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Call of Juarez II: Bound in Blood by Schadenfreude 07/07/2009, 5:04pm PDT
You know when a sequel comes out that fixes a quirk or two you would've held against the original game, but then it ear-fucks half a dozen other aspects that used to work just fine? Be it the storytelling and the characters in Prince of Persia, the nature of the missions in System Shock, the atmosphere in Aliens Vs Predator, the, well, everything in Deus Ex --you name it, we see it all the time. It's like a sequel can't fix one thing without breaking three more. Like there was some law of nature or something on the subject.

But then along comes Call of Juarez II: Bound in Blood, which not only is solidly, unarguably superior to the first Call of Juarez in each and every aspect you can think of, it also has a sense of humor about it. Those who played the first one will probably cringe, in a sort of knee-jerk reaction, at the memory of those painful stealth levels --well, forget about them. Right off the bat, Bound in Blood shows both protagonists (a younger, not-yet-Reverend Ray and his brother) sneaking upon a bunch of bad guys, and then one of them says something like:

"So, you wanna do this quietly?"

To which the other one sneers and answers something like:

"Psh!" (*)

They both share a laugh, and next thing you know shots are getting fired, things bound to explode are getting exploded, bodies are getting ragdolled all over the place, you know, the works; and so it goes pretty much uninterruptedly throughout the next hours. The closest thing to stealth I saw so far was crawling through a cornfield so I could choose the perfect spot from which to gun down some yankee soldiers.

Other than throwing the stealth out the window, Bound in Blood brings a bunch of bullet-time-esque features to spice up the shooting, some being unique to each of the brothers (and all of them much better than the crappy "focus shooting" of the first game); a clever and surprisingly intuitive cover mechanic; the possibility to choose between either of the protagonists at the start of each level; and a graphics engine that's not only beautiful to look at (maybe not Crysis-beautiful, but she's quite the looker nonetheless), with some cool HOLY MOTHER OF FUCK!!! =O" moments (like, say, an explosion that sends an entire tree flying, Lost-style, right in front of your eyes), but also performs with beautifully smooth framerates(**).

Precious few titles justify spending the outageous full price on them, with this battered third-world economy of mine, but I guess the kid will have to go on a diet this month, honey; Bound in Blood is definitely a keeper.


(*) The "Psh" is, of course, (c) 2004 Leon Kennedy, all rights reserved and such.

(**) You probably don't care about this last bit, what with your First-World Supercomputers From Space, but I bring this up because Prototype and Ghostbusters sort of had convinced me that it was high time to upgrade my video card again, but now I regained my trust and I know I can go on blaming the programmers for their fucking lack of skills at optimizing their fucking games, the lazy fuckers.
Call of Juarez II: Bound in Blood by Schadenfreude 07/07/2009, 5:04pm PDT NEW
    Re: Call of Juarez II: Bound in Blood by Ice Cream Jonsey 07/08/2009, 9:05pm PDT NEW
    what was wrong with AVP2? by Weyoun Voidbringer 07/19/2009, 8:41pm PDT NEW
        AVP2 was good, but AVP1 was the real deal. by Eurotrash 07/20/2009, 12:35am PDT NEW
            I dunno I just can't imagine a marine campaign that doesn't involve flares NT by Weyoun Voidbringer 07/20/2009, 8:23am PDT NEW
            You mean with those stupid sprite graphics? NT by Creexuls, a monster >:3 07/20/2009, 8:47am PDT NEW
                I saw the Jaguar AvP reference dropped 20 times in an AvP 3 thread =( NT by Worm 07/20/2009, 9:55am PDT NEW
            AVP2L gameplay., AVP1: atmosphere by FABIO 07/20/2009, 4:04pm PDT NEW
    A blurry unfun chore. Negative. NT by Last 08/10/2009, 3:23pm PDT NEW
        It didn't blur for me, crashed my computer hourly, but didn't blur. NT by Worm 08/10/2009, 3:31pm PDT NEW
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