Call Of Juarez was released a few years ago and was quite the success in the gaming community. As a wild west style FPS with an impressive engine it was used in many cases as a benchmarking utility for new graphics cards at the time. The follow up Bound In Blood is due for release this year and again has the same two character mechanic. We recently spent some time with a few of the levels which we found out is actually a prequel to the first title.
In Bound In Blood you can play as either Ray McCall or his brother Thomas and both characters have special abilities that they can use during combat. Depending on the level, sometimes you are forced to play as a specific character, but you can often choose which guy you want to take. Ray is a much stronger fighter and can absorb huge amounts of damage and has access to shotguns and dynamite which allows him to prove more efficient in close combat. Thomas takes a different approach to the game and is more proficient with rifles and pistols and carries knives which he can throw long distance to take out the enemy. This means really that depending on the character you decide to use that the levels will play very differently.
The graphics are very impressive and the dead bodies soon start piling up as both brothers are capable of disposing with a plethora of enemies. The story starts as the guys are soldiers in the Confederate Army at the Chattahoochee River and because of various threats to their family and territory after a series of battles, both brothers desert the army and go in a crusade to protect their land. Deserting the army obviously means they are not only battling the usual foes, but they are up against the Confederate soldiers who are after them for desertion. They wind their way down to Mexico to try and escape and this is where the action starts. Without going into too much detail as the levels are not completely finished yet I particularly liked the town full of hostiles and the brothers battle to make their way through it.
Killing enemy units will add a bullet to your concentration meter which gives an ability similar to the famous ‘bullet time’ meaning the brothers can take out multiple enemies in slow mo. To keep this from being overused, once you get enough kills you have a single minute to initiate the ability or you lose half of it immediately. This mechanic means you are not able to merely hog it until the middle of a large fight and abuse the ability. Interesting, both characters use this power in a slightly different way. Thomas fires heat seeking bullet fire which locks onto enemy close by and Ray goes into a berzerk style mode which allows him to fire a plethora of bullets to dispose of multiple enemies in a short time.
The AI to this point looks pretty good as the enemy will jump for cover and attempt to flank and take you out with long range rifle fire when possible. I even experienced a few guys throwing sticks of dynamite in my direction when they were suffering heavy casualties. Equally so, your character can take refuse behind an array of environmental objects, such as barrels, walls and boxes. You can aim around corners to use a system of suppression fire as well which can prove useful on specific cooperative levels.
Bound in Blood is not a fully open world system however there are some rewards in place for gamers who explore the surroundings more fully as they move from mission to mission. There are many weapons available in ammo boxes for example, as well as money bags which fall from enemy you kill. All of these little extras are tracked by the game code and at the end of every mission they are logged against the players statistics. The money you collect allows you to purchase new weapons and ammunition for the coming level which means you can enter an environment a little more prepared for the coming onslaught.
Our time with the game was limited but after playing a few of the environments, the game looks to be one of the hits of the year and we will have more coverage and a full review just before the release in June so stay tuned on GamingHeaven.
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