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Errant Signal: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

By Shamus
on Sunday Jul 13, 2014
Filed under:
Video Games


Link (YouTube)

“It feels like we’re trying to move away from that gameplay / cuscene / gameplay / cutscene style of delivering story.”

YES! That sounds awesome. Rutskarn actually sold me on the game back when he was playing it. Months ago. But then I forgot about it.

Tragically, I missed getting the game when it was on super-deep discount at the latest Steam sale. And I have SO MANY new games right now that buying another one feels like game gluttony.

So, basically I’ve missed out on the game twice, and I’m running out of people I can blame that aren’t me.

My current playlist is: Dark Souls, Girls Like Robots, Stacking, Retro / Grade, Enslaved, Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Octodad: Dadliest Catch, and Droid Assault. Supposedly. I mean, obviously I’m not going to get to them all. And more games will come out while I’m working my way through the list. But I guess the point isn’t so much to play them all but see which ones win out and hold my attention.

Comments (59)

  1. fdgzd says:

    That’s a funny list of not writing Vampire the Masquerade – Bloodlines.

    Not that I’m pressuring you.

    • Bruno M. Torres says:

      I would recommend NOT buying the Steam version of Bloodlines. It crashes out of the box in newer systems. Steam’s Morrowind also has a lot of issues. But System Shock 2 runs perfectly. Weird.

  2. DaMage says:

    Well, geez….set aside 2 hours or so and get Octodad off that unplayed list. Such a great game that won’t take you long at all to play through.

  3. Artur CalDazar says:

    Dark Souls! Praise the, ehm, I mean…

    Rutskarn did a good job selling that game, hearing him talk about it on the Diecast is what lead to me getting it.

    • Sorites says:

      Which Diecast did he do that on?

      I’ve been working my way through the backlog, but I’m really tempted to jump ahead just to hear that.

    • Robyrt says:

      Seconded on Dark Souls. The learning curve is ridiculous, but the level design is like what you always wanted from an action game but were afraid to ask. Gorgeous views that aren’t straight from Tolkien? Secrets everywhere? A half-dozen different, viable weapons in the starting areas? Tense set pieces? Imaginative enemies around every corner? A storyline that respects your intelligence as a player? Don’t worry, From Software has your back.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    People keep praising gunslinger for its story,but they often keep overlooking the gameplay.And it is very solid,and varies from difficulty to difficulty.Without such fluid gameplay,the story wouldve dragged quite a bit,and wouldnt be nearly as fun to experience.

    • Zekiel says:

      Agreed. I thought it was a really solid shooter in spite of the fact that it had loads of characteristics that would normally concern me (QT events, corridor gameplay etc). The shooting was really nice, the narration was lovely and I think it really helped that I’d never played a Western game before.

      Warning: I found it had a few irritating difficulty spikes where you have to sneak up on people and chuck dynamite at them which veered into DIAS gameplay. On the other that may just be me being poor at that sort thing.

      So in summary: yes Shamus, play it and tell us what you think!

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        The thing about qt events and why they work in gunslinger but not in many other games,is that they are just optional stuff most of the time.If you get the sequence right,you get bonus points,but if you fail,you just have to do it the old fashioned way.So you dont just die mid cutscene because you mispressed a button,or because your hands werent on the keyboard.And thats how qt should work,not as an instant death,but merely as a bonus thing.

  5. Jokerman says:

    You could strike off Kingdoms of Amalur… it seems like they were striving for mediocrity, it almost revels in it.

    I mean, its fun enough…. the main story is not to bad, i think it would of worked better if it was structured like a bioware game (3 big quests, any order you like) rather than open world, where there is not a single satisfying side quest to be found.

    • Pigmess says:

      I found Amalur fun for a little while, then very repetitive. I enjoyed it for a couple hours, but found I didn’t want to play it through to the end.

      • Bubble181 says:

        Same. It’s fun, and the world, while not grabbing me right away, seemed fairly interesting. But the thought of another, oh, 80 to 200, hours of more of the exact same thing filled me more with dread than joy. It really was a singe player MMO.

        • Jeff Truelsen says:

          I’m one of the many people who get fatal errors in the tutorial section, so I guess I’m ?glad? to hear I’m not missing much.
          Still, I weep over what might have been.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        That’s the biggest problem with Amalur. It’s fun at first, but then it becomes such a chore.

        I recommend that should anyone want to play Amalur, they should not even bother with the side content, focusing only on the main story and possibly the faction quests.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Indeed,amalur has many fun concepts,but the world is just too large for them to carry it till the end.

          However,I do think that many of the things from amalur need to translate into other rpgs.Having the ability to completely respec your character is great,and should be seen more often,and the ability to turn every piece of equipment into components is also a must for any game that has crafting.

          • Joe Informatico says:

            Yeah, character class is one of those things that tends to get carried over from tabletop RPGs without thinking whether it’s the only way to do things.

            Classes make sense in a co-operative, team-based game like D&D or WOW. You want players to bring different yet complementary abilities to the table, so everyone feels useful without too much stepping on each others’ toes. But, if as the TES series shows us, “class” in a single-player RPG basically boils down to playstyle preferences, why not make classes and their attendant abilities a fluid thing?

        • Trix2000 says:

          Pretty much this. It has pretty good combat and class/leveling system, but it was hard sometimes for me to convince myself to do sidequests unless they were easy.

          I really liked the main quest, though… and the faction quests are pretty neat too.

        • Jokerman says:

          Even the side quests that had an interesting hook finished on such a wimper… You could resurrect someones entire family (example, that is not actually in the game)

          and all you would get at the end would be “Yep, thanks… here is 1000 gold, see ya.”

          Everything bar the main quest felt like such a waste of time and yea, a few of the factions were a waste of time (i quite liked the thieves guild, although an abilty i had broke the stealing mechanic… thankfully.)

      • Jeff says:

        It’s basically a single player MMO. It lacks the social aspect to make you go back to the grind.

  6. Disc says:

    I don’t know if it was designed for a controller or what, but the showdown system never really sat right with me. It just felt way too fiddly and unintuitive to try finetune the numbers so they’d keep going up and not suddenly drop down crazy fast and still trying to pay attention to the opponent. You can make it work, but there wasn’t really much satisfaction to it. It just felt like a pointless minigame between levels. Trying to figure out how to balance the Butch&Sundance standoff and still keep it “self-defence”, I just gave up after a few tired tries and stopped playing.

  7. krellen says:

    And yet, evidenced by your Twitter feed, what you are actually playing is Minecraft.

  8. Simplex says:

    Kingdoms of Amalur is a very long game, mostly because it is padded to oblivion with repeatable fedex quests.
    Call of Juarez is a relatively short (but fun) game and is made by a Polish developer Techland (also known from Dead Island series). I myself am Polish too so you can imagine what is my recommendation. Go play Gunslinger! :)

  9. MadTinkerer says:

    As the world’s most enthusiastic Rooms: The Main Building fan, I heartily recommend Rooms: The Main Building because ROOMS IS FINALLY OUT ON STEAM. Because forget all those other games and play Rooms instead.

    Remember the crazy Indie Singularity when Portal, Braid, World of Goo and a few others all happened at once, signalling the rise of high-quality original Indie games that could be sold to a mainstream audience via digital distribution? Rooms is a missing link from that time.

    Rooms started as a Korean student project (and there’s still some charmingly odd translation issues in the dialogue) and made it’s way to the Nintendo DS, where it was largely ignored, and Big Fish Games, where it drowned in a sea of PC Casual Clones. Somehow, I stumbled upon the B.F.G. website when Rooms was the featured game of the day, and bought it right away. And then B.F.G. was hacked and their client was used to install adware. B.F.G. fixed this promptly, but I was put off ever trying to install their client again. And Rooms (and some match 3 and hidden object clones I didn’t care about) was “trapped” behind a client I didn’t want to install. B.F.G. was never hacked again to my knowledge, but it doesn’t matter now because ROOMS IS ON STEAM!!!!!!

    Some have given the game a negative or mediocre review. I honestly have no idea what they are talking about. This game’s only weakness is the clunky point & click adventure interface, because they tried to add light adventure elements onto an interface clearly primarily designed for the puzzles. AND THE PUZZLES ARE AWESOME. The adventure part isn’t the worst I’ve played, and it provides a nice change of pace from the hardcore logic puzzles of the main game.

    (EDIT: To be clear, the adventure part suffers not from obscure puzzles, but from inventory puzzles that are too easy. It’s easier than Broken Age, for example. On the other hand, this may well be a deliberate attempt to give players a mental break from the hardcore logic of the sliding-room puzzles.

    Also, one other weakness of the cutscenes and adventure parts is that I’m pretty sure there’s some humor and possibly quite a few puns that were tragically lost in translation. But that’s not enough to bash an awesome puzzle game down to 60%, you jerks!)

    Steam Achievements and Workshop are not integrated yet, but they seem to be working on it. The B.F.G. version came with a level editor, which I assume they are trying to make work with Steam Workshop, because it’s currently labeled “coming soon”.

  10. Chilango2 says:

    So, speaking as a *player* I’d third or fourth the suggestion to stay away from Kingdoms of Amalur, but I think if you came in with the idea you might analyze and write about how and why it goes wrong I’d love to see that.

    I managed to finish the game on sheer determination to finish the thing, but what everyone else has said is essentially correct: it’s a game that shows that they put in a not insubstantial amount of effort, but there’s lots of slightly wrong things about it that eventually make it a chore. The fantasy universe is simultaneously clearly had a lot of thought put into it and yet is kind of bland. The mechanics aren’t horrible, but they eventually lead to the game being sort of boring, when I fought the final boss I was able to take down what was supposed to be a world threat without really breaking a sweat, and its not like I really broke the game mechanically.
    It’d be interesting to see your take on it, although it might just be so generally bad but not terrible so its bland that you might not have anything interesting to say about it. I dunno.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I even found the Amalur finale to be even more dull than most of the game. That final push was really boring.

    • acronix says:

      I enjoyed Amalur until the very last few areas, of which I remember being “When does this end, then?”. It’s also a game I’d like to play again with different character builds, but then I don’t because the only fun class is melee.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Is it? I played a caster and had a lot of fun with it (wands, or what was it, were a waste but chakrams were pretty cool). Also, I will agree the final push is a bit of a drag but overall I enjoyed the game quite a bit with a few really high points (the House of Ballads, as mentioned above). The graphics didn’t hurt either.

        It does have a strong “single player MMO” feel, especially in the parts that aren’t related to any of the bigger questlines, and I can see this not being everybody’s thing, and a lot of it is recycled fantasy tropes, even if nicely executed.

    • Skye says:

      Actually if we’re looking for a game for Shamus to analyse, I’d still love to see his take on the new X-Com. I know he was all psyched for it, I know he was generally a fan, but given the whole post the original got I was kinda hoping to see a more in depth analysis than the Dénouement.

    • Wolle says:

      I don’t think there’s much to analyze. KoA:R is spread too thin: Too many fetch quest, too many samey landscapes, too many bland characters, too many repeating enemies.

      Imagine what they could have done if they’d pour the same effort into a 30-40 hours game:
      * Cut out the bland characters and make the remaining ones even better (more Brattigans).
      * They could have made unique villains in the quest-lines (so that the Widow and the Maid of Windemere weren’t exactly the same).
      * More effort to set up the choices in the game so they make sense.
      * More varied areas – just cutting half from everything east of Dalentarth would probably do the trick.
      * Better boss fight (because, oh my God, the boss fights.)

      I’ve started this game numerous times and I’ve only completed it once, through sheer force of will.

  11. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I’m not quite as far along the Steam Sale glut, but I just picked up Mount and Blade: Warband -which I think is still on sale until Monday. Couple of weeks ago I picked up Rome II -which is still a little glitchy, but it’s playable and fun. Hey, I got to re-enact the Battle of the Beach from Troy. I’m happy.

    Gunslinger looks interesting -but I may wait and get that for the Xbox. The controller looks like it my be helpful.

  12. Irridium says:

    Hey Shamus, fun fact. Even though it’s published by Ubisoft, it does NOT use Uplay if you buy it off Steam.

    So yeah, I’d say but it just to support that. Helps that the game is also really good. And pretty short, too. So, you know.

  13. Chris Davies says:

    Can I suggest you save yourself a few hours and skip Stacking. It really isn’t that good of a game. It’s only interesting if you’re in to spending a few hours trying to figure out the cryptic clues to get all the alternative solutions. It’s basically Achievements The Game.

    While I’m on the subject of making suggestions, if you haven’t yet got around to recording the finale of the Skyrim Spoiler Warning season, can I request you take a few minutes out of your dragon slaying and get married to Jenassa? If there’s one thing in Skyrim that needs snark the most, it’s marriage.

    • MichaelGC says:

      It’d be fun to see who shows up to Catbert’s wedding. My guess would be some or all of:

      -The waterbreathing woodelf aka Aquaman aka the Mer-mer

      -Catbert’s long-suffering fast-travel horse

      -A random Greybeard

      -Thonar Silver-Blood (who’ll be glitching out as he’s supposed to be, you know, dead)

      -A seemingly-random NPC who looks vaguely familiar but whom you can’t quite place because you did something not especially memorable for them 30 in-game hours ago*

      *Actually, who am I kidding? It’ll be three or four of these latter, plus Belethor.

    • Lisa says:

      See, I’d suggest he play Stacking. I found it to be a fun little game with a great atmosphere. I wouldn’t bother with the DLC, mind. I think that stretches the gameplay past sensible limits.

  14. MichaelGC says:

    Oops, reply fail.

    So, er, er … anyone tried out Divinity:Original Sin? It seems to be garnering a lot of very high praise.

    • Thearpox says:

      Yes, but you might want to try the forum. (If you accidentally make a new comment, why not just ask Shamus to delete it?)

      • MichaelGC says:

        Thanks for the suggestions. On the rhetorical: I decided it would be better to ask a short question regarding my own backlog/playlist – somewhat stretching the definition of ‘on topic,’ but not, I think, to breaking-point – than to impose on Shamus’ time.

        Plus, I thought some might find the apparent desperation to cover up my fumbling incompetence a teensy bit amusing.

  15. Zak McKracken says:

    I do kep wondering why none of the Diecast crew has lost a word about The Swapper yet.

    It very very cheap on GOG, and it has about as much ludo-narrative consonance as you get from a puzzler, the atmosphere is … tight? Yeah, I think that’s the word: Play that game alone at night, with headphones. Then tell the world what you think. It’s not very long, either, but it’s the only one in a long time that has really gripped me.

    • Derektheviking says:

      Whilst I’m certainly not going to suggest that The Swapper isn’t worth anyone’s time, I think I might have expected too much from it going in. It’s a fantastic concept, and made for some genuinely tough but perfectly fair puzzling… but that, I think, was part of the problem.

      Whilst the environments develop a great sense of oppressive isolation, I found that the story itself was not communicated very well. The sound mixing was off, it was difficult to see who or what was talking with the various ‘dirty lens’ effects at times; but more importantly, I was thinking far, far more about the solution to the puzzles than about the narrative. Compared to the depth of the puzzling, the depth of the story left me somewhat underwhelmed on my first playthrough. I will definitely be revisiting it multiple times in the future, though, hoping that some of the more difficult-to-find pieces will add some more depth.

      Also, just for the heck of it: “it has about as much ludo-narrative consonance as you get from a puzzler” – would not agree. The framing is consistent with the story. The gameplay is find-key-via-mechanic. Your moment-to-moment gameplay does not, in general, deal with the themes being explored.

      The ending, however, is extremely well done.

  16. Eschatos says:

    Amalur isn’t bad, but make sure to install the mod that increases difficulty, and play on hard difficulty. The game is just too damn easy by default, even on hard.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way,why not do the gunslinger as the next spoiler warning?I mean all of you have praised it so far,and having a shorter more linear game after skyrim may be the needed break.

  18. WWWebb says:

    Kingdoms of Amalur could make a great Shamus Plays if you wanted to break out the screenshots and speech bubbles. The whole “oops…you’re immortal now, so why don’t you run around sucking out people’s souls” thing is just asking for mockery. Add in some ludicrous yet very full-of-themselves side quests and there’s plenty to make fun of.

    The gameplay…I might get in trouble for saying this but I enjoyed it more than Skyrim. The combat was fun. The enemies were varied. You could completely re-spec your character at will if you wanted to try a new style. The inventory management was less of a chore than most RPGs.

    My only complaint was that even though the world-art was beautiful, I got tired of running around the maps. I’m not sure what it was, but I agree with the other comments that all the running around began to feel like a chore at some point. Maybe it was because the 3rd person camera kept your view small so the distances seemed extra long.

    Enslaved was a light, fairly short (6-8 hours) game. Gameplay reminded me of Uncharted…cinematic storyline and cutscenes, lots of easy “platforming” mixed in with combat sections, and main characters that you constantly wanted to smack and tell them to stop being idiots. Even so, I thought Trip was a better companion character than Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite both in terms of usefulness/gameplay and emotional engagement.

    Stacking is a game that you can safely play with the kids. The gameplay is completely different, but the feel is similar to Costume Quest in the sense that it’s full of Double Fine whimsy. The puzzles occasionally suffer from adventure game logic, but nothing too horrible.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Now that you made the comparison and made me think about it I’d have to say that Skyrim frustrated me more than Amalur, perhaps because of the expectations, perhaps because Skyrim was aiming much higher. I would still say that I’d got more of my money’s worth out of Skyrim, largely thanks to the mods, but there was more eyerolling, more “urghh, another forsworn/bandit/stormcloak group when I’m just trying to get to a place” groaning, maybe because I found combat annoying (made a mistake of trying to pay destruction caster). Amalur also felt much more honest with how it handles its fantasy tropes whereas Skyrim is one of those titles that treat itself overly seriously as if either pretending or convinced it is breaking new ground.

    • Zekiel says:

      I don’t understand why games penalize you for re-speccing or make it impossible. As I recall Mass Effect 2 allowed you to respec once for free but then made it expensive after that. Why? Why not allow me to respec whenever I want – whether it’s because I made a mistake or just decided I fancied playing a different character?

  19. Kristoffer says:

    I’ll agree with the people suggesting you to skip Amalur. It might be interesting to hear your take on the concept in the game that sold me on it(A race of reincarnating elves eternally replaying roles in old stories), but anyone can tell why Kingdoms of Amalur isn’t a fun game by the end of it.

    There are hundreds of quests, spread so thin I hardly remember the story of two. The landscape is huge, but you can’t move around on it in any way besides walking and swimming. No jump, no climb. The areas are limited to being zones instead of an open landmass, connected to one another by one narrow path. In other words, you have little freedom and all you get to find are boring quests, so exploration isn’t very exciting.

    The characters all talk at length, and there is a ton of lore and backstory, but it’s all told through boring exposition and there aren’t too many strong characters in either the main story or the factions. Certainly not in the sidequests.

    The combat system seems to imitate action games, but the amount of different combos you can perform is so low you get a new attack way too rarely, and they are too few in numbers compared to the length of the game. Bayonetta had way more, and that was an 8-hour game at best. You get two weapons at a time, each with at most 3 or 4 different attacks, and they don’t link together to create new attacks. This doesn’t have to be boring, Dragon’s Dogma makes do with pretty much the same moveset, but because you also get to climb on dudes, grab dudes, carry dudes, jump and jump attack on dudes it all feels a lot more lively. In addition to Capcom being better at making the action feel satisfying, I’d say.

    It’s SO long, yet there are so few enemies, and they are all constrained by lore to not be in an area together so you hardly ever get challenging combinations of them. There are only four bosses. Two of them seem to go for the huge God of War-like QTE giant thing, but the animations aren’t good enough and the attacks too pathetic to make those exciting. The final boss in particular is absolutely humungous, but hardly does anything besides summoning mooks for you to brawl against like it’s Arkham Asylum.

    It’s not horrible or anything, but it was such a bore after a while that this is the game that made me start listening to podcasts while playing games.

  20. Corsair says:

    I’d like to hear what Shamus has to say about Kingdoms of Amalur. I didn’t adore it by any stretch, but it’s an interesting example of a promising game that didn’t quite reach its mark, without completely falling on its face.

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