Licensed to Be Good
Another great thing about EoN, is the cast. Many reviews are saying that this is the first Bond game that feels like a movie, and they're right. Pierce Brosnan (Bond), Judi Dench (M), and John Cleese (Q) all lend their likeness and voice to the game. The main villian of the game, Nikolai Diavola, is played by Willem Dafoe (Spiderman, Platoon). His main lieutenant, Katya Nadanova, is played by SI Swimsuit model Heidi Klum...in a skin-tight silver jumpsuit. Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie, Jay & Silent Bob) plays the newest Bond-girl, and Mya not only provides the theme song but plays an NSA agent within the game. The game is loaded with stars but unlike other games that bulk up on a movie stars, EoN is actually good.
Simply put, the best face-scan implementation I've seen in any game thus far. The framerate has a few hiccups on occasion but it's not very noticable. There's so much crap going on in each scene, whether your racing down a highway on a motorcycle trying to catch Jaws or repelling down an exploding building face-first, you'll probably never notice. The scenery is great and truly does feel like a Bond film.
It may take a little getting used to, but the control is pretty smooth. The new targetting system is definitely different from what you would expect. While it's a great targetting system, you can abuse it fairly easily and line up headshots without much chance of being hit yourself. And for an action shooter game, EoN has an amazing driving engine with tight controls. You'll want to play the motorcycle missions over and over. Like most stealth action games, you can now press against walls and peer around the corner, but that's about as much stealth as you'll get out of EoN because it's full-on action for the majority of the game.
Hello surround sound! The first time you go rapelling face first down that exploding building is pretty damn fun, but the sound is what really pulls you into believing that you are Bond. Gotta love EA's quality with THX certified games. And as stated above the star studded line-up makes for great voice acting. The soundtrack is an eclectic mix of genres that change depending on your current situation.
EoN offers about 10-15 hours of gameplay for the single player mission depending on how many "Bond Moments" you find. On most levels there are multiple ways to get to the end, especially on the driving ones. And much like GoldenEye, you can replay the missions on higher difficulty settings trying to achieve Gold and Platinum rankings on each level, which is fun for anyone like me who obsesses over getting a 100% save file on games. The PS2 triumphs in this category over the other versions with exclusive Online play featuring deathmatches and co-op missions (regular, timed, and points-based). If you just go through the missions, there's not much replay value here, but overall EA has given you a significant amount of replay value if you choose to use it.
Easily the most fun you'll have in a Bond game without digging the N64 out of the closet. Several games of late have tried to combine genres but this one pulls off a good combination of 3rd person shooter, action adventure, and racing/driving. You'll also have fun with the Bond Moments if you can find all of them. There are also several tie-ins from the other films if you're a fan (Willem Dafoe's character apparently used to work for Christopher Walken's character from A View to a Kill). If you're even remotely a fan of the James Bond films, you will enjoy this game immensely.
*** This review was written for Flamevault.com shortly after the game's release. ***