James Bond 007: Blood Stone Preview
The next James Bond film is on indefinite hold but fans of the legendary spy needn’t despair. The next installment, developed by Bizarre Creations and set to be published by Activision, has been officially revealed as James Bond 007: Blood Stone, and it should satisfy the long-time followers. Both Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench will lend their voices to this new authentic production, actress and vocalist Joss Stone will place her pretty face squarely in the limelight as the new Bond girl, and a blend of action and racing elements should be wholly entertaining. The production basics first: Stone is also recording the theme song (co-written by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame), and the game’s story has been penned by Bob Feristein, who wrote “Tomorrow Never Dies” and had a part in producing the scripts for both “GoldenEye” and “The World is Not Enough.” And where will you be headed in this slick new action/adventure? Well, just about everywhere under the sun, of course.
Although the game starts in Athens, you’ll also travel to many exotic locales, including Bangkok, Siberia, Istanbul, and the illustrious South of France. In other words, you can expect that same flash and panache with a heavy dose of class that is synonymous with James Bond. Tossing in a robust 16-player online mode with what should be an engaging single-player campaign is a good idea (especially in this day and age), and although the visuals aren’t overly impressive from what we’ve seen, they’re more than passable. And besides, the team has some time to tweak, adjust, and fine-tune. The gameplay, as you might expect, is a definite mix; one minute, you’ll be racing along in a high-speed chase, and the next, you’ll be involved in a deadly gunfight, which may result in an up-close-and-personal melee confrontation. The shooting aspect utilizes the now-standard third-person cover mechanic and is helped along by the addition of the Focus Aim system. It has an ulterior motive, too...
This new mechanic encourages the player to sample every available element of the gameplay. You know how you might not bother with hand-to-hand encounters when you can just blast your way through…? Well, Bizarre Creations wants to counter that: with each successful melee takedown, you will receive a boost that’ll charge up a neato mode akin to the classic bullet-time mode, where everything slows down, foes are clearly highlighted, and you can dispose of them almost as you see fit (I’d strongly suggest quick, ammo-saving headshots). Another cool part of this whole production is that Bond stuntman Ben Cooke has been tapped for the choreography and animations in Blood Stone. Therefore, when battling an opponent, not only will you be using Daniel Craig’s obvious likeness, but it’ll also look a lot like his movements in any of the recent films. Clearly, the designers have opted for a believable, faithful game incarnation that accurately mirrors the movies.
As for the racing, one would have to assume it’ll be implemented with great skill, primarily due to Bizarre’s proven talents in this particular realm. Responsible for the critically acclaimed Blur and Project Gotham Racing series, we’d be quite surprised if the driving parts of this game turned out to be flawed. However, this being said, it has been confirmed that the driving parts of the adventure will sort of be few and far between, which may or may not disappoint Bond fans. The bottom line is that we should get a game with good pacing, plenty of action, a solid storyline, and an undeniable appeal in regards to the target audience. So whether you’re piloting that very capable Aston Martin DB9 about or laying the smackdown with guns or fists, James Bond 007: Blood Stone will likely keep you immersed for the duration of the quest.
7/19/2010 Ben Dutka