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Great graphics, mindless action

india Updated: Nov 16, 2010 14:56 IST
Avinash Bali

Developer Bizarre Creations moved out from the racing genre into the action space with The Club. The results were rather lacklustre. Their latest offering, James Bond: Blood Stone suffers the same fate. It fails to carve an identity for itself.

Blood Stone is James Bond’s latest video game outing. It’s the usual gamut of espionage, terrorism, deceit, greed and ‘grave threat to the West’. The story isn’t particularly engaging and even though Daniel Craig has voiced Bond, he does sound particularly wooden.

Gameplay

Blood Stone is a cover-based shooter at heart and lives up to that moniker fairly well. At times, the cover system can get a bit annoying as you find yourself taking cover against objects you don’t intend to. The AI you face in every single level is so brain dead, this game becomes simple.

Besides the combat, you’ll indulge in a fair bit of detective work courtesy your smartphone inspired by Arkham Asylum. This phone is your life support and gives you hints, points to objectives and even informs you of enemy threats. Once enemies are detected, the phone allows you to get the drop on them by pointing out their locations.

While gameplay itself feels borrowed, the game packs in a ton of level variety. I was also pleasantly surprised by some of the set pieces that included a level on a speeding hovercraft, being chased by a giant piece of machinery and racing levels that felt like they were ripped out of Split Second. Vehicular controls felt a bit sloppy and the fact that there’s an excessive amount of stuff going on in nearly every racing level made me crash my ride quite a few times.

Visually the game’s pretty impressive although a bit on the dark side. Levels are well detailed, lighting effects are gorgeous and the game runs at a stable frame rate throughout the on-foot and vehicular action. Car detailing is nice and thanks to some nifty motion blur effects, the sense of speed is highly satisfying. Explosions and fire effects on the other hand look like they’ve stepped out of a PS2 game.

No multiplayer
Blood Stone ships with a multiplayer mode but I just couldn’t find a populated server to play on. I tried finding one at multiple times during the day but it seemed like I was the only one in the world playing this on the PC. Still I doubt it would be anything to write home about as I only came across three conventional adversarial modes.

What we like
Looks gorgeous
Mindless, fun combat
Exciting set pieces

What we don’t
Clunky driving
Too short
Similar to other games

Verdict
Blood Stone is not a terrible game but then again, it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the game (it’s like a guilty pleasure of sorts) but at the same time this isn’t something I would spend money on. It’s sad really because the game is ripe with potential and with a bit of polish, it could have reached the next level. As it stands now, Blood Stone is nothing but an above average shooter that doesn’t deserve your hard earned money. Try it out if you wish only when it hits the bargain bin.