|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Bizarre Creations||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-16||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Throughout the game, Bond's mission takes him all across the world, and the varied level environments also keep Blood Stone from getting too predictable. During the action scenes, the game is at its best when you're doing something big and momentous, like blowing up a biological weapons facility, but thankfully the developers allow you negotiate most situations either with full action or just with stealth (much like "action" hand-to-hand, playing entirely stealth can also be a lot of fun). The AI is a little ridiculous when you're sneaking around like a proper spy, but at least you don't run into situations where you're spotted while completely hidden; if you get caught, it's your own fault.
Coming from the team that made Project Gotham Racing, you would expect the vehicular bits of the game to really stand out, and for the most part, this is where Blood Stone really shines. When you're inevitably forced to chase a bad guy or escape a situation, chaos usually reigns, with buildings and towers falling down around you, oncoming traffic to weave through, and a lot of scripted destruction wreaking havoc on your path. It's pretty clear that Bizarre took some cues from Split/Second, because these volatile setpieces feel ripped straight from that style of design. And, boy, does it work. Sadly, these moments of automotive mayhem are all too brief, though they do a great job breaking up all the third-person shooting.
If there's one area where Blood Stone is a bit disappointing, it's that everything that it does, while well-made and thoroughly polished, is fairly basic. A few minutes into the game and you've basically seen almost all of the major mechanics of the game, from the basic shooting to the "focus shot" one-hit kills you earn for takedowns. The weapon selection doesn't change much from the outset, so it's only what 007 is doing in the later levels that keep the game fresh. And to Bizarre's credit, the six-hour single player campaign actually keeps things pretty varied. Blood Stone's narrative, which follows Bond tracking a bioweapon attack to its source, is pretty basic as well. Still, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench's voicework is excellent, and it's nice to see more of the cold, borderline-sociopathic edge Craig has brought to 007. Needless to say, you won't see MI6's top agent getting too cozy with any ladies this timeâit's all espionage on display here. That being said, Blood Stone isn't worth $60, but 007 fans will probably get a kick out of it after the inevitable price drop.
CCC Freelance Writer