Blood Stone: Perfunctory Action, Premier Racing
Trying to craft an interactive experience that allows you to feel as bad-ass as James Bond is something that has escaped many developers for some time now. Bizarre Creations is the latest to tempt fate and try to make a Bond game that captures the essence of the films in an interactive medium. Once again you get to play the role of James Bond in his latest adventure, that starts as an assassination attempt at the G-20 Summit, and unravels into a plot involving bio-terrorism that takes you around the world to defeat those behind it.
Without making a game too easy, how do you give a player all the tools they need to come out on top feeling like...well, Bond, without dumbing it down or oversimplifying? What they ended up with is not the perfect answer but is at least an interesting array of actions to dispose of your foes. Since you are shooting down some well funded terrorists, they tend to pave your path with a wealth of ammo and guns. This is to the point that you essentially have unlimited ammunition, which is hardly necessary since aiming is significantly automated. You also have the brute strength route where you can take anyone down with the press of a button, and if you manage to sneak up undetected, you will even do it stealthily enough to avoid detection. Every time that you use a takedown you earn "Focus Aim" which when triggered auto-targets and kills in one shot up to three enemies at a time. All of this adds up to a system that is geared towards the action-focused modern style of Bond films, and flows best when you run in guns blazing and taking down everyone in sight. In general the combat feels a bit too easy, but its the basic building blocks that you are given that let you craft some tight action sequences that fit right into the universe.
Along with the action, Blood Stone brings the gadgetry of a modern Bond film. That is to say there is almost none. The one piece you are left with is probably the most awkward part of the game—your smartphone. This catch-all of a smartphone lets you hack computers and security cameras, locate enemies, collect intel that you find laying around, and marks out the course for you to advance. While this is all great information to have, when using your phone the screen goes into a green night-vision-esque mode that scrambles as you walk at any speed, and dims the game sound. I hated every time I had to pull it out, but felt that without using it I might have missed out on part of the experience.
Heavily integrated into the story are chase sequences, where Bizarre Creations really get to show off their talents. The sense of speed, combined with the great use of score and the scenery which plays out around you (such as falling buildings or car crashes that you have to navigate around) really sets the stage for the most intense parts of the game. Every chase is heavily scripted, and there is really only one route that will get you through to the end. Most of the time, this is not a problem since you are not navigating on dead reckoning, instead you are following after someone else. While you do need to drive well, you don't need to find the beats on your own. I did take issue with the one chase where you are not following someone's lead, and I had to restart a dozen times or so to perfect the path. In a game that really only exists for its story, it is really not suited to repeating any part that many times.
Blood Stone keeps things short, which is for the best since the story doesn't hold up under scrutiny. If you are looking for a fun, quick adventure—and not much else—give Blood Stone a try.