PS3 Reviews: James Bond 007: Blood Stone Review

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

James Bond 007: Blood Stone Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

7.1

Gameplay:

 

7.6

Sound:

 

7.9

Control:

 

8.2

Replay Value:

 

7.0

Online Gameplay:

 

7.0

Overall Rating:       7.5

 

 

Publisher:

Activision

Developer:

Bizarre Creations

Number Of Players:

1-16

Genre:

Action/Adventure

James Bond is an iconic character that began with a book, moved on to film, and finally entered the world of interactive entertainment. This year, we don’t get a 007 movie but we do get a new game, called James Bond 007: Blood Stone. It features the voices of Daniel Craig and Judi Dench, plus a classic action/adventure structure that involves third-person shooting, high-speed driving, and a wee bit of stealth. Perhaps above all else, this game feels very much like Bond, in that it embraces many of the traits that fans enjoy about the franchise. It has that slick, high-class style, a few of those dry witticisms that are staples of the series, and plenty of nonstop, over-the-top action. It doesn’t look all that fantastic, there’s too much in the way of generic shooter gameplay, and there are a few small technical shortcomings, but it controls well, it’s relatively fun to play, and yes…it is indeed Bond.

The graphics are a low point of the production, as there’s a lack of detail in regards to character design, which comes across as plastic and decidedly inhuman. It’s odd that some of the environments look pretty damn good from afar; various natural elements of certain levels are quite appealing but when up-close-and-personal, the plain, almost bland presentation becomes painfully obvious. The special effects aren’t bad, though, and the animations – especially concerning the melee takedowns – are smooth and satisfying. It also seemed as if the vehicle-based sections – cars, boats, whatever – featured more refined visuals…or maybe I’m just hallucinating. When on foot, sneaking about or engaged in yet another massive one-sided firefight, things are just underwhelming. If the game had released a couple years back, we wouldn’t be forced to hold it to higher standards.

The sound is a better, thanks to the aforementioned inclusion of the real Bond actors, and therefore, any dialogue sounds realistic and believable. The sharp effects that accompany bullet impact, explosions, and gut-wrenching body shots are also quite good, and then we have the benefit of a classic Bond soundtrack. I think we hear the standard theme a few too many times and they could’ve tossed in a few more tracks, but it still helps to define this as a quintessential 007 quest. The weapons don’t offer a rich enough “crack,” though, and I didn’t really believe in the authenticity of some of the vehicle engines, but I suppose those could be deemed minor complaints. The balance remains mostly stable throughout (despite a few small inconsistencies) and in the end, the quality voices and resounding effects are most noticeable and most appreciated. When you make another daring escape and the sound really comes together, you kinda feel like a super-cool spy.

The gameplay consists of a number of different mechanics, as you might’ve guessed. First, there’s the standard third-person shooter gameplay, which involves taking cover and simply aiming with L1 and firing with R1. If you’re close enough to an enemy, whether you’re in cover or not, you can simply press the Square button to execute a melee takedown. It can be stealthy provided no one sees you and you can’t be harmed by flying bullets when in the midst of that always-entertaining animation. If you were in cover before executing the takedown, you’ll snap back into cover after completing the maneuver, which is a nice touch. Then there are a few driving sections, which has you piloting sweet vehicles like speed boats and the world’s hottest cars. Lastly, there are some minor platforming elements, but they’re mostly scripted; i.e., you just hit the button prompts on screen.

The latter aspect of the game leads me to my first point, and in some ways, my first gripe- it’s almost too accessible, even on the regular difficulty setting. Perhaps because Bizarre Creations knew they could target more casual gamers with a Bond title, they limited the number of demands on the player. Sort of like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, you don’t have to worry about dying when shimmying along a ledge or jumping across a gap; but this is even easier, as you just press the button that shows up on the screen. Also, no matter where you are in the game, the tutorial instructions keep popping up to remind you…as if you forgot in the last 15 minutes. Lastly, they don’t do much to enhance the sneaking/stealth, because there’s no button for crouch, and you really don’t have any nifty gadgets. There are just a few mini-games that rely on timing and reflexes, typically done when hacking doors or cameras.

In other words, despite all the different gameplay elements, it’s all very straightforward and easily grasped. Sure, you can press the Circle button for the hand brake in a car, but it doesn’t seem to be that much different than the regular brake. You don’t actually throw punches or kicks with various buttons, you simply press the Square button (or sometimes the Circle button) to execute a preset takedown, which you will only watch. Even the one special skill, the Focus Aim, is simple enough for a child. You gain Focus Aims by performing up-close takedowns, and you just press L2 instead of the usual aim button (L1). The game will slow and the aiming reticule will automatically center on the nearest enemy. Press the R1 button and bam, instant kill. It’s sorta cool to string three together, though; with all three Focus Aims available, just hold L2, tap R1 to kill the first foe, and the aim will automatically shift to victim #2 and then victim #3. You get a trophy for that, by the way; “Three Birds With One Stone.”

But the point is, there’s a whole lot of “auto” going on. That’s basically the biggest drawback, although I suppose it isn’t a flaw if you’re not a big gamer. On the plus side, we have to understand that it lets just about any Bond fan play and succeed as the dapper spy. Besides, there is plenty of good, too. The foes aren’t entirely stupid – even if they’ll advance towards your hiding position too often, just waiting to get taken down – as they’ll find cover quickly, strafe across open environments, and punish you if you get too cocky. See, despite the legend, Bond really is just a man, so he can’t withstand much in the way of gunfire before succumbing. I liked that aspect, because it really forced you to play with a calm, strategic mind, and because the overpowering Focus Aim was tied to the takedowns, you were further encouraged to be patient. Also, the door swings both ways; you can’t take much, and neither can your foes. Well aimed shots will find their mark.

I sensed a very small collision detection issue every now and then; it usually involved the pistol, though, and it might be a range problem; i.e., I was just too far away so the bullet missed its mark, despite the reticule being in perfect position. The driving mechanics are decent albeit a little loose, and such chases represent many of the most intense parts of the game. The pacing is great, too, because you won’t be doing the same thing over and over; the developers have a gunfight lead to a chase, which leads to a calmer, searching-for-clues portion, which once again builds nicely to a really entertaining climax. The environmental diversity is also a bonus, and that’s essential: Bond enjoys the most beautiful scenery this planet has to offer, and we do catch glimpses of that throughout the adventure. Lavish casinos, snow-covered mountains, teeming, lively city streets, intimidating factory settings, etc.

You can hold a couple weapons at once (usually a handgun and a rifle or larger weapon of some kind, like a rocket launcher) and you have a very handy Smartphone, which has a number of different purposes. It acts as radar, as it points out bad guys and their positions, and it also acts as a built-in map, as it points you in the correct direction if you’re lost. Heck, if you can get close enough to them and complete the quick, reflex-oriented mini-game, the Smartphone can even disable security cameras. It’s a nice touch but it doesn’t quite make up for the lack of any real challenge, and the auto-assist/hand-holding that is always prevalent. Also, while the pacing is fine the balance isn’t quite so great, as you do spend the majority of your time fending off hordes of enemies. Unfortunately, this often causes the game to downshift into the unfulfilling realm of “generic third-person shooter" and that's a problem.

That being said, James Bond 007: Blood Stone ought to be fun for all the avid fans and in reality, it isn’t a bad game. In fact, it’s a good game that falls short in the overall quality department due to lacking graphics, an over-emphasis on shooting, driving controls that feel a mite loose, and what I call “over-accessibility.” It’s like they tried to make the game for both the hardcore and the casual and you know, that’s hard to do. But the control is stable and reliable, there’s some realism involved because bullets really hurt, the pacing (if not the balance) is effective, the recognizable voices are a plus, and the game really encourages you to be patient and keep playing. The multiplayer option is there but while it can be fun, it probably won’t be a big draw. Also, only time will tell in regards to the online balance…I get the feeling they might have to issue a patch or two.

It’s a fun game. It’s just not great.

The Good: A few nice landscapes. Voices from real Bond actors help. Nicely combined adventure elements. Stable control. Fitting, appealing atmosphere. General game design and structure is good.

The Bad: Plain, even boring graphics. “Overly accessible” and too easy. Over-emphasis on shooting aspect. Driving mechanic is iffy.

The Ugly: I’m sorry, but they didn’t do Judi Dench any justice at all.

11/6/2010 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (34 posts)

X_shadowkilla_X
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 10:31:18 PM
Reply

Pass...too many games coming, too little money earned

Last edited by X_shadowkilla_X on 11/6/2010 10:32:41 PM

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 10:41:29 PM
Reply

Terribly sorry you had to put yourself through another Bond "adventure."

Has anyone seen the Goldeneye update for Wii? It looks so awful I can't believe it.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 4 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 10:49:45 PM

Nah, I had fun. It only scored lower because it's not as refined as it should be...but I still had fun.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 11:21:56 PM

I haven't seen it. Nor do I plan to. Yeppie-yay for old N64 game with new, last gen graphics with all of it's hideous jaggies, and effects that make you say, "crap, gaming actually looked THAT bad?". Nintendo is running out of ideas.

Nintendo rant: OFF

Agree with this comment 2 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 11:40:21 PM

@Ben What do you mean by "not as refined?"

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 12:33:45 AM

I saw a commercial for Goldeneye, the jaggies were HORRIBLE.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

___________
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 6:20:35 AM

im about a hour through it, and i thought i could never see a uglier game!
god, honestly it looks worse than some ps2 games!
bloody ghost of sparta looks better than goldeneye!
a psp game looking better than a wii game?
now that aint right!

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bOnEs
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 9:18:52 AM

the wii is not known for it's graphics since it is not an HD system so, complaining about them is pointless... they do look better than they did on the 64 though...

Agree with this comment 1 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 11:33:37 AM

What does graphic have to do with anything? You guys are acting like spoiled brats. I play my 16-bit games all the time. Those graphic are primitive. But are the games good? Fudge ye-ah! Stop complaining & concentrate on wether you can enjoy yourself.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 3 down Disagree with this comment

Jawknee
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 1:37:47 PM

Drrr! Ok, can you get off your soap box now? If a game is coming out in generation on more powerful consoles than those games 16-bit games came out on then its only fair we expect games with next gen graphics.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 2:10:56 PM

I'm just saying they can work on these things before release, the Wii may not be HD, but the game could have been made smoother for the fans. It does in fact look the same as blowing up the N64 game onto an HD TV.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Temjin001
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 3:02:28 PM

Concerning the Bond game in review. I've still been waiting for a good Bond game for what seems like forever. And despite my prior lamentations of Golden Eye, it was the last best Bond game I've played... BUt seeing that gaming has evolved ten fold since the original Golden Eye, it isn't what it used to be. Needless to say, I like the content that drives the Bond series. I enjoy the movies and I want another great gaming hit under it's license, but it looks like I'll have to keep waiting until that day comes.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Qubex
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 11:26:20 PM
Reply

Well the trailers look good... I thought it may have done better... again, possibly a bargain bin game later on...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Danny007
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 11:37:38 PM
Reply

Its an okay game, but its just not worth the asking price. Like Qubex said, wait till its in the bargain bin.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Saturday, November 06, 2010 @ 11:42:02 PM
Reply

Rare, come back to me & make me a 007 game again =)

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

___________
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 1:27:30 AM
Reply

this is definetly the best bond game since the ps1 days!
sad to see the bond series go from true stealth to a more action orientated environment but they did do the movies proud.
i think they portrayed the movies perfectly, theres heaps of typical bond moments, be it driving a car into a boat, driving a car off a bridge and chase another car on sheet ice, or racing a plane on a hovercraft.
its got heaps of set piece moments which really set the pace quite nicely, gets the pace of the game nice and high.
the stealth was really good too, the game gives you a choice at all times to run in guns blazing or try for a more stealth appeal.

only thing i did not like was the level design they did not make it easy for you to play stealth fully.
in most stealth games there is heaps of paths you can take to avoid the enemies, you can normally go above them, behind them, below them.
like splinter cell conviction if you wanted to go stealth there was 101 different ways to take your enemies out silently.
but with this you have one way, and one way only, which makes it really hard because 99% of the time if you take any of the guys out the other will see you.
theres no way to place yourself in a situation where you can kill someone without being caught.

that and the cover system is F*CKED!!!!!!!
take a look at splinter cell conviction THAT is how you do a cover system!!!!!!!!!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

johnld
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 1:45:41 AM

thats why ben highlighted patience when going for the kills. you can kill anyone without being seen in most stealth games, just gotta pick the right time.

oh, by the way, the best bond game is goldeneye.

Last edited by johnld on 11/7/2010 1:47:21 AM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

___________
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 6:18:10 AM

no, the best bond game is tomorrow never dies.

most good stealth games give you plenty of chances to kill your enemies silently without anyone noticing, like splinter cell conviction in allot of the levels you can sneak underneath enemies pop up below them and drag them down.
blood stone never lets you do anything like that, its like a corridor shooter you never get the chance to flank your enemies you have to take them out from in front of them.
thats the worst thing a game can do, be a corridor game it just gets really boring!
you need to be able to flank your enemies, sneak into another room so you can get behind them and than drop a grenade in the center of them and since they have there back turned to you there none the wiser.
thats the whole point of shooters, using your head and try to get the upper hand.
if your constantly in front of them, than how can you gain the upper hand?
all you can do is take cover and pop and shoot AKA KZ2.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

PorkChopGamer
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 10:04:59 AM

The best James Bond game, without question, is Everything or Nothing. I don't understand why you're heaping praise on Splinter Cell Conviction's cover and stealth systems, seeing as the stealth was lifted straight from Arkham Asylum, even dow to the trash talking thugs. And the cover system was a slightly more fluid version of what Grin used in Wanted and Terminator: Salvation. As for Blood Stone, I normally get turned off by one button hand to hand combat, but even near the end I am still seeing new takedowns so I'm happy with it. Great game.

Last edited by PorkChopGamer on 11/7/2010 10:19:55 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Danny007
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 12:22:29 PM

Sorry I gotta go with Nightfire.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bustin98
Tuesday, November 09, 2010 @ 12:38:15 AM

Gears of War has a better cover system than Conviction, though the 'stickiness' of the first one wore thin.

Tomorrow Never Dies was a cash-in game hoping to ride on Goldeneye, as was every other Bond game since. Nightfire was great though. The new Goldeneye is a ton of fun, with different ways to approach a level, though there does seem to be the 'right' way, and the 'more difficult and time consuming' way.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

johnld
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 1:43:18 AM
Reply

The last 2 james bond movies was a disappointment to me. they barely had any gadgets. i know he just became 007 but why not meet a younger Q to make him gadgets. the only gadget i remember in casino royale is the defib in the car. i dont think quantum had any gadgets. how can you make a james bond movie without any gadgets.

The best james bond game i played is still goldeneye, screw the daniel craig remake of it. i still have my n64 plugged into my tv. i always played license to kill mode with dual destovels with paintball mode on. and of course, you can forget the slappers only matches. having all 4 of us circling the same spot chopping and not hitting any was hilarious.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Alienange
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 5:01:02 PM
Reply

A nice review but I kinda wished you'd fleshed out the multiplayer part. I played QoS and although the sp was just mediocre, it was the online play that was the most fun. It had kit creation, golden guns, cool game modes and unavoidable proximity mines. What's in this game??

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Danny007
Sunday, November 07, 2010 @ 6:40:02 PM

So far, from what I've played, its not that great online. You're not allowed to use grenades in the game and it would be super useful if you had them. Plus the controls for me are kind of wacky and the character you play as isn't centered in the middle of the screen, which annoys me. The environments/ levels are kind of bland online. I don't know what other game modes exist besides Team Deathmatch. I'd stick with the online in QOS. I love playing that online to.

Last edited by Danny007 on 11/7/2010 6:43:00 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 2:17:40 AM
Reply

i enjoyed the 1st/3rd person gameplay in QoS, i esecially like using just a pistol, just like Bond would. i agree with Johnld, there should definately be gadgets in any bond game. i don't care for graphics, so long as the gameplay is over-the-top action just like in the bond movies!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 3:07:53 PM

Dude... if you hit the submit button, just wait for the page to load... hitting it a million times = a million posts... even if you don't see your page doing anything.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 2:17:42 AM
Reply

i enjoyed the 1st/3rd person gameplay in QoS, i esecially like using just a pistol, just like Bond would. i agree with Johnld, there should definately be gadgets in any bond game. i don't care for graphics, so long as the gameplay is over-the-top action just like in the bond movies!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 2:17:43 AM
Reply

i enjoyed the 1st/3rd person gameplay in QoS, i esecially like using just a pistol, just like Bond would. i agree with Johnld, there should definately be gadgets in any bond game. i don't care for graphics, so long as the gameplay is over-the-top action just like in the bond movies!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 2:17:45 AM
Reply

i enjoyed the 1st/3rd person gameplay in QoS, i esecially like using just a pistol, just like Bond would. i agree with Johnld, there should definately be gadgets in any bond game. i don't care for graphics, so long as the gameplay is over-the-top action just like in the bond movies!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 2:17:47 AM
Reply

i enjoyed the 1st/3rd person gameplay in QoS, i esecially like using just a pistol, just like Bond would. i agree with Johnld, there should definately be gadgets in any bond game. i don't care for graphics, so long as the gameplay is over-the-top action just like in the bond movies!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 2:17:48 AM
Reply

i enjoyed the 1st/3rd person gameplay in QoS, i esecially like using just a pistol, just like Bond would. i agree with Johnld, there should definately be gadgets in any bond game. i don't care for graphics, so long as the gameplay is over-the-top action just like in the bond movies!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 2:17:51 AM
Reply

i enjoyed the 1st/3rd person gameplay in QoS, i esecially like using just a pistol, just like Bond would. i agree with Johnld, there should definately be gadgets in any bond game. i don't care for graphics, so long as the gameplay is over-the-top action just like in the bond movies!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SubjectiveTruth
Monday, November 08, 2010 @ 9:00:22 PM

Jesus god man!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

crunchy_nut_kid
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 1:53:27 AM
Reply

lol epic fail!! sorry

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

Did Destiny live up to your expectations?
Yes it did and then some!
Not quite but it's still great.
No, it's only okay.
Not at all; it's a huge disappointment.

Previous Poll Results