James Bond 007: NightFire
I’ll be honest about it: when I first received my copy of “007: Nightfire” I thought I was in for an overhyped game. I didn’t watch the new Bond movies (with Pierce Brosnan) for this same reason. But boy, was I wrong!
Nightfire has a story written specially for the game (so it’s not from a movie or anything) but the story really has the Bond-allures that we expect to find. You play as Bond, James Bond, and you’re supposed to save the world from terrorists who have stolen a missile guidance system. Nothing new under the sun of course: Bond is still Bond and he always gets the girl.
But aside from the entertaining story the gameplay is magnificent. I’ll have to admit, playing first person shooters with a control pad is not exactly Gamer’s Nirvana, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. The controls are customizeable and for those who really really suck (like me) there’s still auto aim.
You start off with an introduction to the game controls with a mission in Paris, where you first have to shoot bad guys with a sniper rifle from a helicopter. After that you get to ride the Aston Martin Vanquish through the streets of Paris to stop a Terrorist truck with missiles from reaching its destination. Once you get past that, the real fun begins: you’re dropped near a castle in Switserland where you have to sneak your way into a party (after getting past the guards). At this party you have to take pictures of the missile guidance system transaction. As you shoot/sneak/gadget your way through the missions you’ll notice the grand diversity in objectives: save hostages, upload a virus, escort somebody to a bunker, steal stuff, etc.
Sometimes you get to ride on vehicles, like driving the Aston Martin Vanquish or you get to use a big machine gun mounted to a snowmobile (driven by another agent). You’ll also notice how well the levels have been designed: there is no “Hey have I been here before? Because everything looks the same like in the other room” effect. Everything is thought out well and the locations have been designed in a highly realistic manner. For example in one of the missions there are different buildings and you could clearly see that each building had it’s own function: the sleeping quarters (filled with bedrooms), the main office, the lounge, etc.
But Bond wouldn’t be Bond if he didn’t have all his weapons and gadgets. There are a number of gadgets like a laser-watch (to cut through locks and wires), a Stunner (shaped like the keys to your Aston Martin), a Micro Camera (hidden in a zippo lighter), sunglasses (night/heat vission!) and a whole lot more. Don’t expect to use the gadgets randomly or at will, they usually have a specific purpose. There are also a lot of different weapons, ranging from pistols to guided missile launchers. The cool thing is that they all have an alternate fire mode. The weapons also let you choose how you want to play the game: do you want to rush in and kill everyone with a shotgun? Or do you want to sneak around with a silenced 9mm?
When you are done with the missions (or whenever you feel like it) you can play the multiplayer game: this has different modes (which you have to unlock by playing the missions) like team arena, capture the flag, assasination and at least half a dozen more. The multiplayer mode doesn’t mean you need other people to play along, you can add upto 6 AI bots, who are highly configurable. If you combine those features with very customizable settings for the maps/weapons/damage etc. you get one hell of a fun game. I especially liked assassination where one of the players is an assasin and one is a target, to score points you have to kill the assassin (and in doing so, become the assassin yourself and then kill the target). I enjoyed assassination so much I played it till 9 in the morning!
The gameplay has been set up in such a way that you actually get the illusion of freedom: you get your objectives and you have to achieve them any way you see fit. But besides the great gameplay the game also has some nice graphics. you can actually see emotions on the models faces (in the cut-scenes) and everything looks pretty real (from a certain distance). But eventually the graphics didn’t really matter in this game, it was the atmosphere it was able to create that made me sneak around each corner scared that a guard would see me and sound the alarm.
Hats off for EA, great addictive game with some original missions.