Not since the magic of GoldenEye on the N64 has a Bond game so impressively captured the trademark coolness of being an international super spy as EA's new take on the franchise; James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing. That said, it seems almost pointless to compare Everything or Nothing to any past Bond game. The same development team that has been churning out marginally improved first-person Bond games for the last four years are the same ones behind this new game. But don't think they took the same approach this time around. EoN borrows liberally from an assortment of videogame sources, yet it's in a class entirely its own.
Everything is authentic Bond. The script, acting, voice-work, stunts, special effects are all handled by the same people behind the recent big screen James Bond films. That includes scriptwriter Bruce Feirstein, John Cleese, Judi Dench, and of course Pierce Brosnan as Bond. And the star power doesn't end there; Richard Kiel, Shannon Elizabeth, Heidi Klum, Mya, and Willem Dafoe also have prominent roles in Everything or Nothing. All of the aforementioned actors not only lent their respective voices to the production, but also their exact likeness via face scanning technology. The result is a game that looks, sounds, and feels just like the genuine article, except instead of watching it all unfold on the big-screen you're controlling the action from the comfort of your living room.
While all of EA's previous Bond games were based off of Hollywood productions of the same successive title, Everything or Nothing features a completely original storyline. That in itself isn't such a big deal, but the fact that the quality of the story and its presentation is right up there with the game's cinematic counterparts is. The specifics of the plot are hardly worth mentioning other than to say it revolves around an evil bad guy named Nikolai Diavolo (Willem Dafoe) and his sinister plan to unleash nanobot technology on the world. If you've ever seen a Bond movie you'll know what to expect here; lots of impressive explosions, over-the-top action scenes, Bond style punch lines, save-the-girl at the last minute rescues, and more ambiguous sexual references than you can shake a French tickler at.
About half of the scenes in Everything or Nothing puts you in the shoes of James Bond as he does his thing on foot. The third-person action here is similar to games like Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, Max Payne, kill.switch, and Siphon Filter in terms of style and functionality. The mechanics of EoN's running and gunning is solid and simple. You can lock-on to nearby enemies by tapping the L1 trigger. While locked on you can manually adjust your aim with the right analog stick and press R1 to shoot. Location specific damage is spot-on; a headshot will instantly drop your opponent while firing into their mid-section will require a fistful of bullets. Enemies utilize logical tactics when confronting Bond; taking cover, sticking their guns around corners and blindly shooting, lobbing grenades at you when you stay in the same place for to long, re-strategizing on the fly, etc.
James is a smooth operator as you move him around in the game world with the left analog stick. It's possible to bust in on a room full of baddies, dodge the majority of their bullets, and cap them all, while sustaining only minimal damage. James can also sidle across objects or walls Solid Snake style, or crouch behind crates and boxes, then pop out for a second or two, squeeze off a few shells, and quickly return to his original position. You can kick it Splinter Cell style by hiding in the shadows and sneaking up on enemies while you view them through heat detection goggles. In another nod to Splinter Cell, James automatically uses his rappel device to walk down the sides of buildings or walls whenever you run him off an edge. A surprisingly functional fisticuffs engine is useful when sheer firepower won't do the trick. Bond can punch, grapple, and execute an assortment of fast and lethal hand-to-hand combat maneuvers when an opponent gets all up in Bond's grill.
The driving engine in Everything or Nothing is courtesy of EA's own Need For Speed: Underground game. You'll be tasked to drive a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the Aston Martin Vanquish, a Triumph Daytona 600, a helicopter, a new machine gun and missile equipped motorcycle, dirt bikes, a high-tech tank made of platinum, and even a rally car through diverse challenges. The assortment of driving levels in EoN are a hell of a lot of fun and range from Grand Theft Auto style navigation missions, Spyhunter-esque freeway shootouts, bleeding fast Stuntman inspired feats of craziness, non-linear Midnight Club II-ey racing sequences, and various combinations thereof. The freeway chase scene had my blood pumping like few games ever have.
Visually, James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing is a flat-out gorgeous looking game. The character models are all nearly perfect recreations of their real-life counterparts, and Bond actually looks like Pierce Brosnan, even when viewed up close. The game has a very crisp and clean look to it throughout, which is surprising considering how much detail is packed into every scene. Texture quality is stunning across the board. The action moves along at a pretty stable 30 frames per second, though it does drop below optimal levels when screen-filling explosions occur. As expected, the voice acting in EoN is right on par with the films. Mya's James Bond theme song adds palpable believability to the proceedings and the sweeping orchestrations and abrupt segues that coincide with the on-screen action never let you forget that Everything or Nothing is a game of cinematic proportions. The sound effects, too, seem ripped right off the silver screen.
James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing is everything a fan of the source material or, indeed, videogames in general could ask for. Games that attempt to be everything to everyone oftentimes end up being nothing to anyone, it's nice to see a developer actually get it right for a change. EA Canada has done a stellar job in taking the Bond license and creating an experience that is right up there with watching the multi-million dollar budget movies.
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