Publisher: EA Games
Developer: EA Redwood Shores
N Amer - 02/17/2004
James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing Review
The latest game in the James Bond universe from Electronic Arts can be summed up in one word: WOW. Everything about this game screams the word, from the all-star cast to the gameplay to the story, this is one slick package. The meat of the game unfolds in the story mode following James and his efforts to stop the nefarious Nikolai Diavolo, a former KGB agent, in his pursuit of world domination. James must run, shoot, drive, race, fly, pilot tanks, and of course make time for the ladies in his pursuit of the madman.
Generally speaking, games
that attempt to incorporate so many various gameplay types end up not doing any
of them particularly well, resulting in a hodge-podge, pasted together game that
isn’t a whole lot of fun. Not so here. EA has taken the various gameplay types
and made each one feel as if they could have built a great game around any one
of them, a remarkable feat in today’s gaming world. Nothing feels out of place
in the game and the various styles meld together to complete a cohesive
experience that really makes you feel as if you are smack dab in the middle of
not a Bond movie, but in the world espionage.
The meat and potatoes of the game is of course the action/shooter dynamic, guiding James through the various environments, picking off bad guys and sabotaging their plans as you go. Where this part of the gameplay stands above the rest is in the amount of strategy and thinking you must do in order to achieve your objectives. Whereas most games encourage you to storm an enemy compound with guns blazing, that really isn’t James’ style. He is a spy after all, not Rambo. You must use caution and wit as you advance, taking advantage of the ample cover that is provided, slinking about in the shadows, otherwise you earn a quick ticket back to MI6 in a plastic bag. James has the ability to hug corners so that he can fire without leaving himself open, as well as being able to fire over crates and such, with the nearly flawless aiming system taking care of the tricky issues of hitting your target in such scenarios. Really the only flaw with the targeting is a problem not so much with the game, as it is with the GameCube controller. You auto-target with the left shoulder button and with the amount of play in this particular button, it makes it a bit frustrating sometimes in the heat of battle when you want to switch to another target, but don’t, because you haven’t let the button pop all the way out. It never poses too big of a problem, as long as you’re mindful of this.
Another really cool aspect of this part of the gameplay is the “Bond Sense”. By tapping left or right on the D-Pad, you enter “Bond Sense”, which is a super slow-mo view of the world where you can quickly change weapons, target enemies, and the coolest part, see where various keys to objectives are, which really comes in handy. For example, you might find yourself stuck in a certain area of a level with no real idea of what you’re supposed to do to advance, you simply go into the “Bond Sense” mode and more times than not, a small detail missed will immediately be brought to your attention. I realize it sounds a bit hokey and “Spiderman-ish”, but in practice, it’s a really cool feature. It is also in this mode where you’ll get to play with the many Bond gadgets, which is almost worth the price of admission on its own. Two of my favorites were by far the Q-Spider and the network tap. The spider is a remote controlled arachnid capable of sneaking through small holes to recon ahead, as well for picking up much-needed items and dispatching enemies. With the way the thing looks, as well as the way it sounds and controls, you’ll find yourself toying with it even when you don’t need to. The network adapter is equally fun because it allows you to tap into enemy systems in order to use them against the enemy. Want to use the weapon systems of a tank you can’t get to, to clear out a hangar? No problem, just target the tank and shoot. Same goes for gun turrets and the like.
The vehicle portions of the game are as equally well done, and EA has even managed to sneak the Need For Speed: Underground engine into the New Orleans section of the game to beautiful effect. There’s just something really awesome about zipping through the rain soaked French Quarter in Bond’s Aston Martin firing missiles and machine guns at anything your heart desires. You’ll also be driving a Porsche Cayenne Turbo that in addition to its weapons, can turn invisible for short periods of time, and it also features a remote control miniature fitted with a laser, handy for cutting away metal grating and for blowing up flammable stuff. These two cars would be more than enough for any game, but you’ll also find yourself competing in a rally race, with of course, your own rally car. Beyond the cars you’ll also be driving a Triumph Daytona 600 crotch rocket (which is loads of fun), a helicopter, and two different tanks, including one made entirely of platinum. Every vehicle handles just the way you would expect them to, making them a complete joy to play with.
The graphics of the game are pretty stellar all the way around, especially the way they’ve rendered the real world stars in the game. The game features some real Hollywood heavy weights in Pierce Brosnan, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, and John Cleese, each one looking remarkably like their real world selves. In addition to those stars mentioned, Heidi Klum, Shannon Elizabeth, Mya, and Richard Kiel, reprising his famous role as Jaws, all play pivotal, important roles in the game. It’s an all-star cast unique thus far in the world of videogames, and it’s pulled of without a hitch. In addition the character models, the varied environments spanning Egypt, Peru, New Orleans, and Russia are vast and very lush. There is a tremendous amount of detail in each locale, featuring smooth and varied textures. The sound of the game fairs every bit as well as the rest of the package, if not better. All of the actors submitted a pretty impressive amount of voice work to the game, and their professionalism shines through, with the exception of Shannon Elizabeth. Now don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate her, um, talents as much as the next guy, but her voice work leaves a bit to desire, but in an otherwise great aural experience, this is a small gripe. The weaponry all feature distinct and realistic sounds all their own, as do the vehicles, and the explosions are chest rattling great if you’re hooked into a surround sound system.
The game also features the standard four player multiplayer modes one would expect in a game like this, as well as a two-player co-op mode. Surprisingly with all of the obvious effort put into the single player experience, the multiplayer does not suffer in the least. Each mode, while standard and fairly vanilla, they remain visceral and more importantly as fun as most first person modes of the same nature.
In closing, this is by far and away the greatest James Bond game since Goldeneye for the N64, and in this gamer’s humble opinion, it even manages to surpass that legendary game. With all of the Hollywood talent signed on for this game, as well as various gameplay types, this game could have easily turned out to be an unmitigated disaster (Matrix, anyone?), but instead it shows just what licensed games can and should be. They’ve crafted a story every bit as compelling as any of the movies, but unique to this medium, and the results are spectacular. Even if you are not a great fan of Bond, you should certainly give this game a chance on its own merits, you won’t be disappointed.
No matter whether you’re runnin’ and gunnin’, sneaking, driving, it is all fun and controls like a dream. Games that feature only one of these varied gameplay types should control so well and be so much fun.
Aside from a few CG clips that look a bit out of place compared to the high quality of the rest of them, this is one pretty game to look at. The stars all look like themselves and everyone, as well as everything, feature an organic, real look to them.
The voice acting, sound effects, and Mya’s Bond song, all conspire together for an aural tour de force. One of the best sounding games yet.
With three different difficulty settings, this game is only as easy or challenging as you want it to be.
The whole idea of taking a very well known license and commodity, and creating something unique and fun with it is great. This is a big budget, Hollywood production converted into a digital world that is more compelling than the movies themselves. From the gadgets to the gameplay to the story, EA took some chances, and the vast majority paid off in victory. They could have easily rehashed one of the movies, but they chose to do something different and that deserves recognition.
Standard modes that maintain the spirit and fun of the main game.
This is one of those rare licensed games that transcend the license, appealing to anyone who enjoys visceral, fast paced games. The high production values of this game, actually take a back seat to the gameplay and experience, blending in as only one facet of the whole package, as it always should. An outstanding game all the way around.
GameZone Review Detail
It’s up to James Bond to save the world again in 007: Everything or Nothing.
Reviewer: The Bearer
Review Date: 03/01/2004