James Bond: Blood Stone Review (360)

Blood Stone is the 2nd game developed under Activision after acquiring the Bond license and the first to be developed by Bizarre Creations. The game is a 3rd person shooter with racing segments thrown in for good measures. It was released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 2nd, there is also a Nintendo DS version crafted by n-Space.

With the MGM financial situation, Bond 23 was postponed until Nov 2012 at this point, so Activision and Bizarre Creation took the opporunity to create an original Bond tale starring the current James Bond, Daniel Craig. Does this game leave us a little shaken?

What We Liked:

  • The engine powering the game is solid and versatile. It handles the shooting, the driving, and the one off boat chase sequence with ease.
  • The “feel” of James Bond. This is a tough one to explain, but Bond is unlike many action heroes.  He isn’t exactly a one man wrecking mission even though he tends to fly solo. It’s more because he is smart about his environment then charging head first into a situation. And I think this game understands that. It is just as rewarding to stick behind cover and take out enemies with melee moves and focus attacks than it is to run into a room gun ablazing, which 9 times out of 10 won’t really work.
  • The locations. You’ll travel the world in this game, and while none of the locations are really out there for a Bond product, they are enjoyable nonetheless. You’ll visit Istanbul, and a casino, you’ll chase a train through ice covered paths and even pursue a suspect in a truck.
  • A decent selection of guns, which for the most part all feel just slightly different.
  • The opening theme is pretty good.

What We Didn’t Like:

  • There’s no way around it, the models are AWFUL in this game. Daniel Craig and Judi Dench look like they had their faces melted off or something. It was unbearable to look at throughout the course of the game. What went wrong?

  • The driving sections felt like what I can only describe as guided on-rail experiences. They were so overly scripted that you could pretty much memorize the traffic patterns if you played the level once or twice. Then you are pretty much guided down a singular path and if you fall too far behind must restart, but the game never really makes it clear what that distance is. Also, it lacks a sense of accomplishment because no matter how well you drive, you can never outrun your goal so its pretty much just a pre-scripted chase sequence, which is I guess what they were going for, but it doesn’t really work.
  • The shooting felt a little off in the game can’t quite put my finger to it, but it felt too loose I guess. Also for some strange reason doesn’t allow you to really aim while in cover, and I don’t mean aiming blindfire, it’s called blindfire for a reason, but I mean lining up your shot so you are at least in close proximity when you pop out of cover. The best example of this is during a lift sequence when using a sniper rifle, I tried to line up the shots so wouldn’t be exposed too long, and the gun would be aimed at like empty spaces of the map!
  • Another point on the guns, I know its like “tradition” now to only have your character be able to carry two guns at once, but it is a REAL pain in the arse when the first gun is pre-selected already. I realize its Bond’s signature weapon, but why not allow the player to hold a 3rd gun if he ALWAYS has the pistol as his default?
  • This is a personal peeve, but I’ve never really thought of Bond as the cold-blooded killer type. And I know he kills people for a living, hence the whole license to kill, but he doesn’t kill people to kill people. There’s one level in particular when you are sneaking into a casino where the guy is tossing guards off balconies just because, and I thought that was a little out of character. I mean we don’t know if they were evil especially being that he is sneaking up on most of them.
  • The non-movie characters are pretty bland. There’s no real clear villain, and the Bond girl is all but non-existent. Sure Joss Stone is in the game, but her role is very limited. And this will be a spoiler, but I really dislike how similar the end is to Casino Royale.

There’s also a multiplayer component, which I’ve only played twice, and probably will never play again. I don’t think that’s enough time to give it a fair assessment, but I think it more than tells you how I feel about it.

All in all, I think the game does a great job in capturing the “feel” of being James Bond, it just kind of misses the boat on everything else. It is a functionally game, and I had a lot of fun with it, but with a run-time of about 5 hours, and little to no reason to play it again, I can only recommend a rental at best. Which pains me as a hardcore Bond fan.

Recommendation: Rental.

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