Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Gameplay Perf. and IQ

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is in town to once again provide your spaghetti western fix. The first game broke new ground for graphical fidelity, and we're very keen to learn if this new game will do the same. We'll take a good long look at Bound in Blood with eight of the best video cards around.

Introduction

In September of 2006, Call of Juarez was released by Ubisoft Entertainment after being developed by polish developer TechLand. Call of Juarez was powered by version 3 of TechLand’s Chrome Engine. It featured DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 renderers, and was one of the first games we ever saw that gave us a distinct advantage for running the game in DX10 mode. It could be argued that the graphics enabled by the game’s DX10 render path were not anything that could not have been done in DX9, but nevertheless, the DX10 renderer brought an improvement for Call of Juarez. Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is essentially a prequel to Call of Juarez. Fans of the first game will recognize the character Ray McCall, who appears in both games with the same voice actor.


Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

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Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is a first-person shooter set in the old American west just after the conclusion of the US Civil War. The game actually begins, through a flashback sequence, during a Civil War battle. After the conclusion of the flashback mission, the story advances two years, finding the protagonists, Thomas and Ray McCall, as deserters and fugitives from a mad confederate officer, Colonel Barnsby, with their preacher brother William in tow. Eventually, the brothers decide to head to Mexico to search for a mythical lost treasure of Hernando Cortez. It is that quest that constitutes the single-player campaign of Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. Multiplayer modes include standard fare such as deathmatch (Wild West Legends), team deathmatch (Posse). There are also more creative modes such as Manhunt, which is deathmatch with team tag elements mixed in where points are awarded for protecting the wanted player. In Wanted mode, the tag rules are reversed and only the Wanted player can score points for his team. Shootout is a team deathmatch game in which players compete to accrue the highest bounty, which is then used to purchase upgraded weapons. Except for Wild West Legends, all multiplayer modes pit players against each other as outlaws or lawmen.

The Technology

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood is powered by version 4 of TechLand’s Chrome Engine. It is the latest version of the same engine that powered the first Call of Juarez game. There is one key difference, though. Bound in Blood does not have a DirectX 10 renderer. This is a DX9-only game. Among the engine’s feature list is found the text: designed for future DX10 / DX11 code pathways. So it is not immediately clear whether or not the engine is currently capable of running in DX10, but it is clearly meant to be in the "future". At any rate, that technology is not included in Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, so it’s all academic. Chrome is a full-featured development package with standard features such as normal-mapping for textured surfaces, ragdoll and particle physics, HDR, motion blur, and depth of field. A complete feature list is available from TechLand’s developer relations site, the Game Developers HATCHERY. The important points to know about the engine as it relates to this game are that it is DX9-only and it supports all of the shader and post-processing effects we have come to expect.


The Video Cards

We have eight video cards in this evaluation for your enjoyment today. From AMD, we have the Radeon HD 4870 X2, the Radeon HD 4890, the 1GB Radeon HD 4870, and the 512MB Radeon HD 4770. From NVIDIA, we have the GeForce GTX 295, the GeForce GTX 285, the GeForce GTX 275, and the GeForce GTX 260 with 216 shaders.