James Bond 007: Blood Stone Review
While not perfect, a worthy addition to the Bond catalog and the third person genre.
James Bond 007: Bloodstone is not just a Bond game, but a new Bond experience set to move the series forward as a whole. From the story to the presentation, Blood Stone is in every way suitable for the big screen as a Bond production. As a game, Blood Stone excels with fantastic mechanics and terrific singleplayer set pieces but could use more work in the multiplayer department.
The story was penned by Bruce Feirstein of Bond film fame, instead of being based on a Bond film or book, Blood Stone is a completely original story set in the Bond universe. From the word go, Blood Stone starts off with a bang and something that would make the movies proud. Insane action sequences, over the top story elements, and just about everything else you would expect from a Bond film is present. The story itself ends with a cliff hanger and a tease at future titles continuing it. The campaign can be completely in approximately six to eight hours.
Blood Stone runs on a modified version of The Club engine and is pretty impressive in every regard asides for facial rendering and animation. Character faces share few resemblances to their real life counter parts and some of the facial animations will leave you wanting more. The environments simply look stunning, especially during the driving segments. There were moments where I was so distracted by the scenery that I crashed and had to restart the mission as a result. Facial animations aside, character models are well animated and very adaptive to their environment (ex, cover, vaulting, running, etc). The game runs at a solid framerate throughout, which at times is surprising given how much is going on at once in certain scenarios.
Character voices are largely standout and voiced by their factual counterparts with a roster including Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Rory Kinnear, and Joss Stone. A notable exception are voice overs provided by Craig who sounds very uninspired at times, despite her opening song sounding fantastic, Stone's voice work could also use improvement. The soundtrack is composed by Richard Jacques with an opening theme by Joss Stone, and is certainly a great part of the game. Jacques did a truly standout job and one that is certainly on par with any Bond movie offerings.
A third person shooter at heart, Bizarre did an excellent job with the cover and shooting mechanics, the cover system feels very well implemented and balanced perfectly to fit in with the stealth mechanics. The cover system even has its own blindfire mode allowing Bond to supress enemies if health is low. When using blind fire Bond is still susceptible to take damage however but the amount is drastically reduced in comparison to more precise targeting in cover.
Bond has the ability to do melee takedowns when he is near an enemy, there are two types, a regular takedown and a silent takedown. The regular takedown does just what it says but it creates a reasonable amount of noise, if any enemy NPC's are in the area, they could be alerted to your presence. A short "cutscene" erupts showing Bond engaging in hand to hand combat with the NPC dispatching them in the process. There are a considerable number of animations so you likely won't get a "played out" feel after prolonged use. The mechanic is extremely flexible in terms of how it can be pulled off, whether you're in cover, standing behind an enemy, in front of them, or even standing on an object, there are animations for almost every occasion. Performing takedowns rewards you with one of three "Focus Shots", the mechanic is similar to Splinter Cell: Conviction's "mark and execute" feature giving you a one shot kill and can be activated using the Left Bumper.