[Games That Nobody Plays Anymore is a weekly series written by Nathan Hardisty with a little title card help from Juan Houter. It’s an on-going series about the forgotten games of yesteryear, and doesn’t totally reflect the title. Remember; nobody stops playing these games; it’s just a title. Don’t make something of it or I will come down to your house and ask you politely to stop. If you have any suggestions for future titles to ‘GTNPA’ don’t forget to leave me a comment!]
Are you feelin’ lucky, punk?
Games That Nobody Plays Anymore is back, bigger and better than ever. A new format, new rules and back with a bang. For the rest of May, you’ll be knee deep in the Wild West. To celebrate the release of Red Dead Redemption, every game that nobody plays anymore will be a Western. Expect some surprises thrown in for good measure. Next week you’ll see the perfect companion to the Red Dead Redemption review. Check back here on the Nation on Monday for more details.
Call of Juarez. I played this pile o’ Western back in the ol’ country, or rather, my friends house. Given my obsession with everything niche, me and the Westerner fit perfectly together like peas in a pod. Me and my partner played it until the crack o’ dawn. Actually, that’s all an entire lie, I have no friends. I walk alone in these here Western videogames. You see, all videogames are the perfect westerner. They deserve to just have a little time to seep into you, until you’re ready to go back out and call out a couple of rustlers to a few stand-offs. Horrible, horrible metaphor but roll with it. Call of Juarez.
As you’ve already noticed, I’m massively offtopic and to be precise; there’s nothing that wrong with Juarez. The shooting is okay, slow-motion is okay, there’s no real complaints. Okay, here’s one, the Western elements are a bit downplayed. There’s no epic music and the weaponry is out of league of the period. There’s no giant conflict between the new revolution and the old ways of the west, which I personally think is what brings out the best in the west. That little period of shaky time when machinery and inventions were infecting the old barren lands and renovating them into prospering little worlds. All in between the construction, there was the West, a giant heap of people who roamed from town to town and did all Westerny things. You know, they don’t even need to be described.
Combat is fine. I’m reminded of the Darkness to be honest, given that your character (you can pick from two) can lean around corners with his weapons. It’s a first person shooter with third-person elements. The slow motion is kind of useless, given that you have to save it up over time until you can blow your slow loads all into everyone’s faces. No wait, Western metaphor, you have to wait until them here rustlers git to the end of the field before you can tail them heap o’ horses. Or something. I’m English, not American, deal with it.
I don’t like the characters and I’m very disinterested in the story. It’s been a while since I played the game and I’m not sure whether the cutscenes are skippable or not. It’s kind of pointless when you have an okay core game, but an awful story, and you want to just flash your narrative bling in everyone’s saloon. Saloon! Western vocabulary, I am a poet of the west. There’s a few set pieces here and there where Ray and Thomas (the two boys you can play as) shout out exploitive words and act like 12 year olds for a few minutes. There was one time I was exploding these barrels, see, and Ray was yelling a swear word over an over again. I thought it was an audio-bug, it wasn’t, he was running around firing his gun at the sky.
There’s the problem with this game. It bills itself as ‘non-linear’ when rather it’s just a giant barren landscape with a few bits to take and sell, it points you in the direction of linear gameplay. That’s not ‘big epic free-roam’, that’s just ‘sandbox kinda’. At least let me attack them here gangs from a different angle other than OVER THE FENCE, THROUGH THE DOOR, GET TO THE OTHER SIDE. It’s rather displeasing to hear the whole character of the West hasn’t been put to work. The icons, the saloons, the absolute melting pot of character isn’t here.
This isn’t a Westerner, this is a linear title trapped in an open world trapped in a barren landscape that’s pretending it’s a Westerner. Get out of my face and bring back the West, keep your nice little combat niches and that gorgeous little graphics engine you got going on there.
Next week: Now that would be telling now, wouldn’t it be partner? Don’t count your eggs before they hatch or something… check back on this here Western Nation on Monday.