The more violent but still suave Daniel Craig version of James Bond gets an original, cinematic adventure in James Bond 007: Blood Stone, Bizarre Creations new action game that mixes shooting, boat racing and neck snapping melee.
The makers of The Club and Blur combine their multi-genre talents in this third-person, globe-trotting video game version of a Bond action flick. The Blood Stone opening cinematic is pure Bond, a combination of sultry silhouettes and millions of glittering diamonds, as is the opening playable sequence.
Daniel Craig's Bond kicked off the action in Activision's hands-off preview by parachuting onto the helipad of a yacht floating on the shores of Athens, Greece. His target was the slick and slimy Greco, an arms dealer who appears to be hellbent on disrupting the G20 summit by blowing it up.
Bond starts his adventure by taking cover. That's an important mechanic in Blood Stone, as Bond can take out enemies quietly with a rushing melee attack from cover or kill them from afar with a shot to the head. Opting for a melee attack will give the player up to three "Focus Aim" tokens. These can be cashed in, in a sense, to let the player clear a room full of bad guys, in slow motion and all at once.
As Bond worked his way through the yacht toward Greco, taking down bodyguards and lackeys from cover - Bond will have over a hundred "corner context moves" to keep the bad guy-killing fresh - it was clear the better parts of Bizarre's The Club would make their way into Blood Stone. When Bond rushed his enemies, even amid gunfire, the camera kicked into a cinematic mode, providing a more dramatic angle on the violence.
When Bond did finally clear through enough bad guys and caught up with Greco - wouldn't you know it? - an attack helicopter strafed the boat, offering a chance for his prey to escape. To the boat chase sequence!
Bond's speed boating skills were put to the test in a spin through the Mediterranean, with 007 having to dodge enemy boats, helicopter gunfire and stay on course. A few helpful, but not overly obvious bright orange buoys outlined Bond's pathway and the cinematic action was highlighted with lens flares, jumping over banks of land and flaming, exploding enemy boats.
In Blood Stone, James Bond can drive a speedboat and shoot a gun, if he's close enough to his enemies. He can also shoot massive fuel canisters to take down missile launching helicopters, as Bond did at the climax of the chase sequence.
Then, for good measure, he launched the speedboat off a ramp and into Greco's villa, leaping out at the last second and rolling to safety.
More gunfights followed, more use of Blood Stone's precision targeting Focus Aim mechanic and ultimately, another chase sequence. This time, it was in Bond's choice of car, a conveniently placed Aston Martin.
On a sprint to stop a bomb from decimating the G20 summit, Bond made chase, weaving through oncoming traffic. Semis jackknifed in the highway, cars were flipped over by his opponent and a bomb protecting lackey fired shots from the back of the SUV that Bond was after. One expertly placed shot later, that bomb was destroyed, Bond saved the day and the credits rolled.
Bizarre Creations deserves credit for making these disparate game types roll seamlessly together, the action appeared more polished than many licensed James Bond games - a highlight reel of what the developer does best. The virtual versions of Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench are unsettling in that uncanny valley way, but it's doubtful the cutscenes in James Bond 007: Blood Stone will be its most memorable moments.