James Bond: Blood Stone
It’s been two years since the last James Bond movie ‘Quantum of Solace’ was released and as long as MGM remains in financial difficulties it’s unlikely that a sequel will come anytime soon. In the meantime James Bond fans can still entertain themselves with the latest 007 game.
Just like in the last films and game, the lead actor in James Bond: Blood Stone is Daniel Craig. The role of his boss M is played by Judi Dench while the bondgirl accompanying Craig – and at the same time maker of the game’s soundtrack – is the lovely Joss Stone. After playing the intro mission we get the opening credits, including the title song, and it all looks and sounds promising to say the least. Real James Bond stuff right there.
When starting the game the selection of the difficulty level really bugged me. That you’re able to choose your desired difficulty level depending on your past experience with shooters is evidently not a problem, but the fact that you are unable to select 007 (the most difficult level) from the beginning is. To unlock this you first have to complete the entire game and I can imagine not everyone is keen on starting the game again from the top.
Now let’s get back to the actual game. The graphics are pleasing and by times the sound is absolutely astonishing, but just like in the last game something is missing. In a good Bond film the story and action are compelling but in this game it simply isn’t, far from it even. During the game you’re led by 007’s Smartphone which tells you where to go, where you can gather intel, where your enemies are and even which guns they are carrying. Remove all adventure and excitement from the game, check.
The story takes place on different locations, going from Athens to Istanbul, from Monaco to Siberia and so on. Each and every one of them fine settings but it all seems like you’ve seen them before. In every scene the necessary walls, furniture and statues to take cover are present and they’re a vital necessity because over and over again you’ll be encountering tens of foes at a time. However, at the same time this very concept is a weakness as you’ll be taking cover behind those objects for more than half of the time, just to leave that spot for a few seconds to shoot your opponents. Quite repetitive if you ask me.
Naturally, shooting from behind a wall is not the only aspect here. You’re able to take a more Daniel Craig-styled approach as well. Eliminate villains by a blow with the fist, drag a guard across the table and take him out in stealth or just toss him through the window or over the balcony. Pretty cool, and your close combat is rewarded with the so-called ‘focus aims’. You can save up to three of them and they allow you to take out an adversary with one single shot. Unfortunately you don’t do the fighting yourself, just push the button and 007 takes care of it for you.
Another part of the game are the high speed pursuits as we know them from the movies. With Bizarre Creations as developer, makers of racing games such as BLUR and Project Gotham Racing, it’s not surprising that this aspect in James Bond: Blood Stone is just about the only element that was really thrilling. Nevertheless this part could have been better as well. The makers tried to put so many actions and explosions in the pursuits that it became nearly impossible to complete the sequence in one single go. It’s often just hoping you make it to the next checkpoint so you don’t have to start over from scratch. The excitement of the chase becomes a matter of trial and error, untill the point you know exactly what will happen and where to go. Not quite the adrenaline rush and squeaking wheels you’d expect from high speed pursuits.
After about five hours of game time the adventure comes to an end. The fans amongst you could have another go at it at 007 level or try to unlock all possible trophies but I’ve had enough. You can also battle other enthusiasts in the online multiplayer where you have the choice to take on other players (as a more powerful Bond) with your goal being to stop a bomb from going off, or you can go for the more classic games such as the team deathmatch. Just like the single player mode, however, this isn’t a real prize winner either.
Those thinking they’re buying a good shooter with this game are sadly mistaken and the adventure is also to be desired. The only aspect at a decent level is the part of the high speed pursuits, but if you want to race there are plenty of other, better suited, games out there. All in all this game isn’t totally bad though, with nice graphics and amazing sound. However, to be honest, James Bond: Blood Stone is a mediocre game, both for beginners as well as for fans of the famous British spy.