November 2010 turned out to be the month of 007. After a two year dry spell following 2008’s Quantum of Solace, James Bond has been cooling his heels while MGM sorts out their financial woes, preventing any more films. Luckily for fans of the British secret agent, Bond is still alive and kicking in the world of gaming with GoldenEye getting a smashing remake
on the Wii and DS, complete with Daniel Craig and everything his portrayal of Bond brings with it.
But owners of the HD consoles aren’t being left out of the action. Activision assigned Bizarre Creations, developer of the highly successful Project Gotham Racing series, to create a completely original 007 adventure called Blood Stone. Instead of an updated reboot of an old film like GoldenEye, Blood Stone is a completely new chapter in Craig’s 007 continuity, penned by Bond screenwriting veteran Bruce Feirstein.
Blood Stone takes a significantly different approach than GoldenEye, while retaining a handful of similar features. For one it’s a third person shooter instead of an FPS, with a few driving missions included as well. While it may seem like Blood Stone harkens back to EA’s third person Bond adventures—Everything or Nothing and From Russia With Love—Blood Stone actually has a lot more in common with standard cover-based third person shooters like Gears of War. There is some hand to hand and stealth involved like in GoldenEye and EA’s games, but Blood Stone is first and foremost a cover-based shooter, not an adventure-espionage title like most of the previous Bond games.
This has some immediate advantages but a few downsides as well. Blood Stone gets you into the action straight away with a parachute assault on a villain’s yacht and a subsequent boat chase through the Athens harbor; there is very little preamble and the game shows you the ropes very quickly, familiarizing you with the basic mechanics in only a minute or so.
After the title sequence you’ll learn some sneaking skills as you explore a besieged archeological dig and then total a beautiful vintage Aston Martin in pursuit of a thug through the streets of Istanbul. So far so good—this is a typical day on the job for James Bond, and the quick and dirty approach the games takes to getting you into the action mirrors Daniel Craig’s more blunt, direct approach to spying.
You can take cover and ambush thugs coming around a corner or return fire if they’ve detected you in attrition shootouts very similar to other third person shooters. Unlike Gears, though, enemies will advance aggressively to flush you out, and on the medium and hard difficulties Bond can take only a few direct hits before dying, a touch of realism I appreciated.
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