Before they settled into the steady rhythm of being the Dying Light studio, Polish outfit Techland found their first real footing with the Call of Juarez series, a series of spaghetti-western inspired first-person shooters. While never perfect, they filled a niche that is still woefully under-served to this day. Worryingly, the games recently disappeared from digital storefronts, due to licensing issues with then-publisher Ubisoft. Today, the three not-terrible games in the series return to Steam.
It would seem that distribution rights to the series have reverted back to original developer Techland, with Ubisoft perhaps retaining control of risible modern-day spinoff Call of Juarez: The Cartel. Currently on sale now are the original perspective-switching Call of Juarez, the tonally confused but mechanically solid (it has a truly great first-person cover system) Bound In Blood, and the playful and scoring-focused Gunslinger.
If you’ve any interest in the series, critical analysis and the old American west as a whole, I highly recommend setting the time aside to watch Noah Gervais’ exhaustive 90-minute deconstruction of the entire series below. It’s an enlightening and thoughtful piece, and I feel I appreciate the series all the more for it. It also makes me glad I returned my rental copy of The Cartel after two hours of abject misery.
It’s surprising that aside from the upcoming Wild West Online (from the creators of the astonishingly bad The War Z) and Rockstar’s much-teased Red Dead Redemption 2, there’s still not much in the way of cowboy-related action headed our way. With the success of Westworld’s TV revival, you’d have thought that we’d at least have a few android cowboys to shoot by now, but all we’ve got is tumbleweed. At least we still have Juarez, eh?
Now back on Steam, you can pick up the original Call of Juarez for £8.69/$10, its sequel Bound in Blood for the same, and the short-but-sweet spinoff/revival Gunslinger for $10 once more, minus a current 33% discount.