007: Blood Stone Review

I love the James Bond franchise. From the guns to the gadgets, and the airplanes to the Aston Martins, James Bond is synonymous with luxury, clean-cut bad-assery. And this game is no different. Except for the clean cut part.

See, the game has beautiful opening cinematics that would make any game made in the last year blush. The mouths on characters don’t quite match their speech, but I’ve yet to find a game that really does, so it’s kind of a non-issue. The polish on the game is pretty great, and while it isn’t the longest game I’ve ever played, it does have some of my favourite moments in video games. Ever. Read on to see why.

First up, the driving is ridiculously amazing. Maybe it’s being behind the wheel of a DBS, or perhaps the fact that it just feels like you’re going 180 kph without a 3D-TV. It does make sense that the driving is great, considering that the game is developed by Bizarre Creations, the creators of the Project Gotham Racing Series. And there are tons of these racing scenes – boats, hovercraft, and of course, Aston Martins. The game actually ends in a car chase across the glorious nation of Greece, where you can see the stunning vistas of the Acropolis and the Rio Antirrio bridge.

And that’s where my problem lies. Even going at 180kph, it would take an hour of driving to see those two locations, because they’re nearly 200 kilometres apart in real life! Now, that wouldn’t bother any normal person, but you see the name at the top of this page? Yeah, I’m Greek, and that detail bugs me.

Thrilling moments are what Bond is known for, and there are some really original ones in Blood Stone. The most thrilling of the game is in a fast-paced escape of a tunnel boring machine. Very thrilling, incredible detailing on the machine, it was probably the best part of the game. And it only lasted twenty seconds.

There is a reason for that though, and that is the developers wanting to move onto other gameplay mechanics. There is a ton of variety in Blood Stone; you always feel like you’re doing something new, whether it’s releasing exhaust valves or destroying planes, controlling cranes or free running across rooftops, there is a ton of gameplay packed onto this disc, and it should be enjoyed by everyone. The fast paced nature of it means that you’re going through the game pretty quickly, and they didn’t really pack enough missions onto the disc (the game is over in about five or six hours) to make this an absolute buy. With that said, rent it, because you’ll get a decent fill of James Bond with Blood Stone… at least until the next movie rolls around in a couple of years.

When I started playing Blood Stone, within the first half hour or so, I had the same feeling when I played Quantum of Solace: “Alright, let’s get through this so I can be done with it.” Not the best experience you can possibly have with a video game, but nonetheless, it did deliver some pretty incredible action moments. Either way, any game that makes you want to see the end credits just to say you finished it isn’t really doing the audience any favours.

Blood Stone is that disappointment you find when watching the latest movie in your favourite series. Ostensibly, it sucks, but you love it because it’s your favourite series. That may only be true for myself as I’m such a Bond fan, and truth be told, you could rebrand this game with any other characters and it would still make sense, but the fact is that this isn’t any other franchise. This is James Bond.