Climb into the saddle of the new Wild West first-person shooter from Ubisoft.
Despite a plethora of Hollywood films to draw inspiration from and such iconic locations as Gettysburg and the O.K. Corral, few game developers have tried to recreate the American Civil War.
However, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is here to change that, bringing saloons, cattle rustling and six-shooters to PlayStation 3.
You control Ray and Thomas McCall, brothers and Confederate soldiers who desert the battlefield to save their family and home, to be seduced by the fabled Gold of Juarez. However, their former ally Barnaby is convinced that their desertion cost the Confederate army the war and is out for revenge.
Speaking to eu.playstation.com about why there are so few Wild West games, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood's Senior Producer Thomas Leroux-Hughon said: "Perhaps some people are put off because there are no modern weapons or soldiers, but I find that refreshing. In our game you get to ride horses and stagecoaches, you can blow up bridges with dynamite, break people from jail and lots more, so there's some nice, original stuff in there.
"It's a mature game that delves into the darker side of the Confederate struggle. The most interesting aspect of the story is the relationship between Ray, Thomas and Barnaby."
It's true that the game's plot is more than a simple tale of cowboys and Indians or heroes and villains; in a lawless and greedy society, everyone's main interests are getting rich and staying alive, and therefore almost every other character in the game will turn a gun on you at some point.
Even though the game is still in development, its graphics are shaping up very nicely. Environments are large and detailed, with small towns and Native American reservations scattered around and a beautiful landscape that stretches for miles. As the map opens up, transport becomes more important and you're able to ride horseback, steal stagecoaches and even paddle canoes to get to the next objective.
Cover is important during the tougher gunfights, as your primitive firearms carry few bullets and take time to reload, and walking up to any crate or wall allows you to stick to it and peek around the corner or over the top. Another way you can gain an edge on the enemy is by filling your character's Concentration meter. If you're controlling Ray, then the action will slow down and you can select enemies as long as they're in range. When the time runs out, you will unleash a flurry of bullets into the selected foes. If you're playing as Thomas, holding the R1 button and using the right stick like the hammer on a revolver dispatches crowds with ease. At times, you'll be able to activate co-operative Concentration mode, in which you control two targeting reticules, using the left stick and the right stick respectively, to clear a room.
Uniting the story and the gameplay are the missions, which are varied and make interesting use of the environments. In one, Thomas has to use a Gatling gun to pin back an endless stream of enemies crossing a bridge while Ray sneaks beneath them to plant dynamite, and there is another where you have to kill a gang of cattle rustlers, trying your best not to kill any valuable bulls in the crossfire.
Competitive multiplayer is set to be a big part of Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, although it wasn't available to play during this first look.
Ubisoft's development team has done what surprisingly few others have and brought the look and feel of classic spaghetti western films to PS3. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is dark, explosive epic in scale and definitely one to look out for in 2009.