James Bond: Blood Stone is a big deal for developer Bizarre Creations. Thanks to movie studio MGM’s financial woes, the next film in the 007 series has been given the silver screen kibosh indefinitely. That means the only place Bond fans can get their fix of Daniel Craig’s sauve stealthy operative anytime soon, is in the Liverpool-based developer’s game or GoldenEye 007 on Wii. We recently visited Bizarre’s studios to get an extensive hands-on with the game. Below, you'll find out why Blood Stone’s Bond is every bit as badass as the recent films.
Above: Daniel Craig provides his voice throughout the game, usally while karate chopping folk in the junk
Yeah, we known it’s a walking, talking, mortgage-paying cliché, but in Blood Stone’s case it’s true. Take the level in Istanbul we play at Bizarre’s studios. Breathlessly paced, it never lets up as soon as you sneak into the impeccably styled shoes of the secret agent. We start by parachuting onto a swanky yacht with 007, before taking the crew out courtesy of some stealthy takedowns. But this is only the beginning.
Above: Pah, do your worst giant drill of doom. You're no match for Bond's Gucci loafers
Half an hour later, and in the space of one mission we’ve taken part in a thrilling speed boat chase, caused millions worth of damage to downtown Istanbul in a further two car chases and escaped a huge drill in an underground facility. Oh, and murdered about a hundred men with machinegun fire. Which brings us neatly to the fact…
Much like Splinter Cell: Conviction, Britain’s biggest skirt-chasing assassin gets rewarded for dispatching baddies with melee combat. Complete a stealth takedown and you're rewarded with a Focus Aim. Like Fisher’s adventure, these shots lock onto enemies in glorious slow-mo for ultra stylish kills. And they’re hugely handy for when you find yourself boxed in. The system encourages you to mix things up with bare knuckle beatdowns and your shooting skills, helping keep the action fresh.
Above: These unsuspecting fools are begging to be taken down with some slow motion, bullet-based justice
Seeing as Bizarre Creations developed Project Gotham Racing and Blur, you’d expect Bond’s Aston Martin-endorsed car chases to be a bit special. While we’re a little disappointed at the cars’ stupid dodgem physics (which see you bounce off obstacles like everything’s made of elastic), there’s no denying these sections are mega exciting.
Above: No matter how well you drive that super car, shit is still gonna hit the fan in spectacular fashion
Though they’re tightly scripted, seeing huge trucks flipping over mere feet from the front of your extortionate dream machine and dodging fire from helicopters is still a spectacle worthy of any Bond film.
He might spend as much time bedding slinky supermodels and knocking back martinis as, y’know, actually doing secret agent stuff while on her majesty’s secret service. But Bond is still an incredibly tough SOB. Blood Stone really shows off the physical side of Craig’s 007, too.
The vast array of brutal hand-to-hand manoeuvres he uses to take down foes are wince-inducing and most look like they belong in the octagonal ring of UFC rather than a Bond game. The motion capture for them is also performed by Craig’s stunt man from the films, meaning the fights feel like they’ve been ripped straight from Quantum of Solace or Casino Royale.
Because Craig's Bond is so damn gritty, he doesn’t use biros with built-in death rays or GoldenEye-esque laser watches. Instead, the only real gadget he has is a smart phone. Turn it on, and it works a bit like the detective mode in Batman: Arkham Asylum, giving everything a distinct green tint.
Above: Using the smart phone helps you get the drop on your enemies
We use it in a level where James has to infiltrate <brace yourselves> a Turkish construction site. Wooh! Admittedly, being able to see your targets moving through walls (they appear as moving red cursors) certainly makes stealth easier. Even if such tech kinda seems like overkill against a bunch of brassed-off brickies.
If we're honest, Blood Stone doesn’t try to reinvent the really violent wheel. It’s basically a pretty conventional cover shooter set in the Splinter Cell: Conviction mould. But what it does do is bring the 007 license to life convincingly with all the spectacular set pieces, car chases and fighty finesse you’d expect from Bond on the big screen. The game sneaks onto shelves on November 11th.
Oct 8, 2010
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