Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood Demo Shootybangs

By John Walker on August 14th, 2009 at 12:09 pm.

Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood was released just over a month ago, but finally a demo has appeared. Declaring itself to be a truncated version of a full level, it gives a taste of the game’s core mechanics: the Concentration mode bullet time, the cover system, and a duel to test your quickdraw hand.

This is one of those cases where a demo does a wealth of explaining about the game. At first the game feels like trying to drag a fifteen foot oar through a lake of soup, the controls seemingly berserk. And then it all slots into place and begins to make sense. Combat is a combination of traditional FPS shooting (and when holding pistols in both hands, forcing your brain to remember to fire the right hand weapon), until you’ve killed enough baddies to trigger Concentration. This is a form of bullet time where you target simply by waving the reticule over any enemies visible from your standing position to cover them in targets, and then pressing go. It auto fires for all the targets you laid out, and you get to watch in pleasure. There’s also a more confusing (and interesting) version where you have two reticules, one for each weapon, and aim with both at the same time, which is surprisingly taxing and fun.

The shootout at the end is interesting too. Your mouse controls your arm, letting you waggle it about as you cautiously sidestep, keeping your opponent in view. When the bell tolls, grab your gun and fire. It’s tricky and pleasingly tactile.

For some more in-depth impressions of the game, have a look at Jim’s report on sitting down with the game a short while ago. And to get it for yourself, head here or here, or pick it up on Steam.

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49 Comments »

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  1. Ansob. says:

    Is it just me, or does this look like a disturbing trend in the making (or possibly already made)? I remember a time when demos were released ahead of or at the same time as the game itself so that people could make up their mind about whether or not they’d like to buy said game; nowadays, it seems any game with marketing department will try to sell as much as possible on hype, and the demo only comes along when the sales start to slump.

    Anyway, regarding this particular demo: Bound in Blood looked quite neat to me, but I’d be more interested in its multiplayer than its single player. Presumably the demo does nothing to showcase the former?

  2. Heliocentric says:

    Game has less bible. 3/10

  3. Howard says:

    I really could not get into this game and I just don’t get why it is getting the glowing reviews it seems to be hip deep in. Admittedly most of those are on console but even so. I’m not saying its actively bad, it just…well…like I say, I don’t know why I don’t like it, it just left me utterly cold.

  4. Alec Meer says:

    I was also surprised this was as tolerated as it was. Dry times, I guess.

  5. Dr Gonzo says:

    What!? How could you not like this game? It’s got great mechanics, I love the cover system and it’s not effing space marines or Call of bloody Duty.

  6. the affront says:

    Didn’t like it much either – it wasn’t BAD, but didn’t break through the “ok-ish” region.
    Also the whole shootout mechanic was utterly stupid when played with a mouse, in my opinion. I felt lucky I could adjust mouse sensitivity with a button on the mouse and just jacked it up to the max for the shootouts so I wouldn’t have to row my whole arm across the pad fifteen times per shootout because the fucker couldn’t keep his damned hand still. Really, REALLY got on my nerves.
    Horse physics kind of sucked, too.. they should have stolen physics from Mount & Blade to give it a feeling of mass, as it was your horse felt utterly devoid of inertia and thus not like a horse at all.

    And did it really have less bible spouting fanaticism than the first which I never played? Their little brother already pissed me off hardcore as it was in this one… good thing I never played the first then, I guess.

  7. Pavel says:

    First one was awesome and I am looking forward to this one, but I will wait till its 15 pounds..

  8. Nighthood says:

    Christ, I seem to be one of the few people that really enjoyed this game. I thought the storyline and graphics were really well made and thought out, and the gameplay was great fun too. I can see why some people thought it got repetitive, but it was just so much fun at each setpiece that I just got over that.

  9. neems says:

    @affront – in the first CoJ (Call of Juty? Badum tsh!), when you were playing as Ray you could hold a gun in one hand and a bible in the other, simultaneously shooting people in the face and preaching at them, mostly fire and brimstone stuff.

    Supposedly it disoriented your enemies or something (presumably in the ‘this guys a complete nutter, leg it’ sense, or possibly in a ‘Jehovah’s Witness with Guns’ kind of way).

    I must confess I am enjoying Bound In Blood – the cover system works pretty well, and I find the guns very satisfying. I even enjoy the multiplayer – sadly it is implemented very badly. No dedicated servers, a lack of options for the host etc etc. But a decent host can really make you feel like you’re embroiled in an old timey bullet fest.

    Best bet is to try the demo and see what you think.

  10. nill says:

    Eew, cover system in a PC FPS.

  11. Vaynes says:

    @Ansob – We played multiplayer during lunch at work for about a week after this came out. Every day we’d say it was a complete abomination of level design but would still find that we’d log back on the next day for some more of the same.

    The main problem with it was the spawn points, (we mostly played the Wild West Legends mode, the DM/TDM modes don’t compare at all to other shooters) you’d occasionaly find that once an objective had been completed that you’d suddenly be standing right in the middle of the opponents spawn. Not fun for either team.

    At other times the defenders would spwn right behind the wall you had to blow through, letting them climb on top and pick you off from range before you got near or that the defenders spawned without any cover at all next to the attacker objectives.

    Lots of spawn/die/spawn/die going on but we’d still go back for more. It’s fun but you feel really dirty for enjoying it.

    We’ve got back to RSV2 and COD/MW, might give it another go once some modders make some new levels but I wouldn’t be too hopeful.

    Never tried the single player btw.

  12. Heliocentric says:

    The bible is properly demonstrated in the demo of the first game. They want to shoot you, but you are quoting the bible so thoughts of morality and fear of retribution slow them.

    Then you pop them in the face. How do you take a feature like that out of a series?

  13. innokenti says:

    The cover system is actually really really good. It doesn’t break immersion by taking you into a 3rd person view suddenly and annoyingly, and it lets you quite intuitively duck in and out and move about and shoot the suckers out there.

    Less Bible than in the first game, but absolutely no less fun for it.

    As for the shootouts – it took a little bit to get used to them, but after the 2nd or 3rd guy, I wasn’t having any problems with my mouse.

    Go for it guys.

  14. Howard says:

    @DR GOnzo et al

    Having just fired it up again I realise why I could not place what exactly I did not like about it: I hated every single thing about it. The controls were sub par (consolified), the graphics were really very shoddy, the scripting and voice acting was (if we are generous) a bit naff and the pacing and layout of the “maps” seemed at least 10 years old.
    Beyond that the actual mechanics were dreadful. Everything from the cover system to the shooting to the reloading to the “horse riding (don’t make me laugh) was just so tacky and felt incredibly low budget.

    There is not one single likeable thing about it in my eyes. Not actively awful but nothing there to capture my imagination for even a second. Generic, mainstream, 360-generation pap personified

  15. Zyrxil says:

    What the fuck? The graphics are about as good as you can get for a DX9 game. The difference between the first game and BiB is absolutely staggering, and it runs on the same hardware. The Cover system is as natural and fluid as a cover system can get. Ray’s voice acting is absolutely excellent, Thomas OK, the rest fairly standard for a video game. The Layout of the maps? It’s 75% open, not corridors.

  16. postmanX3 says:

    Already own the game.

    Worth the purchase, in my humble opinion.

  17. Vasagi says:

    red dead revolver on the xbox was pretty niffty

  18. LionsPhil says:

    What Heliocentric said. Quoting damnation then shooting people in the face was made of pure brilliance. Very odd omission; character-development-driven, in that Ray is not yet enough of a preacher?

  19. Schadenfreude says:

    Well I loved it to bits; preferred the first one though. Think I was in the minority of folks who enjoyed the sneaking (and the catharsis of then blowing everyone up with Ray).

    Alec wrote:

    I was also surprised this was as tolerated as it was. Dry times, I guess.

    Heh. This is the second Polish game who’s success has been put down to “dry times” by RPS. Those Pole’s sure know a thing or two about optimal release windows :D

  20. Berrmud says:

    I liked the first one but this..errh, too much auto-aim, ugly (ie brown/gray) graphics, and the gameplay just isn’t as fun as I recall it being in the original CoJ.

  21. Howard says:

    @Bermud
    Oh yeah, forgot to mention the auto-aim. That alone is instant dismissal as console pap right there.

    FWIW the first one was actually better and, certainly with the DX10 patch, had MUCH better graphics. This one looks very rough and badly textured throughout, its 360 heritage shinning through…

  22. Nick says:

    As far as I know he is still in his gun fighter days which he quit to become a preacher, thus no bible.

  23. Ansob. says:

    Vaynes: ta for the information; I’ll probably pass until it drops to 15-20€, although I have to say that neems’ comment about the lack of dedicated servers is what is putting me off the most (more than spawn issues, although I’m sure those would get on my nerves about five minutes in).

    And on the topic of R6V2, I wish the online portion of the game were more satisfying. Bad netcode and no dedicated servers at all make for a poor multiplayer experience (and the game is pretty ugly, even with everything on high).

  24. LionsPhil says:

    Nick: Shame. Justified, but shame.

    Also, how, how do you leave off co-op in this? How?

  25. Spectre-7 says:

    You can turn the auto-aim off. Take a look in the options.

  26. Heliocentric says:

    Coop would make the scene where one of you dies by the plot sucky. Not a spoiler, just a guess.

  27. brulleks says:

    I was enjoying it up until the duel, which was absolutely awful. How they managed to make these even worse than the ones in the first game is beyond me.

    If, like me, you prefer to use an inverted mouselook for FPS games, it’s night on impossible – not to mention having to wait an age until you can actually draw the gun. At least in the first game they were over quickly.

    If there is an ever an option to turn duels off completely I might consider buying it when it drops to under a tenner. Until then, no sale.

  28. drygear says:

    I bought it a few days ago and am loving it. It’s great fun and I like the story. The cover system is brilliant. With the shootouts I was having a lot of trouble with the second and third and hating them, but during the third one it just clicked for me and I’ve been enjoying them ever since. They’re quite easy once you get used to them and they’re over quickly.

  29. Ratty says:

    Probably already mentioned, but Techland / Ubi are killing the MP side of this game with a lack of available dedicated server / anticheat.
    So far, you are reliant on no one modifying their config files, and then on people running ‘servers’ on their home PCs, along with all the speed / connection problems that throws up.

    They have been promising dediservers, Anti Cheat since before release, and a patch for the last month, but nothing has arrived yet except the cockup that was the console DLC

    Shame, the MP side has a lot of potential.

    Seems they rushed out the incomplete game just to try & beat RDR & Lead&Gold to the punchline.. sad

  30. Yougiedeggs says:

    Proof of consolification lies 100% in the awful weapon switching system, the dreaded wheel of confusion meant for a X-360 joystick.
    That, or mouse wheel up/down to cycle through the endless combinations of left/right hand weapons. I needed the rifle to take out a distant enemy, and the cycle was something like: two pistols, left pistol, right pistol, left dynamite right pistol, right dynamite left pistol, left dynamite, right dynamite, rifle. Whew.

    I still remember in CoJ, that the pistols were 1 and 2, rifle 3, bible 5. Even had a nice little reference bar at the bottom of the screen.
    If you have just one pistol out, can you fan it like in CoJ?

  31. A-Scale says:

    This game was tremendously good. The story was good, the voice acting was great, and the action was both frantic and fun. What more could you ask for?

  32. Spectre-7 says:

    Yougiedeggs: You can still use the numbers to switch weapons.

    1- First Pistol
    2 – Second Pistol
    3 – Both pistols
    4 – Rifle or shotgun
    5 – Dynamite and pistol

  33. neems says:

    Also, the mouse wheel works in both directions. The rifle is directly after dual wield pistols.

    I’ve been enjoying the MP tbh, could be so much better though. For a locally hosted game it works pretty well – I’ve also noticed that Techland have some servers up, although they don’t seem to be properly dedicated.

  34. Dodomaster says:

    This game is just plain awesome. There can’t be enough western shooters anyway!

  35. LionsPhil says:

    1GB download for 13 minutes of play? Yikes. And that’s with dying a couple of times (including being run down by a bulletproof horse), and quite a lot of disorientedly looking for the last guy so that I could move on.

    “The cover system is brilliant.” Agree; it caught once when I didn’t want it to, but that could have been level geometry. Much more natural than “velcro spine”, Yahtzee puts it.

    “I needed the rifle to take out a distant enemy, and the cycle was something like: two pistols, left pistol, right pistol, left dynamite right pistol, right dynamite left pistol, left dynamite, right dynamite, rifle.” Agreed. I pistoled pretty much the whole thing; I only used the shotgun once, and the dynamite once by accident while trying to get to it.

  36. Katsumoto says:

    “if, like me, you prefer to use an inverted mouselook for FPS games, it’s night on impossible – not to mention having to wait an age until you can actually draw the gun. At least in the first game they were over quickly.”

    Yeah I had that problem too, very aggravating!

    My opinions are that it seems fun enough, but the overwhelming feeling I had at the end of the demo was that I just wanted to install the original again, not get the full game of the sequel! The original CoJ was, well, my favourite game of 2006. I know that i’m probably in a small minority there, but it had everything. Gul Dukat’s voice acting was INCREDIBLE, the two different characters broke up the alternatve level’s pacing perfectly, etc etc. The menu music remains the best menu music in any game ever, imho. On these strengths alone, I will inevitably get the sequel soon, although this demo didn’t show as much of the charm of the original by any stretch.

  37. Katsumoto says:

    Here is the original CoJ menu music –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwrED1Y6Dd4

    See? Clearly the best thing ever to happen to you, ever.

  38. LionsPhil says:

    Katsumoto: Ooh, I dunno. Civ IV’s Baba Yetu is likewise epic. Deus Ex’s theme has only got better since Yahtzee gave it lyrics.

  39. LionsPhil says:

    Oh, and then there’s the Tanktics theme. DMA Design FTW. Sadly not on the tubes, although this unused oddity is.

  40. Pemptus says:

    I’ll just add my 5 Polish groszy. I liked the game very much. Sure, the horse physics suck donkey balls (which is baffling, frankly, I remember the first game doing it much better…or am I wrong?) and the shootouts are repetitive glorified quick time events. The rest is spot-on imho. The game’s all about the shooting and it’s done great. I’m a PC gamer 4 life, dawg, but I still liked the slight auto aiming you get with Ray, it’s just to show how he’s a superior gunslinger. As someone mentioned, you can turn this off in the options. As for the duels, all you really have to do is to pull the mouse to the left when the bell tolls – inverted mouse doesn’t cause any problems here.

    It’s not perfect by any means, but its most important features stand strong – the shootybang is immensely satisfying, the cover system feels natural for once (I haven’t used it much though – I’d say it’s optional on the medium difficulty) and I wanted to know how the story unfolds with each mission. Plus, it’s wild west. I was getting a bit bored of all the assault rifles and MP40s, weren’t you?

    Oh, and yeah, Ray’s not a preacher AT ALL yet, so the no-bible gameplay is very much justified.

  41. Pemptus says:

    I’m sorry, I just had a craving for spaghetti western music due to Katsumoto’s link and immediately thought of Outlaws. Nostalgic AND awesome.

  42. LionsPhil says:

    Ooh, ooh, Evil Genius. A game which was made out of truly awesome music (and overall styling).

    @Pemptus: Nice.

  43. Berrmud says:

    @Spectre-7: I don’t know what that option does, but it certainly doesn’t remove auto-aim. http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/9901090327/m/2541010187

  44. Rick says:

    Twas a fun game. Decent and immersive – though not brilliant – gameplay, best graphics that a DX9 game can produce, great characters propelled by good voice actors with many moments of sniggering at the occassionally funny yet serious script through a respectible post-Civil War story. Plus, use of the underused Western theme buys a small but satisfying amount of originality. The only disappointment I had was that you knew how the story ended due to it being a prequel.

    Gets my vote, its just a fun game.

  45. Nero says:

    Good thing I always browse through the options when I start a game to turn off the auto aim. I don’t want that crap in my PC game >:|.
    Anyway, the game was ok. The shootout with inverted mouse was very weird. Nothing I would pay much for though.

  46. Deuteronomy says:

    Howard doesn’t like this game? That probably means it’s awesome, I’m sold.

  47. Mika says:

    Played both PS3 and PC demos and I liked it. Although I usually prefer FPS games on PC but this I probably get on consoles, seemed to work much more fluidly on a gamepad for some reason.

  48. SpoonySeeker says:

    Note that although you can disable auto-aim in the demo you cannot do so in the full game; truly bizarre

  49. We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog says:

    I really like the idea of playing a western game right now but I heard CoJ was pretty “meh”. Can’t really justify the cost on a “meh” game right now :( Will hold off and get Arkham Aslyum or Wolfenstien.