Thursday, November 4, 2010

James Bond 007: Blood Stone ReviewJames Bond 007: Blood Stone Review

James Bond desperately needs an intervention, and I'm not just talking about his predilection for dry martinis, fast cars, and even faster women. Sure, those old habits all make a return in James Bond 007: Blood Stone, but the British super-spy's most troubling addiction in this third-person shooter is his cellphone. Though Bond's oh-so-trendy smartphone fills a number of roles in the game (including that of an actual phone!), the device mainly serves to facilitate developer Bizarre Creations' take on the "detective vision" from Batman: Arkham Asylum. Much like the Dark Knight's x-ray specs, 007's phone inexplicably allows you to spot objectives and enemies through walls, as well as listing the current alertness level and equipped weapons of any nearby goons. Digital Daniel Craig looks extra preposterous staring at his not-a-Blackberry as bullets whiz overhead, but because the benefits of the enhanced vision mode tend to outnumber the drawbacks, it becomes the sort of tool you begrudgingly abuse throughout the entire game.

Click the image above to check out all James Bond 007: Blood Stone screens.
When your screen's not awash with the smartphone's green, migraine-inducing pixellation filter, Blood Stone captures a lot of what makes the Bond film franchise so enjoyable in the first place. Once again, 007, with this week's interchangeable female companion in tow, embarks upon a globe-spanning mission to unravel a convoluted terrorist conspiracy -- orchestrated by your standard Bond villain with a sinister-looking facial scar, of course. Bizarre completes the checklist with loads of explosions, lengthy chase sequences, and a tied-to-a-chair interrogation scene or two.
That stuff's kind of a given, though. The part Blood Stone does better than previous Bond games is provide an insane gauntlet of action set-pieces that are absolutely worthy of the films that inspired them. One level, for instance, has you sprinting through a chemical weapons facility while the whole thing blows up around you. Another puts you behind the wheel of a large tow truck, careening through the crumbling streets of Bangkok in pursuit of an even bigger truck. Intense sequences like these put an exclamation point on the otherwise standard, cover-based shooting.
The gunplay itself feels fine enough, and the game's cover system is simple and effective. In addition to the Gears of War-inspired shooting, Bond has the ability to go in for a hand-to-hand kill at the press of a button. Not only are these brutal, close-quarters maneuvers fun to watch, but successful takedowns also reward you by charging up a special slow-mo, auto-targeted headshot -- encouraging a balance between stealth, melee, and gunfire.

Hope you guys enjoy!

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