James Bond 007: Blood Stone - Shaken and Stirred Not in a Good Way

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Most developers tend to stick to one genre of games as it allows them to master it fully. There are a few like Criterion who can break free from the norm to make both a kick ass racing game (Burnout series) as well as a first person shooter (Black) but other than that, it’s never really worked out too well for anyone. Developer Bizarre Creations, best known for the Project Gotham Racing series moved out from the Racing genre into the action space with The Club and the results were rather lackluster. And their latest offering, James Bond: Blood Stone suffers the same fate.__STARTQUOTE__Perhaps Blood Stone’s biggest fault lies in the fact that it borrows way too much from other games.__ENDQUOTE__Perhaps Blood Stone’s biggest fault lies in the fact that it borrows way too much from other games. As a result of this, it fails to carve an identity for itself. Some games like Darksiders, another amalgamation of famous game mechanics could pull it off but with Blood Stone I always felt I was playing a poor man’s Splinter Cell, Arkham Asylum, Split Second, Bourne Ultimatum etc.

Just another day at the office for Bond

In case the name hasn’t tipped you off by now, Blood Stone is James Bond’s latest video game outing, not based on any movie surprisingly. It’s the usual gamut of espionage, terrorism, deceit, greed and ‘grave threat to the West’ that you’d expect from any Bond medium. The story isn’t particularly engaging and even though Daniel Craig has voiced Bond, he does sound particularly wooden, just like his face (oh yes I did).

Blood Stone is a cover based shooter at heart and it does live up to that moniker fairly well. What sours the experience is the fact that at times, the cover system can get a bit annoying as you’ll find yourself taking cover against objects you don’t intend to. While slipping into cover feels natural, getting out of cover to make a dash for the door feels rather stiff and clunky. Plus the AI you face in every single level is so brain dead, this game is painfully simple even at the normal difficulty.

Being Bond definitely has its perks

Besides the combat you’ll indulge in a fair bit of detective work, courtesy of your smart phone inspired by Arkham Asylum. This phone is pretty much your life support in this game giving you hints, pointing you to your next objective(s) and even informing you of enemy threat(s) nearby. Once enemies are detected, the phone allows you to get the drop on them by pointing out their locations to you, just like, you guessed it, Arkham Asylum. If the game was challenging enough, this would make stealth a necessity but as of now, it’s merely a means for players to indulge in some close quarter silent takedowns. Silent takedowns grant you something called “Focused Kills” which are nothing but one shot kills in slow motion (Splinter Cell: Conviction says Hi).
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While gameplay itself feels borrowed, the game definitely packs in a ton of level variety. I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the set pieces that included a level on a speeding hovercraft, being chased by a giant piece of machinery and some racing levels that felt like they were ripped straight out of Split Second. The racing levels obviously exist due to the developer’s experience in this field but surprisingly, vehicular controls felt a bit sloppy. That and the fact that there’s an excessive amount of stuff going on in nearly every racing level made me crash my ride quite a few times. Games like Split Second maintained a perfect balance of “OMG” moments with white knuckled racing but Bizarre went a bit over board on those scripted moments which lead to more of a distraction than sheer amazement.

Sam Fisher would be proud

Visually the game’s pretty impressive although it is a bit on the dark side (literally not figuratively). Levels are well detailed, lighting effects are particularly gorgeous and the game runs at a stable frame rate throughout all the on-foot and vehicular action. Car detailing as expected is gorgeous and thanks to some nifty motion blur effects, the sense of speed is highly satisfying. Explosions and fire effects on the other hand are shameful and look like they’ve stepped out of a PS2 game.

Those Krav Maga classes were totally worth it

Blood Stone ships with a multiplayer mode but I just couldn’t find a populated server to play on. I tried finding one at multiple times during the day but it seemed like I was the only one in the world playing this on the PC. Still I doubt it would be anything to write home about as I only came across three conventional adversarial modes.

No chopper too high

So as you can see Blood Stone is not a terrible game but then again, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the game (it’s like a guilty pleasure of sorts) but at the same time this isn’t something I would spend money on. It’s sad really because the game is ripe with potential and with a bit of polish, it could have reached the next level. As it stands now, Blood Stone is nothing but an above average shooter that doesn’t deserve your hard earned money. Try it out if you wish only when it hits the bargain bin.

Reviewer's Rig:

  • CPU: Intel i7 920
  • Motherboard: Republic Of Gamers X58 extreme III
  • RAM: Corsair Dominator GTX 1600
  • Cabinet: CM 690 II Advanced
  • PSU: CM 1000w silent pro
  • GPU: Asus GTX470
  • Keyboard: Razer Lycosa
  • Headphones: Razer Carcharias
  • Monitor: Benq E2420HD series

Published Date: Nov 08, 2010 09:30 am | Updated Date: Nov 08, 2010 09:30 am