From the moment the opening credits roll you know this isn't going to be your typical Bond game. For starters, Everything or Nothing features an all-star cast comprised of Pierce Brosnan, Judy Dench, John Clease, Heidi Klum, Shannon Elizabeth, Willem Dafoe, and Mya, who also performs the theme. Speaking of the theme, it has all the style and sexuality that we have come to expect from a Bond song. EA obviously spared no expense when it comes to production values. EON really brings you into the Bond experience full force and makes you feel like you are in the movies in every way imaginable.
In what can be seen as a breaking of the mold from traditional Bond games EON is played from a third person perspective. This isn't the first Bond game to use this view, but it certainly pulls it off much better than its predecessor *cough* Tomorrow Never Dies. What was that? Who said that? Anyway, as I was saying the third person perspective opens the way for a lot of action elements that wouldn't be possible in a first person shooter. The ability to peek around corners and step out to gun down your enemies is a cool and often necessary tool that could only be done from a 3rd person view. Then there's the addition of the hand to hand combat system. While this could be done in first person it just wouldn't be nearly as effective. There's also the diving behind boxes and wall to avoid fire, the repelling down walls while dodging bullets, and many, many more high action scenarios which the third person is better suited for.
The gameplay in EON has a lot of variety and keeps you constantly entertained and wanting more. Action is the main theme of the game and you will spend most of your time in hand to hand or weapon based combat. The shootouts are spectacular and can sometimes be more exciting than the movies. Like Metal Gear and Splinter Cell EON allows you to slide along walls and peer around corners to give you the lay of the land. You can the step out to blast your foes and step back to take cover from their return fire. This feature is crucial to survival must be mastered to succeed. EON also features an auto lock on feature which can be used in conjunction with the cornering move or by itself. Typically auto-lock features make games exceedingly easy, but in Bond it is a life saver. The enemy A.I. is very good and without the lock-on you would be killed very quickly. You can't even rely on the cornering move to save you. At the very least the enemies will charge your position if you stand still to long, but more often you will find a rocket fired at your feet or a grenade carefully lobbed in your direction. In addition to this enemies don't just stand in open terrain waiting to be riddled with bullets. They dive behind boxes or step behind corners to use the cornering move against you. They will also shoot errantly over boxes or around corners without looking out hoping for that lucky shot to bring you down. Even after death they are still gunning for you. Occasionally enemies will squeeze off a few round as they fall which adds a lot to the realism of the game.
Straight run and gun isn't the only way to complete a mission though. If you so choose, stealth can also be used to dispatch the enemy. You can crouch down to quietly sneak up on you foe and quietly take them down from behind. A number of weapons also have silencers so you aren't forced to always take them down by hand. You can also use your gadgets to your advantage. Bond has a device called a Spiderbot at his disposal which can become quite handy if you wish to pursue a steal approach. The Spiderbot can be controlled via remote and sent to scout ahead. It can also crawl through tight spaces, such as vents, that Bond would never be able to reach. Later this bot will be outfitted with a mine that can be remotely detonated. Now not only can you see you enemies before they know you are there, but you can send them to oblivion without lifting a finger.
There are also a fair number of vehicular missions in EON to keep the gameplay fresh and interesting. These driving levels allow you to explore multiple paths to the goal so if one way isn't working out you have other options. Since EON uses the Need for Speed Underground engine you get a great sense of speed and the vehicle handle pretty well for being a secondary gameplay element. Of course weaponry is a staple of any Bond vehicle and EON has no shortage. Your car comes complete with machine guns and rocket launchers. While the motorcycle comes with some of the same weapons initially you will later get dual flamethrowers and a shotgun to really bring the pain.
What bond game would be complete without the medals? After completing each level you are ranked on several statistics such as completion time, accuracy, ammo conservation, and bond moments. Bond moments are predetermined events you must complete in a level to receive the points. These can be anything from rappelling into a room instead of just walking into it, taking a ramp in a driving level and tons of varying tasks. Depending on your score you will be given either a bronze, silver, or gold medal. Once you have received the gold you can try to beat the additional requirement to obtain the platinum medal. Unlocking the platinum does more than give you a shiny object to ogle. These rewards come in the form of cheat codes for use in the single player, multiplayer levels, characters for multiplayer, and concept art.
EON also has a multiplayer component to add a little more value in for your buck. There are four game modes to choose from Co-op, race, scramble, and arena. In what is something of a mystery to me the Co-op mode differs entirely from the single player game. Instead of just adding in another player to help you in the single player campaign they created an entirely different story and level structure. If you try to complete all the objectives, co-op can be a blast, but if you just play it to get to the end it can be extremely easy. Also since there are no difficulty settings once you have beaten it there is really no point in doing it over. Race is identical to co-op with the addition of a timer you can judge yourself against to see how fast you can beat the level. Scramble mode lets you pick a criterion to be scored on and then you compete against one another based on your criteria. Lastly there is arena which is your standard deathmatch. This is fun for awhile, but there are much better deathmatch games out there. Since this is an EA game we all know that there is no Xbox Live support. This would really have helped the multiplayer component.
The graphics are much better than the most recent Bond predecessors. All the character models are well detailed and look remarkably like their real life counterparts thanks to the face scan technology. The textures are sharp and varied and the lighting is above par. The levels are quite large and there are no load times in mid game. The vehicles have reflection maps to give them a realistic sheen. The particle effects add the most to the game in terms of realism. Explosions have great looking fire effects as do the muzzle flashes. Glass shatters and dust particles add those little touches that go along way. The production values make this game seem like a playable movie more so than any previous Bond game, or any game based on a movie for that matter. The only real complaint I have is with the so so CG they used for the cutscenes. In-game graphics would have been a better choice than using average FMV.
The audio in EON is one of its best assets. Not every game can earn a THX certification, so when one does you know you are in for a treat. When the opening credits roll and the theme song begins you can instantly tell what a THX certification entails. The voice talent is also a stand out in the audio department. With so many big name actors you can at least be assured the voice over will be good. The music is engrossing and blends techno and full orchestral pieces to create and interesting backdrop for the gameplay. In many instances the music is also dynamic, changing to heighten the drama of the moment. Sound effects are crisp and a delight to hear in surround sound.
All in all Everything or Nothing is a wonderful game with a lot to enjoy and only a few negatives. There are a few framerate issues here and there as well as some repetitive comments from the enemies, but these issues are minor and easily overlooked. No game has ever captured the feel of its movie counterpart so well. If EA ever realizes how much they are missing out on by passing up Live they could have a masterpiece on their hands. If you even remotely like action games, give this one a try. With run and gun gameplay, stealth, gadgets, and driving it's sure to have something for you.
Score : 9.1/10
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