James Bond: Blood Stone (360)

Blood Stone is the most accurate recreation of a Bond film in a video game format. It captures everything that made the films so popular – the tongue in cheek humour, the over-the-top car chases and the far reaching international plot that takes us all over the world.

The environments and graphics in the game are the first thing that caught my attention. The landscapes that make up the 5 levels of the game are split into different chapters, each diverse and unique – Istanbul, Siberia and Burma to name but a few. The attention to detail in each is fantastic. Even though you’ll only catch a glimpse of some areas as you zoom past at 100mph you can tell that Bizzare Creations put a lot of care into creating a realistic, engrossing Bond experience.

The gameplay mirrors Gears of War in many ways. The crouch-poke out to shoot-crouch back gameplay is widely in use here. There’s an emphasis placed on slow and steady gameplay. And it suits Bond well. The running-and-gunning approch that made up most past games doesn’t feel quite as right as being stealthy, assessing the area and picking guys off one at a time. The controls work well and I think they improve on GoW in some ways. When behind cover, B is vault over and A is go round a corner. Assigning both abilities to one button in GoW leads to mistakes, here, it works well. The car sections, which are numerous, control very well and were enjoyable – to be expected as Bizarre mastered the MSR and PGR series. The guns are typical and most of the time you’ll be using either a pistol or a machine gun, some more variety would have een nice.

The gun sounds are accurate and realistic, but don’t quite pack a punch or feel like powerful machines. The sound accurately reflects the situations in the game and definitely add to the experience – during fast-paced driving sequences the music is up-tempo and dramatic, and during stealth missions it is suitably slow and tense.

There are many collectables, and, also like GoW or Left 4 Dead, achievement criteria pop-up and update as you play. There is one for meleeing 150 people, and you’ll see your progression as you go through the game – a nice touch that keeps you playing. The collectables in the levels come in the forum of intelligence, and thankfully you can see how many you’ve collected per level, so you can go back and try and find them all. Add on the achievements that reward different play-styles and there’s a fair amount of reasons to play through again. Not to mention the extra-hard 007 difficulty you unlock upon completion.

I couldn’t try out the multiplayer as only me and one other guy were online! It’s a shame that game communities deteriority so quickly nowadays if you aren’t playing a blockbuster title.

Blood Stone is one of the best, if not the best Bond game since…guess when. The graphics and sound material are fantastic and the gameplay works well. The only downsides are the lack of variety in the gameplay, the shortness of the campaign, and the absence of any playable multiplayer..!

Graphics – 8
Gameplay – 8
Longevity – 6
Originality – 6
Multiplayer – N/A

Overall – 7

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