Giant Bomb Review

39 Comments

James Bond 007: Blood Stone Review

3
  • X360
  • PS3

Bond's newest adventure has a few thrilling moments, but the mix of cover-based shooting and car chases doesn't hold up for the duration of its story.


Blood Stone is all about taking cover. 
How many car chases can you fit into one James Bond adventure? If you're respected driving game developer Bizarre Creations, the answer lies somewhere in the neighborhood of "a whole hell of a lot." While the developer's all-new Bond tale is primarily a stiff, basic third-person shooter, the action is peppered with just enough driving sequences to remind you that the developers are really good at making that sort of thing, when they aren't attempting to cram their Blur and Project Gotham Racing experience into a game that doesn't necessarily benefit from that sort of thing. The end result is that Bond's adventure has some nice-looking moments, but feels largely uninspired and dead simple.

With the Bond movie franchise completely sideways at the moment, there's no new film for the developers to draw from. That hasn't stopped Bizarre or Activision, which have instead taken Daniel Craig and Judi Dench and slapped them into an all-new story with singer, Joss Stone, who is as close as 007: Blood Stone gets to a "Bond girl." While you'll get a couple of the characters and actors you'd expect from a Bond experience, a lot of the line delivery is flat, and the story, which has 007 on the hunt for missing research, which leads to potentially weaponized anthrax, which leads to a lot of car chases and occasional explosions... by the end of the game, I had already forgotten why I was even there.

Blood Stone plays like your standard post-Gears cover-based third-person shooter. You can stick to walls, pop out over them to take shots, or blind fire in the general direction of your enemies. You can also execute enemies with up-close melee attacks, which gives you a focus shot. You can store up to three of these, and they operate a bit like the "mark and execute" system from Splinter Cell: Conviction. If you hold down the focus button, you'll automatically aim at an enemy's head, and one shot will take him out. If you have multiple instances stored up, you can chain all three of them together to quickly empty an area of enemies. But the focus system isn't really vital to Blood Stone, because the basic shooting is almost as easy. The game will snap your reticle to your target when you aim, and if you feather the zooming aim button while popping off shots, you'll rarely miss shots, even if the enemies are specks on the far side of a long level and you're firing a silenced pistol. On one hand, it makes sense that a guy like James Bond would be so raw that he can waste guards from such a distance. On the other, it doesn't make for a very challenging game. Blood Stone offers four difficulty settings (one of which is locked until you complete the game once), and you'll need to play one of the higher settings to reduce the amount of auto-aim. But since this also makes Bond less resilient, the net result of setting it to Agent or higher is a slower-paced game that drags on too much.

Like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Blood Stone has an alternate vision mode that shows you your next waypoint, scannable intel items, and the location and current status of any nearby enemies. Seeing your enemies through walls and knowing if they're alert or not is a key piece of info that makes it worth keeping this vision mode on almost all the time. The catch is that the screen gets a layer of static over it when you're in this mode, which can be a little annoying. Also, the in-game conceit for this ability is Bond's cell phone, so whenever you have it enabled, Bond holds his gun in one hand and lazily gazes at his cell phone in the other. It's like he's checking into Foursquare or staring at his Twitter feed in the middle of a firefight or something. It's hardly game-breaking, but it's definitely goofy.

 You encounter this style of car in different regions, but it always has the exact same license plate.
After every couple of areas, the story will call for a car chase. So Bond will hop behind the wheel of some licensed super car and drive along a set track in pursuit of some thug. The whole thing feels really scripted, like you can't actually end the car chase early if you happen to be a great driver. If you fall too far behind, though, the target will get away or, in one case, you'll get shot up by a helicopter that's chasing you. Either way, it's back to the last checkpoint. The driving sequences look great, and there's an awesome sense of speed. But you really feel like you're just making your way up a set track until the game decides that you've driven far enough, at which point it goes into a cutscene that ends the chase.

Aside from the game's solo story mode, there's also a multiplayer component, where you're broken up into two groups (red and blue) and play team deathmatch, a last-man-standing TDM variant, and an objective option, where one team attempts to take over three control points while the other tries to stop them. All of this is set against the same basic third-person action found in the campaign. The map design is a little drab and, overall, the whole mode feels a bit unnecessary. 

Blood Stone isn't bad, but literally every single thing you can find here has been done better elsewhere. Considering there's no shortage of other third-person shooters out there, it's tough to recommend Bond's newest adventure for anything beyond a rental.     Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
39 Comments
Posted by ElectricHaggis

I hadn't even heard of this game until now.  I suppose that wasn't such a big deal.

Posted by Doctorchimp

Jeff thanks for the 3 stars. When do you want me to transfer the money to your paypal?

Edited by Victor018

Dammit, I put a bet on 2 stars.

Posted by Djeffers03

If I still had my lovefilm account I would definitely rent this.

Posted by pickassoreborn

It's a shame, the Quick Look for this didn't fill me with hope.

Posted by MistaSparkle

I really liked that Bourne game they made.

Posted by Olivaw

Kinda doesn't read like a three-star review.
 
But I guess the game is competent enough. I don't know, I kinda feel like shooting some guys from third person, and unlike most game reviewers I don't have a 360 and have never played Gears of War, so maybe this game is for me!

Posted by SuperSambo

I was looking forward to this due to really liking The Club, but after the quicklook and this review I dont think ill bother even renting it. 
 
It just seems joyless.

Edited by Swordfish9

Wow that's pretty quick, just finished watching the demo clip. Man that smartphone viewpoint thing is driving me crazy. 
I was hoping to see the car chase scene, think I will just rent it.

Posted by Funkydupe

It isn't a big deal at all! Bond deserves proper games!

Posted by Renegadegd
@Doctorchimp said:
" Jeff thanks for the 3 stars. When do you want me to transfer the money to your paypal? "
 
haha, the idea of a company bribing someone for a 3 star rating is awesome.
Posted by Crono

This is better than I expected for a non-movie, movie-licensed game.

Posted by Nomin

Time to introduce half-star rating increment, guys

Posted by Zeninnnnnnnn

Bloodstone is one of my favorite songs from Amon Tobin. And that's all I have to say on the matter.

Posted by RVonE
@Nomin said:
"Time to introduce half-star rating increment, guys "

Why?
Posted by Meizzner

seems like an ok game but dont know if its worth 60 dollars though
Posted by Godlyawesomeguy

I would like to see a quicklook soon.

Posted by weegieanawrench
@Doctorchimp: Yeah, I knew it was going to be three stars. Thanks Jeff!
Posted by weegieanawrench
@Godlyawesomeguy: And you can, it's up on the main page now.
Posted by Godlyawesomeguy
@weegieanawrench said:
" @Godlyawesomeguy: And you can, it's up on the main page now. "
Was that there a few minutes ago?
Posted by eagles_band

Same score as Fable 3 lol... You guys need a 10 point rating scale. 

Posted by weegieanawrench
@Godlyawesomeguy: It's been up for quite some time actually. Since 12pm.
Posted by Godlyawesomeguy
@weegieanawrench: oh.........................
 
 
 
 
 
 
shit.
Posted by Brendan

Lol at all the newer users not understanding the 5 star rating scale.  Get educated and stop wasting comment space.
Posted by MaddProdigy

Other than Golden Eye on the Nintendo 64, I've never played a bond game I enjoyed. 3 stars seems a little generous in comparison with Fable 3 as well.

Posted by MisterMouse

It would have been nice for another company to handle the 3rd person part, and also give the car chases something more special...

Posted by TheFreeMan

My hardcore Bond fandom tells me that I'm going to rent it and I'm probably going to like it. I mean, hell, I enjoyed the Bourne game well enough and this looks a lot better than that, so I don't see how I can't like this. 
 
This was a good review, though. I find myself disagreeing a pretty good amount with some giantbomb reviews lately, but there wasn't anything that I thought was particularly off with this one. Well-written, to say the least.

Posted by MadaRenrut
@SuperSambo: I wouldn't put much weight in the quick look or the review my friend.  Jeff and Brad have perfected the art of playing a game so bad and not bothering even trying but making it seem like they are trying to make anyone not want to play it.  The whole alternate vision mode, you don't need to have it on most of the time.  It's used for direction to objective, and if you want before going around a corner to see your targets.  You don't have the cell phone out in the wide open during the middle of a gun battle.  Jeff complaining about that during the quick look and to give it bad markings in his review is a sign that something is up, or he is just lazy.  If in doubt just rent it from Gamefly, just got mine in today.
Posted by HydraHam

I played about 2 hours at a friend and you know what i really dug it, it was like the previous james bond game on 360/ps3 but more polished, granted.. it does have it's faults but i had a blast with it and will buy it when it's in the bargain bin, is it worth 60? no.. 10-20? sure. 
 
I wish games would stop this 4-5 hour campaign, that is ridiculous.. alot of people believe it or not buy games for the single player not for the multiplayer, im tired of all these great games coming out with incredibly short SP with shitty tacked on MP.. like vanquish.. GREAT fucking game but who wants to pay 60$ for a 4-5 hour game? i can literally go buy  6 blu-rays and get 20+ hours of entertainment, i could goto the red box and rent 30 blu-rays or do numerous things and get more for my moneys worth, games like this need to be released at bargain prices, like 29.99-39.99, the sales would be much greater.

Posted by AddyMac
@Jeff said:

" Considering there's no shortage of other third-person shooters out there, it's tough to recommend  "

I've always thought this criticism was a bit meaningless. I mean there's always something better out there, right?
Posted by Ramone
@MadaRenrut: He has one paragraph about the cell phone and he calls it 'goofy' he doesn't claim it got in the way of actually playing the game. And anyway do you think that the game would have got 4 stars or more if Jeff had 'played it right'?
Posted by nail1080
@eagles_band said:
" Same score as Fable 3 lol... You guys need a 10 point rating scale.  "
yeah but different reviewer. 
 
although I have to say, Fable 3 is a great game, proven even more by the fact that on the bombcast all 4 of the guys really want to discuss the game, and all 4 of them are playing it, something which doesn't happen very often. Yet somehow this terrible 007 game gets the same score...it just doesn't make sense. 
Posted by Sanity_Crash

judging by the quick look i was expecting 2 stars.. but whatever.
Posted by DeadManRollin

Well I kinda liked the quantum of solace game, so I think I will try this one out. And I read in a different review that some of the car missions are really exciting.
Posted by Doctorchimp
@AddyMac said:
" @Jeff said:

" Considering there's no shortage of other third-person shooters out there, it's tough to recommend  "

I've always thought this criticism was a bit meaningless. I mean there's always something better out there, right? "
.....right, but when there's a LOT of other good third person shooters, that means it's mediocre. So it gets a mediocre score. 
 
You do realize the point of reviewing is to give you an idea of its quality compared to its contemporaries right?
Posted by CloneTrooper

I traded a bunch of stuff to get this, including Force Unleashed II....which its clearly better than. 
 
I knocked it over in a day, but I dunno....I liked it. I felt it gave you the feeling that you were Bond, since he takes people down with a fair amount of ease in the movies. I played it on the Normal Difficulty and it was a solid fun shooter. But yeah It doesn't have much staying power. 
 
Personally, it was a bit better than Quantum of Solace (Movie, not Game)

Posted by Enigma777

Solid review. The Arkham Asylum vision complain doesn't really bother me and I like what I saw in the Quick Look so I think I'll give this one a rent. I just hope it's better than Quantum of Solace cause that game sucked...

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Posted by MadaRenrut

 It defiantly is worth a rental.  I just played through the game.  Again all of Jeff's complaints about this game are not true. 
You don't need to have the cell phone up at all if you don't want to.  You want to know where the people are in the room, or if there is someone watching the area where you are about to take down a guy then pull it up, it shows red dots, then put it down.  You don't even need it up to find the "collectables" an icon comes up in the bottom right of the scree when you enter an area that has something to "scan", so pull up the phone, turn the camera around till you see the blue icon walk to it and scan it. 
I don't know why Jeff bothers reviewing games if he doesn't give it a fair shot.  Is this game AMAZING. Nope. 
Is it good, yeap. 
This game lets you really have the roll of Bond, easy quick head shots from cover.  Also the driving sequences are very well done, with the exception of just ONE area that the game throws impossible to tell environment sections at you that you really need to be a BOND to get through.  The 007 difficulty is extremely difficult as well.  Other than that play it enjoy it, and Jeff fucking play the game right and review it.  Don't bag on a game when you do stupid shit you don't have to do in it. 
Oh and the multiplayer is very MEH.    

Posted by Gamer_152

It sounds like it takes inspiration from some good places but is still somewhat a generic Bond game and one with some issues at that.

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