Posts tagged Game Reviews

Western Watchins #103



People often ask me what I think about whichever recent football or basketball game just aired and was terribly important to at least them. I never have the answer they’re expecting as I don’t waste my time with such banalities. No, I follow two sports only. The two only real sports of any consequence: professional hockey and professional wrestling. Say what you want about either because a) I can’t hear you and b) while violence is a central theme of both endeavors, disagreements get handled on the ice or on the mat and not usually in a nightclub or Vegas elevator. Plus most hockey players and pro wrestlers are decent if not exceptional on a microphone. They can conjugate verbs and form complete sentences. Listen to that kid who just got drafted after supposedly graduating from Wherever State and tell me you can understand one thing he’s saying. “You’re a bigot, Tentacle Chris! Stop belittling our culture!” Illiteracy is not a culture you philistine. And “philistine” has more than one meaning, look it up. You can’t change what color you are (and shouldn’t have to) but you can change if you’re fucking ignorant (and fucking should!)

I was ignorant to the mysteries of Mexico at one time in my life but now embrace her with open, damn near needy arms. Her greatest export, besides Jarritos and upsetting crime statistics, is the masked wrestler: the luchador. Hailing from place unknown, with face unknown, but talent, charisma and machismo totally known these bemusing badasses fling storylines and themselves around with obvious dexterity. They are national heroes and your next door neighbor, for all that stands between you and lucha glory is a cover for your face and cojones for your balls! I was swelling with excitement then (you know exactly where) when I stepped into the ring with Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition. I may never actually be Mexican but I could be an actual pretend Mexican wrestler. So after turning into a chicken with “Pollo Power” and training with a part goat, part man, ALL goat-man named Uay Chivo, playing the demo became buying the full game because chickens and goddamn goatman! 



Uay Chivo’s the name and giving you shit is just his game. Like mocking your outfit or deriding your interpersonal communication skills before he grants you one awesome super power or another. So both kinds of shit he will give, insults and assaults. The former is great for starting a scrum, the latter for ending it. Like this enemy ending Rooster Uppercut for instance:



Thanks Uay, that is some cool shit. Your boy Juan, or your boy you, depending on how into character you get, will need an arsenal full of acrobatic attacks to stem the tide of nightmarish creatures that have flooded into Pueblucho, the humble hometown of our hero, and the surrounding areas. Aluxes (sort of Mexican gremlin things), alebrijes (sort of Mexican chimera things) and skeletons (skeletons) all seek to thwart your every effort to save the love of your life, El Presidente’s Daughter, from the clutches of a bastard charro returned from the grave named Carlos Calaca.

You’ll fight Carlos and his minions in both the living world and the world of the dead, once you learn how to swap dimensions of course using the aptly named “dimension swap”. And swap you will! Like a 70s swinger, you’ll be back and forth and back again till you don’t even know which way is up or whose dick is in you mouth. The taste of adventure, not unlike that of an inexplicable dick, is fresh on your tongue now! You’ve got twice the game to explore as you did before and twice the game to suplex some ass all over:



What the hell is all that? Don’t look at me, I’m not sure either. I’m just drinking tequila, mashing buttons and drinking tequila. Confusion and concussions! The only thing I know for sure is that a lot of things are getting punched in the face and it’s my fist doing the punching and some other face (not mine!) doing the getting punched in itself. Plus I look good doing it!



Numerous humorous wardrobe choices are just one more reason to love Guacamelee. This skin here’s called “Mighty Warrior” and hearkens back to when the majestic Mayan ruled much of Mexico. That hawk on the bottom right is actually you as a chicken dressed up as a “Mighty Warrior”. It’s a cock in a hawk in a Juan, it’s dick-ception. Call it whatever you want, but it’s awesome, because whether you’re a football goaltender, piñata or the Devil himself, you and your poultrified alter ego will both get to play dress-up. By the way, that girly on the right is Tostada, a playable character in co-op so a friend can help you on your way towards destiny. She’s in both of the above pictures but don’t risk the madness of that battle scene. Looking into it is like staring down Ghost Rider. You’ll just end up in a pool of sweat, disoriented and full of shame about that time you masturbated twice while watching Troll 2.

No shame in this here game though. The score is fantastic, the locations plentiful, the action unceasing. Clever, heartfelt and well researched, this game is a feast of quirky quesadillas for all your senses. Available on the PS4, Xbox One, and 360, plus the Wii U means the only reason you wouldn’t play this title is if you have something against fun or Mexicans. Either way you’re racist. So race your black, yellow, brown, red, white and/or blue bitch-ass over to that console and grab some Guac! Es muy delicioso (if you can’t read that you are still racist!)

Not me though. Hell no. I’m 100% fake Mexican just like the made in Toronto by way of Nogales Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition. Our friends to the North and those South of the border came together to craft an experience fabulously cheeky in its execution yet completely respectful of what inspired it. I luch-adored it and reckon you will too. 6 rounds strewn about the ring for this worthy opponent. They’d be in the cylinder but this game gave me what for and gave it more than once. Most of the gameplay is of average difficulty making for a lightly challenging run through if you possess even modest platforming skills but two specific levels tested my dexterity, patience and sanity. Completing them was truly monumental and they’ll stand as the greatest trials I’ve ever faced in gaming for a long time to come, my numb hands and bloodshot eyes are sure of it. I’m not a pro gamer but I’m no newb either and shit tons of fucking shit…this was the easiest and toughest game I’ve ever gotten through.

I failed and failed and failed with failure on top. Then I failed before failing a few dozen more times. It was failure after failure. But I never stopped fighting. Sounds trite, sounds silly, but it sounds like Life and like the ring of fucking truth. My life has been full of missteps and mistakes and falling short more often than not. But every bit of that has made every success so goddamn sweet I can barely even remember what defeat tasted like. I say “barely” because it’s important to stay hungry for what you want most. Past all the pitfalls and fuckups, hunger for the good stuff, the great stuff, the best stuff.

That’s out there for all of us amigos, don’t settle for anything less.

Western Watchins #91



Cheap isn’t meaningless. Cheap isn’t useless. Cheap is not something to always be avoided or scoffed at. Some of the best times of my life could accurately be described with some definition of “cheap.” Some of the best things I’ve ever owned and some of the best things I’ve ever done? Cheap!

But you know how it is.

Money talks.

Talks people into giving up on their dreams, talks people into fucking over their friends and families. Money might even talk you into buying a video game dripping slick with top of the line advertising efforts and financially fluffed “reviews.” So stumbling across small, independent titles that are swimming against the tide isn’t commonplace in an unforgiving ocean of “OMG! Have you played Titanfall? What? NO!?!? Why Not? It’s a game with things that happen and things that move! I read that Aggro-Opinonator gave it like 8 out of 5 starzors! It’s got graphics and sounds!!! It’s totes available on your PS4Box9000and you should go get it right now just like the commercial sez!!!”

I’m a fan of some huge franchises like Gears of War, but for every deserving studio out there that produces a polished product there’s another conniving to cock punch you with their next release. Like a minor-leaguer still hungry for success, some of the most innovative, inexpensive and plain damn fun to play titles will forever come from somebody you’ve never heard of in your life. So when you do find, as I have this week, one or two of these precious little nuggets floating down the vapid and empty gold-claim of the modern console era you must rejoice. And at a buck each these two are both that perfect kind of cheap I’ll saddle up with any day. Two tiny, indy, one dollar games are maybe not what you were expecting but I didn’t expect to fuckin’ fall off my horse last time I was out riding either, I didn’t expect to become infatuated with the American Southwest and need to move to Arizona and I sure as hell didn’t expect to be married to a kind and gorgeous woman who loves me a hundred times more than I deserve.

Always getting what you expect is boring. And I will not be a party to that.

So I’ll tell you a little about Cowbots and Super Amazing Wagon Adventure instead.



Cowbots is a combo platter of turn-based card game and twin-stick shooter and whether you’re facing off against the CPU or a buddy in Battle, Railroad or Survival mode it’s amusing if not terribly in-depth. No matter the mode, the gameplay is basically the same. Earn gold, guns or icons each round in order to play cards of varying offensive or defensive value before your opponent does the same. One screen (i.e. the first one I found on an image search) looks like this:



Get your strategy all figured out and pick your perfect hand. Once that’s over you roll around in a mine cart plinking rapid fire, shotgun or large caliber rounds at anybody that isn’t friendly. The variety of mechanical men you can bolster your ranks with is rather large and amusingly diverse. I specifically said “men” because there aren’t any women in this game. Not one robot whore. I weep on my pal Bender’s shoulder as he quietly leaks on mine because we both have a soft spot in our hearts for that soft spot presumably deep inside most if not all whores. Other than the glaring lack of cybernetic soiled doves my only gripe with this game is that when you play “Railroad” mode (a race to build a complete track across the screen) if you don’t get a Prayer card in the first three rounds you’re screwed. That card allows you to play extra cards each round which in turn increases your chances of fielding an impenetrable posse in addition to finding one of the eight railroad track piece cards you’ll need to win the whole shebang. Don’t see those praying hands early on and you might as well shove a bottle of Jack up your ass and give yourself the whiskey shits because your time will be better spent shitting whiskey than trying in vain to achieve victory.

Alcohol tinged taints aside Cowbots is my go-to game when I’ve got ten or fifteen to spare and I don’t feel like yelling at 12 year olds playing anything online. Like jerking off, it’s easy to learn and doesn’t take too long to finish but man is it ever fun. 3 rounds for this genre mixing little hombre. And if pretending to be a tiny terminator version of Cullen Bohannon grunting your way across the plains in the name of mechanized manifest destiny isn’t totally worth a buck, the hell if I know what is. Of course if all you have is a buck and you’re looking for the complete opposite of short and simple look no further than to the second part of this week’s review.



Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is all of these words and then more words. Like Cholera, killer scorpions, flaming buffalo stampedes, spitting lamas, exploding volcanoes and evil bandit destroying tactical air strikes.



Think about that old Oregon Trail game and then imagine it about fifty times harder and with aliens and sex and time travel. Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is not quite as accurate historically as the old O.T. was but you really haven’t struggled to expand this great country of ours unless you’ve fended off narwhals with your pterodactly pistol now have you? This game is 8-bit glory wrapped around a damned near impossible to complete story. It’s insanely addictive due to its fairly basic controls which make you feel like you’ve gone full retard as, in the amount of time it takes you to eke out even one complete journey, you could have probably read the dictionary twice. When I finally, and after what seemed like the longest of “lasts”, reached the West Coast I was sure the pelican that flew welcomingly over head was going to try and kill me so there I sat unaware of my victory with fingers clenched tightly around my controller and my anus clenched tightly around my anus.

It really is that amazing.

Both the game and my anus. A doctor once told me that if I kept lifting heavy weights my “rectum would fall out.” This upset my anus terribly and to this day he works even harder to support me as only he can and I’m pleased to say that all my parts are where they should be. And you amigo, should support these two little games that could. 4 rounds by the way for Super Amazing Wagon Adventure. A touch better than Cowbots because of its liberal use of ridiculous humor and the curious mix of skill and luck needed to complete the damn thing.

But both are great and you should buy them both because c’mon, it’s only two dollars. There’s probably two dollars in your car/couch/cat right now or maybe someone owes you two dollars or you could promise to show someone your dick for two dollars and then do it and then you’d have two dollars. Lots of ways to meet this minimal monetary need. You keep riding true and I’m sure you’ll figure something out and then be playing around with these two hidden gems before you can say “hey, I showed you my dick. Where’s my money?”


Western Watchins Week 52


I just Googled “how many weeks are in a year?” Did it to be sure. You can think you’re better than me but go ahead, drink as much whiskey as I just have and tell me you can remember basic facts or where to properly urinate in your house! That’s why I sit on a towel when I blog bitch. And game too. Sometimes Gears or Red Dead gets too intense for you to just run off at every beck and call of your bladder! Grow a pair lad, piss yourself and win that goddamn match! A urine smell can be steam cleaned out but a solid K/D lasts forever!

So yeah, 52 weeks in a year it seems and fuck me twice and call me Sally (or whatever you want if you pay off my house so I can move to Arizona!) that seems like the exact number of reviews I’ve written. Have I been doing this for an entire year now? If this is indeed the first anniversary of Western Watchins then, besides my marriage and fitness level, this will be the only other thing that requires a dedicated deal of effort I’ve ever stayed interested in and committed to for any great length of time. I get bored and distracted real easy like and no that’s not ADD or any other bullshit psycho-babbling excuse that’s just me and most of us if we were brave enough to admit it past the therapists and prescription drugs. I need near constant new and exciting stimulation so thank God for my wife and thank God for the West for both of those things understand, accept and encourage me in ways I truly hope you comprehend or will one day.

I played GUN for the first time years ago after picking it up off an end-cap at Target for around twenty bucks. I didn’t know much about it if I recall correctly so I popped it into the old PS2 unaware of the revelation it would be for me. Keep in mind that yes, by today’s GTA saturated standards the “expansive” sandbox world of GUN is admittedly anemic but, big but, I’d never played an open world game before so this fucked my mind like a drunk frat house fucks anything with tits that’s passed out and can’t say “no”. So when I found it for Xbox on the cheap of course I had to pick it up and then let it sit and collect dust for two or three years so the timing would become just unfucking believably perfect for me to once again jump into the vengeful saddle with a vengeful Colton White as he rides in the name of, say it with me, vengeance!

Oh this game is good, I’m gonna tell you that right from the start because really I’m just abnormally proud of myself for putting cyber pen to paper for three hundred and sixty five days. It’s not much of an accomplishment but by comparison most folks have spent the same time period getting fat, getting divorced or getting ready for launch so I win the showdown amigos. Here comes a priest now with my prize!

No it’s not the cross. That’s central to the story so I guess I can’t have it but I am now the proud owner of six Don Quixote cosplayers. Funny side note, my grandfather was obsessed with Conquistadors and convinced himself that they built everything in Florida including Disney. Anyway the story of GUN begins a long time ago and the the screen goes blank before Kris Kristofferson wakes you up to go hunting. And when you wake up you realize you’re Thomas Jane. Jesus, did the devs tap into my homoerotic dreams to make this game or what? And then you go find a whore named Jenny and watch her take a bath!

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Shits to shivers this game is amazing! And no it’s not that Jenny you get all sexy with requiring her to take said bath but this pic is hot and I couldn’t pass up the subtle Kristoffersonian Convoy reference so it stays. Besides the in-game Jenny is a bit blocky in reality as the game is creeping up on being a decade old but that shouldn’t stop you from giving it a playthrough if you’re a fan of the genre. The animations of both characters and critters are limited, even bordering on rough at times, but I believe that had more to do with the then current technology than with any slight on the programmers part. See, it’s not too bad.

But at times it really is.

Sure there’s a solid amount of shit to do besides the main story like Pony Express missions, ranch hand tasks or tracking down bounties off of wanted posters but you do all of it across noticeably confined and bare bones terrain. GUN is old and looks its age especially in terms of texturing, the level static time of day and some rather abrupt limits to the geography. Even so, while many elements are polygoned to the point they’d make the original Lara Croft blush, the fact this game is visually a little long in the tooth won’t limit the fun you’ll have shooting your way through this sandbox humbly sized or not. Plus there’s all the controversy! Don’t you want to be edgy and play something frightfully offensive? Well then go play GTA 5 and rape a dead hooker while wearing a nun as a condom screaming “fuck yo couch nigga!” You can do that in GTA right? That game is all hookers and helicopters and racial slurs isnt’ it? I don’t know. The only GTA I ever played had John Marston in it and he wouldn’t have sex with anything. I was disappointed to say the least.

And so too were many Native Americans when GUN first arrived and featured missions wherein you had to (gasp) fend off injuns. I know we invaded this country and started pushing all kinds of people here and there and anywhere but the lands they’d lived on for years and it sucks and is a really shitty part of our history but let’s not forget it is just that. Histo-fucking-ry. It happened. Iran can deny the holocaust all it wants but it still went down. And setting a game in 1880 out New Mexico and Arizona way would damn well by definition need to address the well documented distress that was occurring between the white and red man.

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It’s apparent to anyone who isn’t a raging duckfuck of a liberal that the folks who made GUN gave a shit about putting out an exciting product that would of course take fictional liberties but that would also be respectful and unapologetic in it’s presentation of a very turbulent time in America’s past. And of course everyone just bitched instead of bothering to play the rest of the game it seems to find out that you save boxcars full of plains people, end up discovering you have a lot more in common than you at first thought and actually ally with them to take down the real bad guy. Who is Lance Henriksen!

Besides brutally representing historical facts PC or not GUN goes that extra step that always takes a ‘meh’ game up to “motherfuck my mindballs” just like that! Great goddamn voice acting. I’ll take a game with rustic visuals any day as long as The Punisher, Whistler and Bishop are there to narrate the story for me like I’m sitting at my local library listening to them read Goodnight Moon just jerking off over the tears and screams of children everywhere. And just in case I was in any danger of not reaching completion (fat chance of that ’cause even though I’m almost forty I could still fuck your old lady better than you ever have or will hope to do! How do I know? I JUST DID IT BITCH!) But, just in case, along comes Brad Dourif, Tom Skerritt and Ron Perlman to seal the salty deal.

That cast alone would leave a lingering and lovely taste near your tonsils after playing any game but take those guys along with a moving (if simplistic) score, outstanding (main) character designs and a substantial story line with more than a few “oh shit” moments and you’ll see why GUN will still run roughshod all over you gaming console and probably face.

5 rounds in the cylinder this week and sentimental ones at that. When I first played this game I would have not even a glimpse of where just a few short years later my heart would have me headed. I found Southwestern decor atrocious and felt like kicking ever Kokopelli I saw square in the balls. That sumbitch is a trickster though and how funny it must be to him or anyone else that sees me now and recognizes just how much I’ve fallen for the sands and saguaro. When I first played GUN I would have been relatively content to live out my days in the Sunshine State. But now that’s just simply not the case. This time playing through made me long for something, something I’m working my way towards right at this moment and a little more each day. Headed west…towards my home, towards where I need to be. And every mile tween now and then amigos I will ride true. Here’s to another year of sunsets and shootouts. Thanks for readin’ my ramblins and know that as long as I’m still breathing there’ll always be more to come.

Western Watchins Week 39


ALENS is the best example ever. Not just of science fiction in general but more importantly the oft maligned sequel. How many part twos and threes have gone on to just absolutely destroy their source material? Almost all of them. It’s rare that a follow up comes along that can live up to or even dare to surpass its predecessor. The 80s overall had a few quality collections but for every Indiana Jones trilogy there was a Poltergeist or Robocop to remind us that movies get made all the time but good ones? Much less frequently. Besides, nowadays “sequel” just means “hastily produced studio cash grab”. And don’t you dare mention The Dark Knight. Anyone who can regurgitate Heath Ledger talking points and thinks that this movie belongs enshrined in some filmic hall of fame probably spends a great deal of time defending other equally vacuous and ridiculously overpraised endeavors that look good on paper but fail fucking miserably in real life like say Socialism.

Aw man. I’m sorry. If that last line upset you then why are you reading this? Shouldn’t you be in line for your food stamps?

Also I’m not actually sorry.

I wasn’t sorry for picking up a used copy of Rango (the game!) either. Not only is this one of the best sequels I’ve ever watched (and bonus: got to play through!) but our titular reptile is also self reliant and adventurous (so, not a socialist!) If you’ve seen the original movie, or read my review, you’ll know that Rango is ever striving to be the hero even while struggling to define exactly what that means on top of figuring out exactly who he is. In-game Rango comes across a bit more self assured as he’s now been the sheriff of the critter filled desert town of Dirt for quite some time by this point. Don’t let the badge fool you though. He’s still prone to gross exaggeration, periods of self doubt and shrill girly screaming. When it comes to hanging off the back of a speeding train can you blame him for that one?

He’s not perfect. I can relate to that. He’s also rather damn good at more than a few things and looks good in a cowboy hat. I can relate to that too. All of Rango’s fitness and all of his flaws endear him to you. And they all help in one way or another to get him through this latest escapade that has him scouring the Sonoran for clues to explain the arrival of strange glowing artifacts and what if anything they have to do with a certain someone’s long disappeared pappy. The entire plot of Rango (the game) was based off of a few what you might have assumed were throw away lines from the original film and once I realized what I was headed into I couldn’t wait to strap on the gun leather and get to the headin’.

So off I was and soon back on a train. And not just riding them, I was jumping from car to car or hanging off the sides inching forward as fast as my nimble green fingers could carry me. I’ve watched a lot of Ninja Warrior before and all these acrobatics had me thinking “I know how hard that is” and “man, Rango makes it look easy holy shit he must be a ninja!” He’s not a ninja, but he is foolheartedly determined. Would he ride a bat if he wasn’t?

That’s Rango doing his impersonation of Bruce Wayne. OMG, what if one of the bosses in the game had wandered out to confront Rango and said, in a nasally and overwrought Sean Connery accent, “You don’t fear death… You welcome it. Your punishment must be more severe!” But then we’d be watching Dark Knight Rises where the main bad guy wore underwear on his head, lifts in his shoes and talked like an drunk socialist asshole! Nope, you’re playing Rango (the game) where the villains are actually intimidating! They shoot and stab at you between clawing, punching and biting you. And they spit on you too!

Fuck that’s gross! I could pretend Rango was Hadouken-ing Rattlesnake Jake but that would be avoiding the issue. Which is the fact that getting your expectorate all over someone is fucking gross! There’s an old guy at my work who licks his desiccated fingers and contaminates every single piece of paper that comes out of our shared printer to the point I’m forced to vault over cubicles, slide under desks and dodge-roll past open cabinet drawers while sprinting like a goddamned office Ezio in a (usually) vain attempt to save my copies from salivary Armageddon. So remember: two chicks snowballing is so totally fine with me but being an oblivious octogenarian who drips his germs all over my goddamn work is so not. Gotta have some values kids!

Now, I have special ways of handling this challenging situation but none of them are as fun as Rango’s “Golden Bullet” mode.

Once or twice a level the clouds above part and a supernatural slug descends (presumably from the Spirit of the West though we never do see him 🙁 ) to aid you in your ongoing quest by opening up a brief mini-game of sorts wherein you need to nail some precisely placed targets in order to progress. Getting a bonus of sheriff’s stars (collected throughout the game and used for all kinds of amusing upgrades) for bulls-eyes makes for an extra challenge. And this game is challenging. But not like you’re guessing I’ll suspect.

What made that kid’s movie Rango so unexpected was that it wasn’t really a kid’s movie at all. Rango spent much of the movie fumbling through what looked more like a mid-life crisis than a fairy tale. The movie and game are both populated by horny toads and turkeys, bunny rabbits and armadillos and almost anything that ever scurried across the sand. But they’re not just critters. They’re complicated characters, most with an involved backstory. The movie will take you on a journey. The game continues that journey without dumbing itself down for the console crowd. Yeah, the game can be a plain old shoot ’em up if you want it. Or it can be a bit of self-exploration if you let it.

Mr. Timms, rubber duckies and epiphany. You don’t straddle a giant plastic metaphorical symbol to chase down your deepest dreams and not come back a different man. A better man. I’m a better man for knowing Rango. And mostly for the simple reminder that life’s greatest achievements come from discovery and it’s greatest peace from the truth.

5 rounds for this next chapter of Rango. It’s not the most involved game ever made nor is it infinitely re-playable. It’s short, simple and straightforward and it wanders a bit in the third act. But I don’t fault it much. No, not much at all. Because what it does right it does exceedingly well. All the shocks and surprises aside, beyond the poop jokes and plot twists too, it speaks effortlessly to the child you were, the adult you are and that person you’re still becoming each and every day.

Life’s a grand and beautiful ride amigos. Open up to it and enjoy.

And as always, ride true. 

Western Watchins Week 34


There comes a time in every man’s life when he can longer sit idly by and let grievous wrongs go uncorrected. For me that was a few days ago. No longer content to just watch film after film of fiery vengeance spilling itself across the map from Tulsa to Tuscon I decided to get in on the action myself. Thankfully Ubisoft was there to meet my needs with their damnably delicious (and downloadable only) little ditty Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. Having this sweet digital release for real world frustrations is a great as it seems these days if you challenge someone to a showdown they get all flustered as then sit there slingin’ out homophobic slurs wrapped in false bravado and then go and ban you from message boards or block you on all manner of social media. They might even go so far as to…gasp…unfriend you! That shit, that very shit, is the emasculated modern day version of the showdown at high noon because no one has any balls any more and what’s more even their dicks have fallen off and crawled limply up to their shoulders to perch like a droopy parrot crying out “sQwaaAuK! Can’t talk face to face! AwwAkkk, digital anonymity empowers me! MehCocccckk! Stab you in the back then pretend we’re “good” and go about my little life!”

Hell yeah that penis parrot can do air quotes!

And I could write an entire entry, probably several, on the nature of this day and age’s interpersonal relationships, loyalty, respect and trust but you came here for something a bit more than that. And so…Gunslinger…it’s a gloriously realized and wickedly fun to play romp all over the Old West as told by a series of flashbacks and our hero Silas Greaves. That’s him up above with the stereotypical twin pistols, tattered poncho and non-defined tobacco product between his lips. He is the quintessential ass that is bad. So, so bad. He’s so cool and mysterious it hurts because before you realize it you’re trying to pull of that same air of cool-steriousness and you just can’t. And lord help you if you try and look under that hat because he looks a little something….like this! 

Oh Marge you hilarious truck savvy dike you! Maybe that’s what Silas looks like too, I don’t know, as what he looks like in toto is just about the only thing you won’t get from this game as he’s enjoyably thorough in relating his past exploits to the captive audience found at a “random” bar in Abilene, Kansas. The quotes are nuance to avoid giving away any of the surprises that you’ll come across as you work your way along that inevitable path headed towards a reckoning with the man who did you wrong. A path that takes you from bustling burgs to barren outposts.

Measuring each step at the edge of a mine shaft or sneaking along in the shadows of mountains.

And while you may re-visit some of the locales redressed to suit the current recollection I’ll wager you won’t find yourself getting bored with this one even in the slightest. Plus Silas is constantly arguing the facts with his listeners so many a time you’ll play a single scene or even a good portion of a level only to discover that wasn’t really what went down at which point you’ll play on under different circumstances, with new enemies and/or terrain to overcome. It’s a brilliant choice from the designers and makes Gunslinger even that much more pleasant to pick up and rather hard to put down.

Of course besides the handsome vistas no Western experience would be complete without an assortment of period weaponry with which to inform all sorts of bad guys that they are in fact bad guys and also probably douchebags. So you find that bad-bag-douche-guy and you pull a nicely engraved revolver, your repeating rifle or trusty shotgun and do this to him.

These dudes bleed more easily and profusely than Ric Flair. It’s fantastic. Sublime, invigorating and just damn fantastic. The way everyone explodes into gallons of red goo you’ll think you’ve stumbled into a town full of Kool Aid men. And with a few seconds of Matrix style slow-mo during any particularly perfect head-shot or full on blast of buckshot you’ll have more than enough time to glance over at a loved one nearby and give them that “fuck yeah I’m a digital desperado” kind of look or take a shot of whiskey. I make it a point to do both fyi.

The voluminous blood looks grand, those burned out buildings looks grand, even that solitary bandanna looks grand. Everything in this damn game looks grand. Even the character introduction screens scream extra effort and love for all things over the top and mightily machismo.

Did William Bonney ever look this cool? Hell no! That’s probably why he was able to off so many folks because who ever thinks their going to lose a gunfight to a retard. He wasn’t retarded but goddamn if he doesn’t look all “Baby…Ruth…Ruth…Baby”!

Goonies may never die but all your enemies will if you’re worth half a lick. Here’s what a showdown looks like complete with Leone-esque framing and another I’m sure not historically accurate but none the less comic book cool as shit looking Western legend just daring you to sling some lead.

And sling you will once you steady your gun hand and sharpen your focus using both sticks on the controller simultaneously. This can get tricky when, well, it gets real tricky South of the Border comprende? But with practice you’ll be leaving foe after foe breathing his last into the dust. And no your vision’s not going there Schofield Kid. Silas does indeed have two guns on his right hip. I already told you the wardrobe in this one borders on the absurd. Awesomely, entertainingly absurd but still absurd. These guys have gun-belts for their gun-belts  Their fashion sense is not as much Kid Curry as it is Boy George. It’s an X-Men Summer crossover special edition costumes for all kind of spectacle. It’s bombastically beautiful and works without becoming disrespectful to the all the rich source material the writers pulled from which is everything from the Lincoln County War through Butch and Sundance.

6 rounds loaded into the cylinder for Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. For $15 (or however many Xbox points that is) you’d be real hard pressed to find a better game. If you like shooters and the pistoleros that come with them from the dusty days of America’s Wild West past you should aim to add this to your collection post haste. Three modes of game-play (story, arcade and duel) plus a multitude of fun factoids (nuggets of truth) to collect in-game flesh this one out down to the bone. It’s not an open world but it feels big and the decision you’re faced with at the end will weigh heavy on you if you’re man enough to look in the mirror and really think about it. Sat there for damn near five minutes at almost five in the morning last weekend just pondering one simple “this or that” question.

It’s interesting what a silly little video game can teach you about yourself.

Gunslinger’s available on Playstation, Xbox and PC so play it if’n you’re inclined and you’ll see what I saw and feel what I felt. It has the Spirit of the West in it without a doubt. That Old Ghost sat next to me the whole time and made this one mightily memorable.

So here’s to you and your memories. Till we meet again amigos go out and make some more of your own and as always, ride true.

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