The latest James Bond film, Bond 23, may have been suspended indefinitely due to MGM’s financial situation. However, the video game series continues with what would have been the video game tie-in with Bizarre Creations’ James Bond 007: Blood Stone. Blood Stone is being touted as the complete James Bond experience. The last Bond game, Quantum of Solace, arguably did not do a whole lot in regards to satisfying the series’ fans but Blood Stone hopes to rectify this and deliver a worthwhile experience.
Blood Stone, which is being penned by the famed James Bond film writer Bruce Feirstein, has the player take on the role of the protagonist, James Bond – voiced by the character’s feature film actor, Daniel Craig. He is accompanied by sidekick Nicole Hunter (Joss Stone) with both of them embarking on a mission to find researcher, Dr. Malcolm Tedworth. The professor is a leading biomedical researcher at Midhurst Industries who has been working with the British government to build top-secret weaponry. His disappearance led M to request Bond’s assistance, requiring the agent to proceed to one of the game’s various locations, Istanbul, where Tedworth was last seen. These locales span across a total of five locations: Athens, Istanbul, Monaco, Siberia and Bangkok all haves a presence within the game.
James Bond 007: Blood Stone follows a generic plot that consists of terrorists having a weapon that is so powerful that Bond has to keep tracks on it. Blood Stone has a bland story that evidently fails to capitalize on the mood and settings of the James Bond franchise. The poor direction which the developers took with the story is something which will clearly show by the time players have finished the campaign because, once the game has been completed, they will forget how they even arrived at the last level of Blood Stone.
The game’s prologue begins with the appearance of Greco – a military general – who is planning an attack on the G-20 Summit in Athens. After intercepting this information, M sends Bond to investigate the situation and to prevent a potential attack. After an encounter with Greco on his, Bond chases him with both a boat and a car throughout the city. Bond chases the bomb-rigged vehicle aimed for the G-20 summit. This fairly action-packed start to the game is exactly something most would come to expect from Bond titles.
Once you get into the later stages of the game, Blood Stone’s gameplay is fairly impressive. Players will find themselves frequently popping into cover and, mixed with the generally simple gunplay, the end result is ultimately satisfying to a certain extent. Upon executing enemies with melee attacks, you’re given something called a focus shot. Players can essentially store up to three of these and they’ll definitely prove useful. By holding down the focus button, the bullet of gun is automatically fired at the enemies head thus guaranteeing a headshot. If you have multiple focus shots stocked, then you can potentially chain them all together to make for an efficient way of taking out an area full of enemies. One thing to take into consideration, though, is that while aiming to kill the enemies, you’ll hardly ever miss. This takes away from the incentive to save up the focus shots but, still, some may not care and enjoy the thrill of popping a room full of enemies with bullets to the forehead.
The game gives the player an alternate vision mode made accessible via Bond’s cell phone. There are no gadgets in this game except this main device as it gives players every bit of information they need, ranging from revealing the next waypoint, the location and statuses of nearby enemies, and also scanning intel items. The ability to see enemies through walls and checking their alert stage is something you’ll see yourself doing a lot and the vision mode will undoubtedly be switched on most of the time. However, when the cell phone is activated, you get constant static over your screen that increases when running, which is understandable, but it still may prove to be irritating during tense scenes of aversion and dodging.
Judging purely by the fact that Bizarre Creations, the folks behind Project Gotham Racing and Blur, developed the game, there’s bound to be a heavy emphasis on driving, and this is exactly the case. Although Blood Stone isn’t principally a racing game, the driving experience is something more than a simple add-on to boost the variety in gameplay of the title. The several driving sequences will introduce Bond to a super car that is used to pursue the target. When you fall too far behind the target and they escape, the game forces the player to continue back from the last checkpoint, so there’s an element of challenge with the driving experience. However, with that said, Blood Stone doesn’t necessarily benefit from the driving gameplay by leaps and bounds. If you’re a decent driver, avoiding any damage to the car it won’t fall in your favor any more than reckless driving, hence making the the driving parts feel scripted. In the end it’s just a matter of getting from point A to point B. Sure, the sense of speed will be felt but ultimately the car chases are too simplistic. Thankfully for the game’s sake, driving isn’t the heart of Blood Stone, which is a shame because the driving elements that are present should of delivered more than a simple event every now and then.
The basic third-person action gameplay present in the main story mode carries over to the game’s multiplayer mode as well. In addition to the Blood Stone’s story mode, an online multiplayer mode is also included. There are two groups – blue and red – where players are able to try their hand at the standard team deathmatch mode. Also joined by this is the last-man standing mode. There’s also an objective option which sees players with their team attempting to take over three control points while the other team’s objective is to stop them. Overall, the online multiplayer does feel like a tacked-on feature. If you liked the multiplayer component of the previously released, Quantum of Solace, then you’ll like this, but if you didn’t and haven’t played it, then you will likely see Blood Stone‘s multiplayer as a needless addition to the game.
Sure, there may not be a memorable villain and the story will be long forgotten by most by the end of the game, but everything else is present in James Bond 007: Blood Stone, for instance the fast cars, the sexy ladies, various combat methods, and an all-in-one gadget, makes for an authentic James Bond experience. Unfortunately, it’s not linked to the James Bond universe in a meaningful way (partly due to the missing movie adaptation). Blood Stone is an enjoyable game if you can see through the bland driving action, forgettable story and the shoehorned multiplayer mode, but at the end of the day this ambitious game has a lot of unfulfilled potential that could further add onto the promise that this series has going for itself. Based on the fact that everything present in Blood Stone can be found in other games with a bigger scale, the highest recommendation of trying out the latest Bond outing is a rental.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Gameplay elements such as focus shots is a nice addition and visuals are generally lovely.
– Third-person action is a little clumsy.
– Tacked-on multiplayer mode.