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James Bond 007: Blood Stone Review

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Developer: Bizarre Creations Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 2, 2010 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Bond is back, but not on the big screen. No, this time he has taken the action to a console near you. James Bond 007: Blood Stone is a PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 title that Activision has released alongside a remake of the classic GoldenEye for Wii. This is one of the few instances where PS3 and Xbox 360 owners should be jealous. The developers behind Blood Stone are known for their racing games, not shooters, and it shows.

The story is neither inspired by a movie, nor a book. It is completely original. I guess you could see this as a good thing, since a lot of the movie tie-ins have been rather underwhelming, but at the same time, the production value seems to have taken a hit. It would be nice if Activision would give the Bond franchise the budget and development time that it needs in order to stand up to third-person competitors in the market.

The game starts off in typical Bond fashion. You get dispatched to Greece where the G20 is meeting in Athens. Your job is to prevent a bomb from going off. The first level is basically a tutorial, yet it plays out pretty well. You storm a yacht, chase the bad guy by boat with pursuing bad guys on your tail, disable some enemies on land, and then cruise after the culprit in a speeding fast sports car. A lot of the levels are like this with a decent variety of action, driving, and gunning.

The first thing you will notice is that there is no first-person shooting in Blood Stone. For long-time fans of Bond video games, this is probably a disappointment. Let me tell you this: it definitely is when it comes to multi-player, but lends itself better for the single-player narrative that the developers are pushing for. Blood Stone plays a lot like Uncharted. As you know, that’s a big-time Hollywood-type video game, although they could probably learn a few things from Naughty Dog in improving the experience.

Thankfully, the controls are tight and responsive. Most of the actions are done with a simple button press. You can easily go into cover (pressing A or X, depending on 360/PS3), takedown bad guys, aim, move the camera, and control Bond. Unfortunately, there are a few nagging issues that I have to mention such as poor collision detection at times and the almost laughable inability to run someone over with your car. Seriously, one of the bad guys seemed like a rock in the middle of the road.

Single-player is definitely the focus of the development team and it shows. The quality of the package is on par with most other third-person shooters out there. It is not superb by any means, but it holds its own. The length is not tremendously long, either. However, it is still about as long as most other games of this type (roughly six to eight hours). The game has four difficulty levels to choose from and extra achievements/trophies are awarded for playing on 007 instead of an easier difficulty.

The multi-player is underwhelming, to say the least. You only have three modes to choose from: Team Deathmatch, Objective, and Last Man Standing. Not even giving you the option to play by yourself is pretty lame and indeed frustrating, since a lot of the modes do not have sufficient numbers of people playing online in order to even get near a full room. Basically you choose the weapon you want to load out with and can pick a gun up from crates. It’s pretty hard to miss an enemy and melee combat is one-hit kill.

The number of maps is few and far between and they are small, but somehow still manage to feel lifeless. Most of the time one of the teams gets confined to their spawn point where they are pressed by the opposing team. There’s no music or ambient sound, and to make things even more boring, players don’t talk. By this I don’t mean voice chat, but the banter that you see in games like Call of Duty between allies on a team.

Ultimately, James Bond 007: Blood Stone is a promising title that fails on many levels. The single-player experience could have been quite amazing had the production value been higher, the graphics been more consistent, and the silly mechanics fixed (i.e. not being able to run someone over with a car). The car missions, while a welcome diversion, are ridiculously scripted and uninteresting. Online play does not offer any solace, either. In fact, it is a huge waste of your time. The overall package is too full of holes to recommend as a purchase, but definitely consider a rental for hardcore Bond fans.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.5 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review