|007: Everything or Nothing|
|Platforms||GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GBA|
|Genre||Action Packed Third Person Shooter|
|MtAMinutes to Action||0|
|Buy from Amazon|
James Bond: he's the original super-spy. The secret agent with style, he always gets his man... and his woman.
Unfortunately he hasn't always fared so well in video games. Except for Goldeneye, games bearing the 007 insignia have turned out less than stellar.
I recently got my hands on a copy of 007: Everything or Nothing. This EA-published game on the GameCube (it was also released on the PS2 and XBox) was the first 007 game to ditch the first-person-shooter genre that Goldeneye established in favor of a third-person action adventure. (There had been a third-person 007 game on the PlayStation, but it was received poorly and all subsequent 007 games were first-person-shooters.)
Also, this game has more stars than most Hollywood movies. Pierce Brosnan voices 007, Dame Judy Dench is M, John Cleese is Q, our villain is Willem Dafoe, the Bond girls are Heidi Klum and Shannon Elizabeth, with Mya for good measure, Richard Kiel is Jaws... and all the characters are modeled after their actors.
Will 007 get a video game worthy of his refined demeanor, or is this another impotent cash-in on the 007 franchise? Will a cast full of Hollywood stars take this game to the next level, or will these actors fail to make the transition to video game voice acting? Will 007 introduce himself as "Bond, James Bond?" Let's find out now:
(minutes are in bold)
-01 - I turn the GameCube on and am resting comfortably on the couch, watching the cutscene that plays if you don't press start or anything. Something about private armies and some nuclear material being traded. Suddenly a bomb goes off and everybody begins shooting; then a soldier removes his head covering to reveal James Bond. A HUD appears and... whoa, wait a minute!
00 - I have control! I scramble to pick up the controller off the couch next to me. The game tells me to press to Z to take cover, which I do, then instructs me to press L to lock on and R to fire. Bond is back-to-wall behind a pillar, and when I fire at an enemy I'm locked onto he automatically steps out, fires, and steps back. I pick off a couple of guys like this, then crouch behind a low wall (also with Z) and pick off a couple more.
01 - A Harrier Jump Jet takes off and fires a couple of missiles, blowing up part of a building, and what looks to be my only escape route. M (voiced by Judy Dench, which makes me happy) tells me I have to find the briefcase full of nuclear something-or-other. I run out of ammo; Bond discards that gun (a SIG Sauer assault rifle) and pulls out his Walther P99. I find that he automatically reloads when a clip is empty, I wonder about tactical reloads? I find a suit of body armor, which refills my health bar. I'm looking for the briefcase whilst pwning baddies, I run across some more armor....
02 - Pick up another assault rifle, then the briefcase. More baddies rush in, and I get the objective to obtain a rocket launcher. Now there's an objective I can get behind! I head up some stairs and get hit by a rocket. It throws me back, but at least I've found my man! I take out the rocket launcher guy at the top of the stairs, but have to fight my way through a bunch of other guys to get there. By the time I'm done I have the following weapons: Walther P99, SIG Sauer assault rifle, MP5 submachine gun, SPAS-12 combat shotgun.
03 - There's one more guy with a shotgun in cover. I hide in my cover long enough and he comes looking for me; I step around the corner and blow him away with my SPAS-12. Now I can head up the stairs and claim my rocket launcher. The Harrier swoops in; guess I know what the rocket launcher is for.
04 - A Harrier is a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) plane, but it's hovering around like a helicopter. Pretty sure they can't do that in real life. The plane is firing missiles at me, so I return the favor. After two well-placed rockets, the plane loses control, firing off a couple of missiles that blow a hole in the wall. The plane then flies off, but I can't tell if it crashes or not. The baddies have brought in a couple of fighting vehicles down on ground level, and M tells me to escape through the hole in the wall.
05 - I take cover behind a wall and blow up a tank with my rocket launcher. Ah, pressing A (the action button) causes Bond to do a tactical reload. I found a little glitch, one of the enemies I killed dropped his weapon (as they all do) but it remained floating in the air. I also can't pick it up.
06 - Uh-oh, the plane's back. I'm running through the hole in the wall when a pre-rendered cutscene kicks in. The plane fires a missile, and Bond runs toward the camera while an explosion goes off behind him. Classic. He climbs into a helicopter with his briefcase and flies away.
08 - The opening credits roll, featuring a song by Mya called Everything or Nothing; then I get my score for the mission. I get scored for things like number of enemies killed and shot accuracy. I also apparently missed 2 "Bond Moments," which are supposedly unique actions that can be triggered to help beat the mission and look really cool. I get a bronze medal.
09 - Q (John Cleese; I'm so happy right now) describes a couple of gadgets I was apparently equipped with during that mission, the coin grenade and the rappel gun. Then I make a save file. Let's just say, that's the way you start an action game!
10 - I'm on the level select screen, the next level is MI6 training. Hm, training after all that? Perhaps there's more I didn't use during that mission. Ah yes, hand to hand combat. Y throws a left hook, X delivers a right stomach punch. When pressed together, he grabs the guy and executes a neat judo throw, followed by a vicious elbow to the face. Y and A counter, which triggers a seamless animation of Bond catching his opponent's arm, flipping him onto the ground and finishing him off.
11 - The training area is a holographic, Tron-esque world of black and neon lines. I'm given the rappel gun, which is glowing blue; I guess it's also a hologram. You can lock onto edges and fire the grappling hook; Bond then attaches the gun to his belt and you can run straight up the wall. You can move left and right somewhat, drop down, fire your gun. Pressing Z causes him to flip around and face down, in case enemies were coming from below.
12 - The character model of Bond is amazing, high-poly with great textures. I can barely tell it's last gen. It also looks just like Pierce Brosnan. This game has impressed me so far.
13 - When targeting an enemy, you can use the C Stick to adjust your aim, so while he defaults to shooting the target's center of mass, you can move the reticle up for a head shot as well. Or down if you like. I also learn about "Bond Sense" which throws the game into black-and-white, slo-mo and highlights all potential targets. You can also switch weapons and gadgets in this mode, but you can't move or shoot. I guess the idea is to go into Bond Sense, assess your situation, pick your weapon, find your target, then drop back out and go guns blazing.
14 - I jump off a ledge and he automatically uses his rappel gun to rappel down the wall. I also find that while under cover, you can target an enemy and adjust your aim for a head shot, then press the fire button and Bond will make it happen. That's cool. The cover works really great, he automatically steps out from wall cover, or stands up from crouching, fires, then goes right back under cover.
15 - I am given a sniper rifle and have to pick off some guys from a distance. The rifle is really loud, like a real sniper rifle.
16 - I get a remote-controlled spider bomb, which I navigate through some small tunnels and self-destruct to blow up an obstacle.
17 - I finish the training and save. I end up having to press A at lest five times to save. I can see this becoming a pain.
18 - I select the next mission (entitled "A Long Way Down") and get to choose my difficulty. The options are Operative, Agent, and 00 Agent. It also explains the differences (simplified objectives on Operative, harder enemies on 00 Agent) so I choose Agent. I get a mission from M, who is voiced by Judy Dench, if I haven't mentioned that.
19 - An in-engine cutscene shows Bond running across the top of a building with an explosion behind him (again!). He dives off the top of the building and twists around in the air to fire his rappel gun. The camera swings around behind him and... I have control. I'm now rappelling down an exploding building. This. Game. Rocks.
21 - I land on a lower roof of the building and fight my way through some baddies before dropping an explosive in a vent pipe (that was my next objective, achieved by pressing the action button). Now this part of the building is blowing up while I'm on top of it, so I rappel down the side of again, while it's on fire. Why not, right?
22 - I get killed. The screen goes black and white, then the mission restarts without so much as a "how do you do."
24 - I get killed again, this time while I'm rappelling down the second building, and Bond hangs by his belt.
27 - I shot a guy and he fell off a ledge, it looked awesome.
28 - I'm inside the burning building now, I head toward a large window. Suddenly two soldiers rappel down outside and shatter it, spraying the inside of the room with bullets. I manage to shoot them both before I get killed, but I lose most of my health.
30 - I get killed by a guy with a rocket launcher. I have to start back at the beginning of the level even though I was pretty far into it. It's one of those games.
32 - It's great to have a gunfight while flaming bits rain down around. I notice some barrels that look explosive, but I can't get him to target them, and there's no manual aiming.
35 - Ooh, got a rocket launcher.
36 - I take a different route and find armor. There are multiple paths through this level: you can jump off any ledge and he'll rappel down.
37 - I get a Bond Moment: Several guys were standing on a steam vent and the valve was close to me, so I braved their fire and turned the steam on, killing one them and disorienting two more. I pick them off easily.
39 - I get farther than I have yet, but get killed again by a guy I didn't see hiding behind a box. I have to restart the mission again.
40 - I decide to use fisticuffs just to mix things up a bit. I get a guy backed up against the wall and press the punch button; Bond grabs the guy's lapels and slams him into the wall, knocking the guy out cold. Ok, that was cool.
42 - Sometimes when you kill a dude he falls to the ground, then raises himself up and fires off one more shot. That's happened a couple times, but neither of them hit me.
43 - I get a Bond Moment by flipping over a table to use for cover.
44 - I died again. This is pretty tough; although it's not like I haven't played tougher games. *cough*iwannabetheguy*cough*
45 - I find that by pausing the game, you can get a hint about your next Bond Moment.
46 - I revisit Bond Sense, an ability I've neglected since the training mission. As I try it out, I realize I should be using it a lot more than I have been.
47 - Bond Sense gives me time to survey my surroundings and assess my situation, as well as pick out targets accurately. It also lets me target non-enemy objects, like exploding barrels.
49 - My Bond Sense highlights a Usable Object, which turns out to be my next objective: a vent I have to turn off to get past.
50 - I pressed the fire button really close to a bad guy, and Bond clubbed him. Killed him instantly of course, because as we all know anyone can survive a few bullets, but getting hit with a blunt object is instant death.
51 - Rocket launcher guy kills me again! I'd really like to finish this mission before the hour is up.
56 - An unarmed man runs toward me ready to duke it out. I pop him off with my Desert Eagle. Harsh, but that's how the world is.
58 - This time when I get to the rocket launcher guy I just run in and shoot him down before he can get off a shot at me. Then when I get to the guy hiding behind the boxes, I use Bond Sense to see that the ceiling can be targeted. I shoot it, which causes flaming debris to rain down on the unsuspecting man. We're going all the way this time!
59 - I rappel off one more ledge and a cutscene begins, hopefully this is the end. Yes it is! A cutscene shows Bond escaping the area as the woman he was sent to rescue is ushered onto a train.
60 - I get my stats as the hour ends. Too perfect!
Minutes to Action: I'm not sure what to put here. The game started before I was even ready, so let's say 0.
Favorite Thing: Cutscenes merging directly into gameplay. There wasn't even a shot change: the camera just swung around behind him and the HUD appeared.
Least Favorite Thing: Having to press A so many times to save the game.
Graphics: Bond's character model looks amazing. The environments and enemies are good enough.
Sound: The gun sound effects have a kick to them. I appreciated the fact that the sniper rifle is really loud, like in real life. A lot of games give sniper rifles a muffled, almost silenced sound. The voice acting from Dame Judy Dench and John Cleese is spot-on; Pierce Brosnan's work is a little more stilted.
Story: There didn't seem to be much of an overarching story (although I think there's supposed to be), so I'd say storytelling is a weakness of this game.
Environment Design: Most of the set pieces were nice; a couple fell a little flat. There were multiple ways to go on the rappelling mission, which is always nice.
Fun: It was fun. I actually got a bit of a rush the first time I rappelled down the side of the exploding building. Too bad I had to do it so many times....
Keep Playing: Yeah. I'm sure some more cool gadgets will crop up, plus the instruction manual promises I'll get to drive a motorcycle. Don't know if it's a finisher, but I'll put some more time into it and see.
Thoughts: This is The First Hour, where we review the first hour of video games. A mistake a lot of games make is forcing the player to sit through cutscenes at the beginning for long minutes before getting to the action. Let me just say, this game owned that. Most action games take 4-5 minutes before they get started. In this game, I had control before I was even ready to play, and by five minutes I had already fired a handgun, an assault rifle, a submachine gun, a shotgun and a rocket launcher, shot down a plane and blown up a tank with said rocket launcher. Seriously the most action-packed first few minutes I've ever played.
I think the third-person action adventure genre fits 007 a lot better than the first-person-shooter genre. Bond does a lot more than just shooting bad guys, and this game brings that out really well.
I loved getting mission briefings from Dame Judy Dench and John Cleese. I had my doubts, but the Hollywood cast really did make this game something special. The graphics and sound effects are great, a lot went into this game, and it shows. I also wanted to mention that 007 is the perfect fit for a video game: just over-the-top enough to be cool without seeming silly.
That said, I think Mr. Bond got the game he deserved. Too bad he didn't say “Bond, James Bond.”