Friday, 5 November 2010

Back to being Bond

November looks to be a great month for games, not least because of Call of Duty this and Assassin’s Creed that, but we also get to see a return to games for one of the world's best loved, mass murdering, traffic law abusing, womanising, degenerate gamblers. Yes, James Bond is back in two titles for us to shoot through.

Ever since its official announcement back at E3, the Goldeneye remake has had me squirming with scepticism that I really hope I am wrong about. Being the first Bond film I saw as well as the first Bond game I played, it just seems wrong that they have ditched Mr Brosnan for the super serious, street brawler in a tuxedo Bond that Daniel Craig has brought to the series.

They’ve also gone and updated the storyline to make it more relevant for today, giving them far too much poetic license to juggle stuff around. The thing that is eating away at my skull like a flesh eating virus on horse steroids is the tank chase sequence, showcased in one of the many pre-release trailers.

The genius behind this sequence in the film was that it turned the car chase concept on its head, for once giving Bond the ridiculously overt upper-hand that was usually reserved for maniacal super villains. It was the simple beauty of a tank chasing down a single car whilst ripping through Russia and its landmarks.

Goldeneye 007 on the N64 did its best to recreate this, even though vehicle sections in first person shooters were relatively primitive back then. It still put you in a tank against basic infantry that gave you a sense of superiority, with a timer simulating the chase element and the need to get a move on.

The new version has gone in completely the wrong direction, putting you against much bigger tank sized enemies and helicopters, completely negating the point of the chase in the first place. I’m sure the new fangled storyline will make it fit, but as far as I’m concerned it is a bit of a butchery in terms of the original point. It was fun being an overpowered forced, and it could have been a great level if you were driving through buildings, smashing off the corners trying to chase down a car with precious Bond girl cargo inside. Now it simply appears to be like any other generic tank section from a shooter.

Bond’s other offering in the lead up to the festive season is Blood Stone, another Daniel Craig themed game, this time in third person with an original story. This one has me quite excited, despite the slightly disappointing critic scores. It looks very similar to EA’s Everything or Nothing, released in 2004. I personally loved this game, as it felt exactly like being in a Brosnan era Bond movie, packed with gadgets, girls and over the top sequences involving plenty of collateral damage and flexible use of the double-0 agent’s license to kill.

Blood Stone looks like it’s another title going for the Bond movie experience packed into a game. Again, Daniel Craig-ifying everything, it looks like it misses out on gadgets and excels in throat punches and twirly appendage breaking grapples. The vehicle sections look like they have turned the excitement up too, although this is to be expected coming from Bizarre Creations, known for Project Gotham Racing and Blur.

Both games seem to be doing okay in the press, although Blood Stone is hitting a couple of bumpy reviews. I just hope that they are decent games and that they aren’t full of glaring errors, simply being masked by the big 007 logo on the game case. Either way, being Bond is always good. I suppose he’s like a slightly more sophisticated Kratos from the God of War series, just as violent and sex hungry, but portrayed with a (colossal) touch more class and suave.

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