Techland is traveling back to a time before boundaries, laws and the scathing reviews of Call of Juarez: The Cartel. The Old West is once again the backdrop for the developer's latest first-person shooter, Call of Juarez Gunslinger, which should hit Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC in early 2013.
Juarez the last game veered off course and into a contemporary urban setting, Gunslinger makes a returning run past backwater saloons, crusty spittoons and the "untold stories" of a few notorious gunmen. Your own accomplishments, as described by an unreliable narrator throughout the game, intersect with "Wanted" poster boys Billy the Kid, Jesse James and Pat Garrett, amongst others.
An early build of Call of Juarez Gunslinger gave us a good grasp of Techland's approach, which seems cognizant of what Bound in Blood (widely considered the best game in the series) got right. Shooting is stylish, frantic, and constantly rewarded by spurts of blood and points. These numerical rewards are funneled into a set of skill upgrades, which improve your gun-twirling prowess in diverse ways. Acquire the right abilities and you'll extend your bullet-time bravado, decrease your reloading times and make perfect headshots mid-air.
Such incredible maneuvers must be hell on your back, though. You can't bend down and pick up a fallen enemy's gun until you purchase that skill.