|James Bond 007: Nightfire|
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
After the success of the non-movie related Agent Under Fire EA decided (wisely we reckon) to continue in the same vein - So here's Nightfire, and its plot might just be better than the current Bond movie (Die Another Day)...
From its cinematic intro onwards Nightfire is a polished game, of that there's no doubt. Quickly you're thrown into an interactive chopper ride through the streets of not-so-gay Paree, blowing the heads & wheels off any bad guys who get too close to some gorgeous French secret agent bird in an AC Cobra - immediately folowed by a car chase and an introduction to James' new device-laiden motor (the Aston Martin Vanquish) - Amazing sound and music helps, but it's exciting, immersive stuff.
And so the game continues throughout its twelve levels, with mostly first person shooting/sneaking action joined by the bits where you drive or ride along as a passenger and shoot...
As you'd expect from a Bond game, there are plenty of different weapons and gadgets to play with; James PP7 is of course present, as are various automatic weapons and a guided missile launcher. Certain missions will require use of Q's electronic trickery, so expect to be using a phone that doubles as a grappling hook, and a cigarette lighter that takes pictures...
Trouble is, despite the polish and the variation in gameplay styles throughout the game, there are very few truly memorable levels, locations or tasks (everyone seems to remember the Dam in Goldeneye). Casting a critical eye over the game, everything looks nice and solid, character AI is variable but the animation is always excellent. And the lighting effects are really well done (particularly in one outdoor sniper level) - but the way that levels are broken up into limited sections betrays the game's PS2 origins. This is a shame because it limits the exploration aspect of the game and and a true feeling of being there. If you play on a high difficulty setting you'll also sometimes find that enemies take too many shots to go down - not even headshots are guaranteed to kill, which is silly.
One thing worthy of mention is the fact that although EA coughed up the cash for the right to use 'real Bond' Pierce Brosnan's likeness for the in-game character (unlike AUF) they didn't get him to do the voice-acting (the guy who does his voice isn't terrible, but he isn't very good either). The rest of the voices are spot-on however, from M to bad guys, they all sound right.
Added to a full (but uninspired) single player game is a truly complete set of multiplayer options; 8 well designed and varied locations (some of which are cut-down versions of the game's main levels). Bonus items can be unlocked by successful completion of the main game, and several classic Bond characters can be used like Jaws or Oddjob. Adding to the lifespan is the fact that up to six bots can be set up to play, and their characteristics (aggression, ability etc. can be altered).
All in all, Nightfire is a good, solid game with an pleasingly smooth multiplayer game, but rarely makes the Xbox work hard and the old-school linearity butts in and spoils things too often in the main game.
- Cinematic look, sound and feel
- The Vanquish, gadgets and girls
- Good multiplayer levels
- The linearity and lack of freedom sometimes means you feel like you're being led by the nose or being shoved in the right direction