The latest Bond game (besides the Goldeneye remake) has been quite divisive among professional reviewers; scores from major online sources range from 5/10 to 7.5/10. When a game comes out with scores like those from a series or license that I enjoy, I am compelled to at least give it a try. From what I've played of the game (that is, the entire story), I'd say that I firmly agree with the latter review.
Blood Stone delivers when it comes to the Bond experience: you've got the beautiful girl, the fast cars, and the intrigue that comes with being a spy. After a stunning opening sequence, players are treated to a title sequence that brings back memories of the last two Bond movies, while still feeling fresh. In fact, I'd say that's a good description for the entirety of the single player game: if you liked the feel of the reboot Bond movies, you'll feel right at home playing Blood Stone.
Bizarre Creations clearly put effort into the combat system to not only be a solid shooter, but also give players the feeling that they are Bond. Within minutes of learning the basics of the controls, I was moving from one area to the next by vaulting over and sliding to cover, all the while blasting baddies with my trusty silenced pistol. And when I got close enough to the bad guys for things to get physical, the melee moves are impressive, to say the least. With a single button press, Bond breaks bones, smashes faces, and kicks crotches, all of which make the fact that his fights end in seconds believable. For those of you who keep up-to-date with the latest blockbusters, the combat is like a combination of Mafia 2 and Splinter Cell: Conviction.
Puzzles, on the other hand, are a mixed bag. You've got the moments that remind you of the latest Bond pictures, where the player uses brute force problem solving, such as shooting a crane to cause it's load to fall onto a previously unkillable Osprey. On the other hand, you have the Arkham Asylum knock-off moments: using Bond's smartphone from the year 2018, the player scan recorders/computers/people around the environment in order to open a door or make tourists leave an aquarium. These moments are never as compelling as those in the game they are taken from, though certainly never boring outright.
The best moments in Blood Stone are not on foot, but on wheels. Bizarre Creations is well known for the Project Gotham Racing series, and it certainly shows in the driving sequences throughout the game. The cars all feel exactly as one imagines: the DBS is fast and powerful around a corner, while the DB5 is just a little too heavy to power itself completely around a corner. The scenes are all epic (a very overused word, but true in this case), including one sequence in Bangkok that is not to be missed.
The story is the main place where the game falters. While all of the necessary aspects are all there, the emotional connection between set pieces is not. *SPOILER ALERT* While this is fine for most of the game, when a major character dies near the end I did not feel the reaction the game was trying to elicit from me. Bizarre Creations was obviously trying to pull off a Casino Royale moment, but unfortunately failed.
For those interested in graphics, Blood Stone does not disappoint for the most part. The levels all give off the atmosphere that they should, and the outdoor driving sequences are beautiful. However, characters look a bit odd up close, especially (surprisingly?) Bond himself. Other than that, particles effects are all very well done, with explosions that actually appear dangerous and snow flurries that actually make you feel like you're driving an Aston Martin over a frozen lake in Siberia.
So for those looking for a quick action fix or love the Bond series, is Blood Stone worth a play through? Most definitely. However, for those looking to purchase a stealth-action or action-adventure title, the tiles I mentioned above are far better at what they do. Blood Stone is just one of those games that's fun to play through, but lacks the polish on gameplay that makes it great in it's own right.