Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Game Review – James Bond 007: Bloodstone

Formats: PS3 Xbox 360, PC, DS

The dreaded movies to game franchise twists are not without their abysmal performances, especially James Bond. The British Superspy has seen the limelight but has also been involved in some less than favourable video game transitions and you are always left guessing which way every new installment will go and if any of them will ever surpass the legendary Goldeneye. James Bond 007: Bloodstone fortunately, is an invigorating experience right from the get go and while stumbles occasionally with some uneven level structures and fluidity issues in the pace of the game, still holds key memorable moments, fun and varied gaming mechanics along with a great story and narration to present a worthy addition to not only the James Bond franchise, but to the 3rd person shooting market as a whole.

Naturally you get exactly what you’d expect from Bloodstone; being a stand-alone video game that isn’t based off a movie makes it even more impressive that a varied and interesting story has been put into place. While not incredibly deep or meaningful for that matter, playing as Daniel Craig as he goes from one beautiful destination to the next, stepping each time one step closer to another thrilling event or climax while ultimately trying to accomplish his missions, is without any doubt an incredible feeling. All of Bloodstone’s environments scream diversity and try to give you a different feel and style of game-play, be it from guns blazing to a more subtle approach or even a non-violent espionage style mission.

Bloodstone’s appeal lies whole-heartedly in the diversity it offers. You will quickly realise after playing the opening segment of the game that there is a mix of genres at work here and it is always a testament when everything feels balanced and well worked. Indeed you will find yourself in fire-fights from a 3rd person perspective moving from cover to cover, but you will also rely heavily on melee combat. Even though this is all implemented so well, some of Bloodstone’s best moments are behind the steering wheel of different cars that James Bond drives, often filled with explosions and lots of action as you race across cities and frozen landscapes. Perhaps the weak link in this diverse pool of gaming genres is the espionage hacking segments that really offer nothing new to the imagination and serve really as intermissions between the hectic parts of the game.

Most of the game obviously will be spent running and gunning while stopping at cover and thankfully this is done very well. Unfortunately it can be a tad bland sometimes and it really is down to the melee combat to help spice things up. Bond packs a variety of close combat moves that are easily executed to devastating effect. These kills also give you ‘focus kill’ points that allow you to put together series of headshots to take down numerous enemies at once, a very cool and stylish looking finishing move.

Bloodstone does a fantastic job at recreating what makes the new era of James Bond so exciting, the tense and fast-paced action scenes. It is during these moments in the game when Bond is rushing through an area, shooting and fighting his way through swarms of enemies, that you feel like a true secret agent. In particular the chase scenes in Bloodstone emphasize this point. Bloodstone’s main issue is partly due to its very own brilliance. It offers some incredible moments but then finds it very difficult to keep up the tempo it sets itself, often culminating in a really thrilling chase scene or driving level followed by some very dull and boring explorations segments. Things seem to balance out somewhat in the latter portions of the game but the beginning of the game really goes in full-throttle and suddenly puts on the brakes, making it somewhat of a grind to get through these monotonous segments to find the good bits and let Bloodstone shine.

Technically Bloodstone is a very impressive piece of work. You will find yourself constantly in awe at the brilliant graphical content in every department, from character models, to level design and the cut-scenes. Varied environments really work in Bloodstone’s favour as it allows the game to shine graphically and really show you what it can do. The same goes for the different driving segments where you will be more than impressed with the graphical content. The audio is also very impressive, both dialogue and music really portray the James Bond theme, installing a sense of tension and urgency into your missions.

Bloodstone does come with a multiplayer, but unfortunately there is little to say other than it being average. In a market full of top class competitive shooters, it is hard to find a package that includes a filled out campaign such as this, and a brilliant multiplayer experience. You get your standard run of the mill game-types but I find it hard to believe that it will be able to keep your attention for a long period of time.

To conclude, James Bond 007: Bloodstone is a very good, mostly all-rounded package. It lacks a decent multiplayer but this is to be expected and forgiven because the campaign mode for the most part is exciting, engaging and a whole load of fun. Bloodstone shows that it is possible to mix genres together and do it well, offering great quality varied game-play across the entire board. If you are looking for a campaign driven game, this one is for you.

Technical presentation – 9.0

Graphics – 9.0

Game-play – 8.5

Replay value – 4.0

Final score – 7.5 / 10

Igor, CeX UK Contributor
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