|System: Xbox 360, PS3*, PC|
|Release: May 22, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Strong Language|
Like any good western, Gunslinger is chock-full of showdowns. There's even a Mexican standoff, which made me giggle a little. The dueling mechanic is reminiscent of Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, but it has been very well refined. During the duel, you'll use the thumbsticks to focus your aim and position your hand. It's a precarious, nitpicky process that's bound to end in your death—at least a few times.
The graphics, like I said, borrow heavily from another western-inspired video game: Borderlands. Techland has chosen to abandon the realistic style that The Cartel attempts to achieve in favor of a more artistic aesthetic. However, the style is a perfect fit for this particular story. Early in the campaign you learn that Greaves' celebrity is due, in part, to a series of dime store novels that contain illustrations of his exploits. The game itself echoes the artistic style of these novels. It's so meta.
From time to time, I did find myself becoming annoyed with the relative impossibility of the battles. Some of them rely heavily on your ability to remember enemy positions from a previous death and outshoot them on your second try. I'm a firm believer that memorization is for games like Mega Man and Myst, not first-person shooters that are meant to emulate a realistic gunfight.
Once you get past that, and the enemy AI's obvious stupidity, the game is a genuinely enjoyable experience. The storyline is short, but it’s quippy and compelling. Plus, you get the chance to duel some of the most famous gunfighters in history. And you probably won’t get another chance to tell your grandkids that you killed Jesse James.
Gunslinger is one of those games that doesn't feel like it's trying very hard, but you know that it is. The developers have obviously put a great deal of thought into this game, and it’s evident in almost every element. After being disappointed by The Cartel, I was understandably skeptical about Gunslinger's potential. But this game is infinitely better than Techland's previous titles in almost every way.
Date: May 23, 2013