Previews

James Bond 007 Bloodstone: Will it recapture 007's gaming glory?

No, Mr Bond, I expect you to drive...

There is a massive amount of pressure for us to make a great Bond game," admits Blood Stone's Level Designer Pete Collier.

"But we also see it as an opportunity for us to step up to the plate."

Bizarre and Bond have been linked for a while and the obvious assumption was that the team behind Blur and Project Gotham would be creating a driving-centric secret agent spree.

Seeing as we've been provided with more images of Commander Jimmy B hooning around in various Aston Martins than on foot and we were only actually allowed hands-on with a short driving section, it would be reasonable to assume this is still the case.

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However, it transpires that James Bond 007: Blood Stone has more of a 70/30 split between shooting and vehicles.

This then, means that Blood Stone actually shares more in common with their arcade shooter The Club than Project Gotham.

From the demo we got to grips with, the rapid run-and-gun style they developed has certainly translated well to Daniel Craig's no-nonsense approach to bumping off baddies for Her Majesty.

BOND BOMBSHELL
It was also difficult to ignore similarities to several other third-person shooters, most notably Splinter Cell Conviction.

Although Bizarre assure us that they implemented their 'Focus Kill' mechanic before Conviction's release, the ability to rapidly dispose of thugs after performing one of Bond's many hand-to-hand takedowns is mighty familiar to Fisher's 'Mark and Execute' skill.

And true, Craig's Bond is a gadget-free kinda guy but his augmented reality smart phone (which shows the position and awareness state of enemies as well as objectives) is clearly his equivalent of Batman's natty Detective Mode.

But this is still a Bond game, make no mistake: "Daniel Craig is the central pillar to Blood Stone," adds Level Designer Vic Krengel.

"We needed to represent his physicality and brutality." In addition to the aforementioned takedowns (context-sensitive button-press finishers that were mo-capped by Craig's stunt double), Bond tends to go head-on with his foes and linking kills together (again, like you could in The Club) aids the agent's progress through the game.

LUCKY (00) SEVEN
You'll also find the occasional opportunity for 007 to employ some of his trademark ingenuity; a 'boss fight' against a gunship with Bond on foot can be ended prematurely by dropping the load carried by a crane above it on the chopper.

You could also opt for a more stealthy approach and take advantage of the great cover system but it lacks the same satisfaction of breaking a man's bones with your bare hands.

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("We had to tone down some of the snapping sound effects as they were deemed 'too visceral'," says Collier.)

Although we're nervous about Activision's reluctance to let us get some good hands-on time with the shooting, and the waxy-skinned character models don't impress us, Bizarre's dedication to making an authentic, cinematic and original Bond experience should certainly be lauded.

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