There is little doubt James Bond: Blood Stone pushes for instant gratification, Bond hijacking a speed boat, leading to a river chase of absurd proportions, but exciting nonetheless. Attack chopper trailing or not, Bond pushes the throttle forward, the surrounding city collapsing around him until he reaches his goal.
This is the best of Blood Stone’s numerous driving scenes, the rest revealing their hand too early, diluting the intensity of the chase. A run through Bangkok against the world’s fastest oversized dump truck becomes far too predictable, the vehicle missing the nine-foot clearance warnings, knocking over signs that fall, blocking pathways. Since it’s always those same signs, it’s not hard to prepare for the upcoming swerve necessary to keep in line.
Blood Stone has a capable driving engine, the enjoyable crisp turns giving the title that larger-than-life Bond feel, and ensuring Daniel Craig’s take on the character remains true to his methods.
Once out of these cars, Bond relies on his shooting skills, the same ones he utilized in the Quantum of Solace game adaptation, for better or worse. The duck-and-cover gunplay is adequate, satisfying when enemies drop from a headshot, infuriating when they take six to the chest and shrug it off. Village mercenary or professional soldier, bulletproof vest or body armor, these foes play their own rules.
Blood Stone rewards stealthy gameplay, odd in a game where wildly ridiculous action is favored in all of the cinematics. Utilizing takedowns, forceful melee or silent choke-out your options, earns the ability for an instant kill with your gun, the CQC apparently invigorating Bond’s shooting sense with the force, and enemy willingness to die. Bond plays by his own rules too, regardless of logic or reality.
The insistence on hiding objects around the playfield to “scan” with a smartphone does nothing right, the interface of the cellular device turning the screen a garish green, while breaking up into a fit of static if you move too quickly. Seeking objects is fine, but running to get to them faster? That’s out of our heroes league.
One would think MI6 would adore the data pulled off computer hard drives and other devices. That’s helpful. However, they surely would understand if Bond missed the internal data on the massive gunship attempting to mow him down, the same one containing one of the masterminds behind all of this. Someone’s priorities are rather skewered. At the very least it’s not a requirement, just a bumbled means of adding something to exploration, while providing a constant guideline as to the next objective.
Cell phones are off once into the simplistic multiplayer, team deathmatch lobbies loaded as MI6 operatives take on mercenaries in similarly paced combat to Gears of War. Those with additional patience, or those lacking the need to keep up the pressure, will find the cover-heavy maps enjoyable to play in, while the slim three-mode selection screen becomes old hat in only a few hours. Custom load outs can’t make up for repetitious game modes.
Blood Stone’s ending is as predictable as they come, the final plot twist obvious considering the minute number of characters, and spoiler-ific title. There’s no one else who could be behind this, leaving this follow-up to Quantum a sequel surviving on shooting instincts alone, and they’re solid enough to carry this one through to the end.
James Bond: Blood Stone is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence. This game can also be found on: PC, PS3, DS.