“The name’s Bond, James Bond”. That definitely has to be one of the most famous phrases said by the MI6 Agent. Over the years, there have been numerous video games based on Mr Bond’s exploits and it seems another title can be added to the list. Developed by Bizarre Creations and published by Activision, James Bond 007: Blood Stone aims to give you an experience that is “Shaken, not stirred”.
In typical James Bond fashion, Blood Stone kicks off with an intense action sequence before the opening credits have even started. The story starts with Mr Bond tracking down a weapons dealer that intends to terrorize the G20 Summit. Seems a little too simple, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t end there. A conspiracy sends him all over the world to track down certain people for information to clear the whole mess up. The story works quite well just like a good Bond movie. Since he will be travelling all over the world to complete his mission, James will find himself in a variety of situations. You may be ducking behind cover during a gunfight, chasing an informant over a series of rooftops or just trying to survive a blood pumping car chase in the signature Aston Martin. The story is also driven along quite well by the characters. Dame Judi Dench and Daniel Craig have agreed to do the voice acting for their characters of M and James Bond respectively. I feel that it was great that they agreed to offer their voices to this project as it gives a sense of familiarity and fans of the series will be pleased with their performance. English singer-songwriter and actress, Joss stone also makes an appearance as a wealthy jewellery designer named Nicole Hunter.
Gameplay involves a combination of genres. It is a third-person shooter with a heavy reliance on cover very similar to Gears of War. There are stealth portions in which hand-to-hand takedowns are a better choice as opposed to a gunfight. The stealth portion is very similar to Splinter Cell: Conviction with its use of hand-to-hand takedowns. Driving sections take place as car chases that the James Bond movies are well known for. There are also sections which require the use of a gadget, which in this case is your smartphone. The smartphone can be used to possibly crack security points or to clone the contents of a hard drive. The gadget use is very repetitive however and feels like it wasn’t really necessary to begin with. The earlier levels felt a tad slow to me but eventually things picked up again. There also wasn’t a big variety of weaponry in the game, which was a bit disappointing. Another feature I noticed that was similar to Splinter Cell: Conviction was something called a “Focus Kill” which functions like the “Mark and Execute”. The focus kill is also obtained in the same manner. Use a melee takedown on an enemy and you obtain the ability to use a Focus Kill. The combat during gunfights are best experienced by treating the situation as if it were a movie. A sense of urgency just makes things so much more exciting. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the driving sections in the game. They were just plain simple awesome from beginning to end. The game has a good pace as it isn’t a series of blood pumping action sequences. The stealth sections slow things down a bit and I feel that was a nice touch. The lack of gadgets in Blood Stone was disappointing. What’s a James Bond game without gadgets?
The game just looks great. Graphics are pretty good. The design that went into the different locations was also nicely executed. The detailed environments during the driving sections were truly brilliant. Not much can really be said about the audio in this game. The voice acting is good thanks to Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench offering their voices to the project. The soundtrack in Blood Stone is just what you’d expect from a James Bond film. It just has that vintage feel to it. The music is also perfectly placed in the various situations. The music has the ability to give you that sense of urgency when faced with a tense situation.
Overall, James Bond 007: Blood Stone is an enjoyable game. It probably isn’t Game of the Year material but enjoyable nonetheless. The earlier levels were a little predictable and the enemy types were very few. Also, the lack of gadgets in a James Bond game is a big letdown but I hope that they can rectify this if they decide to develop another title in the series.
Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.