James Bond on the Xbox has been a very bland license with the notable film to game process not being all what people had hoped, but now they have scooped a proper license that now allows them to push the Bond games even further and quite frankly be more true to the films themselves.
In true James Bond fashion you have an explosive start to the game with rockets, fighter jets and of course a surround sound experience that will send shock waves through your neighbour’s walls.
After this brief section you will soon realise that unlike the other Bond games on the Xbox, this one is in a third person perspective making it more akin to Splinter Cell. The change was daring but something was certainly needed to kick this series in the behind. By becoming third person the game feels so much more movie like with you seeing the hero James Bond all the time dodging, rolling, shooting and of course not forgetting the ever important bad jokes that will still bring a cheesy grin to your face.
After this first scene you are then shown what is a very good attempt at an intro comparable to the ones you see in the actual Bond movies, lots of computer trickery and of course those cleverly not so naked ladies with material draped flowing along the screen. Even the intro music can convince that this belongs in a James Bond film with Mya singing the lead. If this intro does not convince you that big progress has been made on this game series then get your head out of the sand.
The controls for this new perspective do work very well, although you will notice slight clumsiness especially when henchmen are very close to you. Distance shooting works great, by employing the left trigger to select a target and then using the right analogue to aim more accurately at the head, you can feel satisfied in every shot you let off. Up close though the aiming system and camera goes crazy and you are left with hand to hand fighting. Yes you read right, you can now punch and throw anyone coming to you if you either run out of ammo or you simply can’t get a good shot off with them being so close.
A James Bond game of course also has to have those gadgets with ‘Q’ presenting them to you. With coin grenades, a device that lets you climb walls and cliffs and some other little bits and bobs. The most interesting of these the remote control spider which you can operate to explore otherwise inaccessible areas and also useful for scanning ahead to see what you are up against. Also a reintroduction of the ever popular Jaws character is present to really get your teeth into, or do
I mean the other way round?
Another thing that is a vast improvement is the graphics. Another multi platform game which normally makes me cringe as I know shortcuts are going to be made as time for them to cross develop for three consoles gobbles up development time, but never fear! The graphics are quite staggering certainly if you compare to the other James Bond Xbox games. Everything looks clean, colourful and more importantly eye tantalisingly special. Note reflections on all kinds of surfaces and this is never more noticeable then on the vehicles. Again you get more then just third person and can enjoy some racing and shooting action on the roads, countryside and in built up traffic. This is where you notice the road detail with puddles and light reflections and as for the night time scenes, oh my goodness, what a transformation. There is also a brief flying section as well if all this action is not enough.
Just as you get comfortable with the style of play they throw in something else. After shooting the bad guys you are shown a brief cut scene which shows one of your sexy ladies being chucked from a helicopter which your reaction is of course to jump of the edge with her without any parachute and try and catch her before she hits the bottom to her certain death, quite a nice treat.
With all this authenticity the game does not disappoint with the actual characters either. All the characters look like who they are meant to be like James Bond himself, Q and M. Even the voices are done by the respective actors and this proves that they cannot ever go back to the old format of similar but not quite right approach as it works so well. Music is as you would expect although the boast is it is THX enhanced. Whether this has made a difference hard to say, but the surround and clarity is certainly something you cannot grumble about.
For those with gamers in the family you can also delight in the fact you can now enjoy 2 player co-operative split screen play.
If there is something you can moan about it’s the way you have to save the game. After every mission you have to select it to save and confirming and selecting and confirming and yet more selecting, come on this could have been automatically achieved. Another frustrating part of this save system is that you can’t save within a level instead if you are killed you are sent back to the very beginning of the mission.
What a brilliant transformation this Xbox series has received. All credit to the developers as they have really pulled something out of the bag here that James Bond fans can really get their teeth into. Sexy, sleek and that all important third person perspective that works so well. If you want a movie experience in a game, you cannot go far wrong with this impressive title.
Rating: 4 / 5