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Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

Brotherly love in the Wild West - wasn't there a movie a bit like that recently?

Why aren't there more decent cowboy shooters? That's the question that the OXM team has been scratching its collective head about for the last month, and then two trundle along at once. The first Call of Juarez should have been a great cowboy game - it had jailbreaks, train robberies and ladies of loose morals to consort with.

Unfortunately it also had graphics ropier than a hangman's noose, shonky physics and dreadful AI.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood aims to make good these numerous flaws in a story that acts as a prequel to the original game.

Once again, the game follows the story of two characters, only this time they are far more closely associated. Not only will these two Civil War deserters be charging around the Wild West together on a shared search for hidden treasure, but they're also related by blood - blood that's likely to boil when a saucy seņorita threatens to come between them.

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Each brother will play slightly differently. The elder bro, Ray McCall, is more suited to close combat and revolver play while Thomas is handier with a rifle, bow and arrow or at throwing knives. Our immediate assumption was that we could expect an Army of Two-style collaborative co-op experience, but actually co-op is off the table, something we'd urge Techland and Ubisoft to reconsider in this era of brilliant social shooters.

Still, if the promises of a rich and varied Western landscape ring true, then your quest across Civil War-era America should be an interesting one.

Apparently the brothers McCall will have run-ins with Mexican Bandit Kings, Apache War Chiefs and an enraged Confederate Colonel in what is being touted as a darker, more involved storyline. To what level will the brothers' relationship deteriorate, and how far will they push their bitter rivalry once things break down?

While we're keen on the idea of a great gunslinging game, and these initial shots look pretty enough, we're still a little wary about Juarez simply because the original was such a disappointment.

We're also sad to hear that a shooter that's firmly built on the collaborative efforts of two players isn't going to boast co-op play throughout the campaign. Techland protests that its competitive multiplayer will make up for the hole, but we're not too sure.

With Red Dead Redemption incoming, let's just hope Juarez's second outing is more Wild West than Mild West.

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