Reviewed: November 11, 2010
Released: November 2, 2010
It may have been an attempt to make sure the James Bond franchise stays alive and healthy in the mind of consumer, or the biggest publisher oversight of the year, but for whatever reason, November saw the release of two separate James Bond games for the DS, from the same developer. If you only plan on buying one James Bond game for your DS, then go ahead and grab Goldeneye. If you want an additional game that is pretty darn similar, but different enough to be considered a different game, then Blood Stone is right up your alley. I really canít imagine there are too many of you though.|
Blood Stone follows the exploits of James Bond as he and an attractive lady fight terrorists and get orders from Judy Dench. Obviously there is a lot more to the actual story than that, but the details serve only to create set pieces where James Bond can do cool stuff.
As with all the other Bond titles that released this year, Blood Stone has Daniel Craig on hand to provide the voice of James Bond, as well as the talents of Judy Dench to provide the voice of M. The actors treat the material about as well as you would expect them to, and the technical limitations of the DS are not doing them any favors. They sound rough, and sometimes disjointed, as though every word was recorded separately and then assembled into a coherent sentence in the editing room. The game probably would have functioned just as well with text dialogue, but in the end, itís nice to hear Mr. Craig and Mrs. Dench speaking the lines. It adds an air of high production value to a game that sometimes feels cheap and rushed.
The graphics of the game do not impress. We do have certain low expectations when it comes to the DS, but Blood Stone cannot be forgiven. The animation of the characters does not help the cause either. Everybody moves with the stiffness of a pose-able action figure with rusted joints. Blood Stone has some visual and audio problems, but it is still a totally playable game, simply because the things that matter are in place.
Blood Stone is a third person cover shooter, with elements of stealth, filled with a whole bunch of other random things to do. You will spend time in the sky, in cars, shooting from boats, playing Texas Hold Ďem and even cracking safes. Variety keeps Blood Stone moving along at an interesting pace, and the shooting that breaks up the set pieces is solid, and works well.
The game switches back and forth between stealth sequences, and run and gun sequences. The parts of the game where you are pulling off silent takedowns, and stealthily shooting cameras, end up being the most rewarding. Stealth can be incredibly rewarding, but there is a line that has to be walked that is dangerously close to to the frustrating zone. Blood Stone keeps the stealth elements from becoming dull by breaking up encounters, and making mistakes rarely game ending. The run and gun parts of the game are not as fun, but do well to deliver the feeling of the unstoppable force of the Daniel Craig version of James Bond.
The online multiplayer is limited, offering gunfights for up to four players across a couple of different familiar modes. There isnít much to it, and really just kind of feels like a afterthought. At review time, it was difficult to get into games because so few people are playing.
The game has some presentation problems, but they are not game breaking. The graphics are not good, the animations are stilted, the audio is deplorable, but the actual playing the game part, the important part, is pretty fun. Running and shooting is intense, sneaking your way through the guarded hallways is rewarding, and when that stuff gets boring, you will find yourself behind the wheel of a car, or playing some Texas Hold ĎEm. The game stays pretty diverse throughout, and it goes a long way towards keeping it enjoyable. Itís a flawed game, but a fun flawed game.