a solution to an aspect of Wild West lore that doesn’t entirely translate into good nor entertaining game-play.
Arcade mode though offers much more in the way of replay value, with breaking the story’s intense combat moments up into a chain of discrete encounters. You can simply max out a single skill tree in the course of one play-through, but you can’t go much further than that. Arcade acknowledges this with a “loadout” selection at the start of each challenge.
This is without any doubt a fresh and original take on what most would call an ailing franchise, and it’s a game that is worth investing a handful of hours in if you’re a FPS fan. It may not reinvent the FPS, but Silas Greaves’ payable tall tale tweaks formulas just enough to provide a memorable experience. However Techland unfortunately is in the position of having to redeem itself after the horrific misstep that was 2011′s Call of Juarez: The Cartel and 2013's Dead Island: Riptide. Gunslinger puts the tobacco spitting series back on track with an almost arcade experience and a visual twist you could only ever get if Borderlands screwed Red Dead Redemption, got pregnant and then gave birth to one genocidal child.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Apr 19, 2013The demand of Age of Empires II: HD Edition is promptly apparent. After all, the original Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings and its expansion areThe demand of Age of Empires II: HD Edition is promptly apparent. After all, the original Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings and its expansion are so admired that there is still a rich modding and multiplayer community devoted to the game. This is quite an impressive feat for a real-time strategy game that came out just over a decade ago, notably when you consider that the official multiplayer matchmaking service was shut down years ago. An HD version of AOEII with simpler multiplayer matchmaking and mod support (Steam's servers and Steam Workshop) is a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, Hidden Path's HD edition of Ensemble Studios' beloved RTS suffers from a wide range of bugs and missed opportunities.
The fast-paced-game-play has you abusing natural resources, constructing beautiful wonders and intimidating castles, and advancing from the Dark Ages to the much more dignified-sounding Imperial Age. Along the way, you can use the old fashion tried-and-true-favorite formula (pointy sticks kill horses, villagers kill sheep, and so on) to evict other players from the map. There is a lot of depth and variety in AOEII:HD, because all of the 18 playable nations have unique bonuses, units, and tech trees. For example, The Korean guard tower and keep upgrades are free, Turks employ astonishing gun-powder units early on, and the Huns do not require houses to support their population.
Though we cannot forget about the randomly generated and real-world maps to play on, as well as several game modes, including a laid-back game type where the first player to complete a wonder wins. Because of the various ways to achieve victory conditions and diverse powers for each nation, there are many ways to play, and excel, in Age of Empires II HD. Though, Hidden Path missed several opportunities to better AOEII's game-play. You cannot give move-attack orders; dragging a box over a crowd of units selects both villagers and troops; and it's hopeless to queue up a mixture of units and research at the same building. Not to mention AI path-finding also needs some work. For instance, villagers ordered to travel to a mining camp located in plain sight 200 yards away over open country may decide to take a scenic route through a forest populated by hungry wolfs. These are examples of flaws that could have been resolved and fixed, but increasing the maximum population limit from 200 to 500 is the only notice able change made interms of game-play.
It’s only been a week since the game was released and there are already a decent amount of texture packs, gameplay tweaks, and plenty of other goodies. In almost the same way that Skyrim took my investment of 100 hours and magically grew that to something in the neighborhood of 400, the Workshop for AOEII:HD is an amazing bonus. And, combined with access to multiplayer via Steam, it's really the only addition the game needs.
Though, while a little frustrating if you’re not into tons of micro-management, Age of Empires II HD with the Workshop and updated multiplayer features is an commendable title. The brilliance of the game’s design is still there, you just might need to look past its age to see it.… Expand