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Blood Stone 007

Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1; 2 - 16 (Online)
Genre: Action/ Third Person Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

It's not really my thing to knock on a classic from the Nintendo 64 era, but let's face facts: Goldeneye 007 (in its original state) hasn't aged well. In its time, it was a landmark title that made first-person shooting more viable on a console than ever before. It also elevated the James Bond brand to an icon among licensed videogames. Over the past decade, however, the shooter genre has gone through such a radical metamorphosis that it's virtually unrecognizable when compared to what it once was. Furthermore, MI6's resident ladykiller has slipped into relative obscurity. There have been some high points (Everything or Nothing) and some low points (Goldeneye: Rogue Agent), but there hasn't been much consistency. This year, Bond's back with two new releases. Fridtjof's got you covered on the Wii-exclusive GoldenEye 007 remake, and I'm here with news on the franchise's next-gen offering, Blood Stone 007. With this game, the developers at Bizarre Creations prove themselves more than capable of handling Ian Fleming's timeless sexist misogynist dinosaur. In fact, I would go so far as to call Blood Stone the best 007 game since GoldenEye. It's not all Aston Martins and vodka martinis, however: it's as derivative as it is linear and the multiplayer component is on the weak side. However, if you're looking for a good way to burn through a weekend, put your trust in Bond.

Blood Stone 007 goes out of its way to establish itself as a full-blown Bond experience. That includes the MGM lion and a wonderfully stylish opening title sequence. Technically speaking, the game looks decent at times and brilliant at others. The faces of Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Joss Stone are easily recognizable, and their emotions are visibly expressed well enough. The only person who doesn't do a good job of expressing emotion is Bond himself, who has simply hardened into a cold, efficient killer -- undoubtedly the result of the painful lessons that he learned in Casino Royale. When you're running and gunning, things have a tendency to look a little plain, but during the game's several set piece moments, you'll be sold. Most of the environmental destruction is scripted, and so are most of the death animations. However, it all looks so good that you won't care. My main complaint with the visuals has to do with Bond's smartphone. Like in Batman: Arkham Asylum, Blood Stone 007 features a sort of detective vision that filters the colors into an almost monochromatic scheme. This will only affect your enjoyment of the visuals if you absolutely need to find every piece of intelligence in the field.

I can't find fault with Blood Stone 007's sound quality. Activision and Bizarre Creations secured Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Joss Stone for voicework, and the performances are fantastic. Craig's Bond is the no-nonsense working man of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Judi Dench's M is assertive, confident, and sharp as a tack, just like she is in the films. The script doesn't do any favors for poor Joss Stone; at times, it feels as if she's simply filling the Bond girl quota of the day. Though her character isn't particularly interesting, her voice is lovely, whether she's singing or merely speaking. Yes, she sings the song that accompanies the credits. Richard Jacques' soundtrack is perfect for a Bond game; it's as bombastic as it is intense.


Blood Stone 007 isn't really out to tell a great story, though what we've got here is passable. It merely involves Bond's attempts to thwart an attempt at mass biological terrorism. Like all of his adventures, this one shuttles him across the globe to locations such as Athens, Istanbul, and Monaco.

Blood Stone 007 makes several improvements over its predecessor, Treyarch's Quantum of Solace. For starters, this game is not a first-person shooter with third-person cover mechanics. Everything is in third-person now. This automatically makes Blood Stone 007 a better game, because the cover system doesn't require a disorienting shift in perspective to work properly. This game is leaner, meaner, and much faster. Think about the 007 films: does Bond merely take potshots at his enemies from the safety of cover throughout the movies? Of course not: he's a born badass who dispatches his enemies with ease while ignoring the bullets that scream past his head. That's exactly how Blood Stone 007 empowers you, and as a result, you feel like Bond.

When it comes to MI6's top 00 agent, what comes to mind? Sweet guns, loose women, and of course, cars that can only be described as "beyond awesome." Bizarre Creations has a history with the racing genre, so it's only natural that they decided to include some exciting road chase scenes. They even threw in a boat chase for good measure. Though these moments are scripted, they are explosive, gorgeous, and intense. All of these vehicular rampages are simply loaded with carnage, and the Bangkok chase deserves special mention.

Blood Stone 007 features an online multiplayer mode featuring statistics tracking and leveling up, and it's all similar to what you'll find in every other shooter these days. There are only three modes, however, and none of them distinguish themselves from the rest of the genre's offerings. As of this writing, there seem to be some connectivity and latency issues, but these problems may be ironed out before the community fills out a bit. As for the actual running and gunning, it works fine, with the exception of the melee attacks and Focus Aims. Melee attacks look weak and aren't satisfying enough, and though Focus Aims must be earned with melee attacks, they require no skill to execute. This makes the mechanic feel absurdly cheap in multiplayer, especially if you're on the receiving end of a Focus Aim shot.


Blood Stone 007 is very easy on the default setting. While enemies aren't as dumb here as they are in Quantum of Solace, they are little more than bullet sponges to begin with. Once you've completed your first playthrough, 007 Mode will give you a brutal challenge. Your speed and accuracy will be your greatest weapons, along with your fists and trusty silenced Walther PP7. I must warn you, though: the difficulty increase between the two highest settings is extremely steep; nothing can prepare you for 007 Mode.

There's a bit of trial-and-error in some of the driving sections. It may take a few tries to get the timing and position down pat, but it's the exact same every time you play it. Oftentimes, these sections look much more difficult than they really are.

Game Mechanics:

Blood Stone 007 takes ideas from a few other franchises, but at least it finds inspiration in all the right places. Primarily, I'm talking about Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction. Blood Stone 007 takes the best elements of that game and applies them to James Bond, a character that, from a professional standpoint, probably has more in common with Sam Fisher than anyone else in the gaming world. That's fine with me, but Blood Stone 007 blatantly rips off Conviction's signature mechanic: the Mark and Execute. In Blood Stone 007, it's the Focus Aim, and it works almost identically. By performing hand-to-hand Takedowns, you will earn the ability to one-shot kill enemies in the blink of an eye. It's bad enough that it uses the same system, but it's slightly worse that it also has to borrow the contrivances behind it as well. To be fair though, it's implemented well enough, and it's a good fit for this universe. There's only one mechanic I don't much care for in Blood Stone 007: the sprint function. You have to hold down the Left Analog Stick to keep sprinting; it's unwieldy and inconvenient.

Blood Stone 007 would have been a good game on its own, but it's legitimately great as a James Bond experience. I suggest a rental first, just to see if it will hold any longevity for you. At the very least, consider it a must-play.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Related Links:

Sony PlayStation 3 Blood Stone 007 Nintendo Wii GoldenEye 007

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