reviews\ Mar 7, 2004 at 7:00 pm

James Bond 007 Everything or Nothing - PS2 - Review

Bond. James Bond. These simple words epitomize the ultimate cool guy, the dapper and dangerous agent who has basically single-handedly convinced the world that not only does England have the best spies, but they always get the girl, too.  Recent Bond movies have all followed a predictable formula of opening with a spectacular stunt sequence before the sexy title sequence. Everything or Nothing captures this formula in a bottle and carries out that theme of cinematic play throughout the game.

Ever since GoldenEye, Bond games have always focused strongly on the shooting aspects of being a secret agent, but we all know that there is so much more to 007 than firepower. Continuing the trend of the last few Bond games, Everything or Nothing works hard to include multiple styles of gameplay that incorporate more aspects of the Bond character, including his vehicles and the Q branch gadgets.

EA Games has chosen to move away from the first person perspective used by the last few Bond games and moved to a slick 3rd person perspective, aka Splinter Cell or MGS. This really helps add to the sense that you are participating in a movie and gives EA a chance to showcase Pierce Brosnan, whose face and voice grace his namesake character. The 3rd person point of view also allows Bond to use more hand to hand combat moves and stealthy movement to sneak through a level rather than simply blasting your way through waves of enemies. Many other stars reprise their roles in this Bond episode as well, including Judi Dench as the indomitable "M" and John Cleese as the wizard of the gadgetry, "Q". Shannon Elizabeth, Mya, and several other beautiful ladies fill out the string of Bond girls that add charm and pizzazz to the action flick.

During the primary action levels, the targeting system used is basically a variation of hide and shoot, with Bond crouching behind cover and then popping out briefly to take his shot. As long as the game will target the right enemy, it is no problem, but when it occasionally will not target the closest enemy, you can end up taking damage unnecessarily. I really liked the fine-tuning possible once an enemy is targeted, because you can adjust your aim with the right stick to hit a specific spot, such as a head or exposed leg. This makes even the relatively light-powered pistol a useful weapon, because one shot between the eyes will drop nearly every enemy.

The addition of the rappel to Bond's kit bag really changes the dynamic of the game. Now, you must always be on the lookout for areas that you can climb up to, thereby gaining a new weapon or a tactical advantage. It is nice that much of the drudgery of accessing your gadgetry is removed from the game so that you can concentrate on your tactics. In order to rappel down from any ledge or roof, you simply have to leap off. Bond will automatically pull out the rappel gun and brake his descent. EA has taken a page from Splinter Cell in the eyewear department as well, as Bond now apparently has bionic thermographic vision that he can access whenever he needs it. This comes in handy during those nasty firefights in the dark sewers and dangerous alleyways.

A unique aspect of the James Bond character is that he always seems to know exactly what to do to get out of any situation. EA has thoughtfully provided the game player with a way to address this natural shortcoming in our training, since we don't have years to get 00 certified. Whenever you enter the device/weapon selection mode, you enter a "Bond Sense" mode where points of interest in the immediate area are highlighted by red circles. You can zoom in on each one in turn and get a summary about the object or enemy, including if they are looking for you or not. This helps deal with the stealth aspects of the game, where it is important to know whether that guard heard you and is now attacking, or is still on patrol, unaware of your presence.

As I mentioned before, Bond is not just about sneaking and shooting. It is also about driving around and blowing things up. The driving engine in Everything or Nothing is very good, with excellent frame rates and smooth driving characteristics. The only thing better than racing against time through a South American jungle is blowing up mercenaries in jeeps and 4x4 trucks while you are doing it. You get to drive the Q-modified versions of the Porsche Cayenne, a super motorcycle, and of course, the Aston Martin.

No Bond game would be complete without the ability to find creative ways to take out your foes, and Everything or Nothing delivers the goods like no game before. Faced with two tanks and a host of mercs blocking your escape? No problem, just blow up the nearby gas station and take out the whole group in one fell swoop, thereby getting awarded a "Bond Moment". Collect all of the Bond moments in the level and your scores will climb into the Gold area, needed to get powerups and other goodies.

Everything or Nothing combines fast action, fast cars, and fast women into a thrilling spy tale. This game plays almost like an actual Bond movie, to the point where Bond movie buffs may have to take notice and include it in some of the best Bond episodes ever. I recommend this game highly, to any spy movie or Bond fan. Prepare to be shaken, not stirred.

Review Scoring Details for James Bond Everything or Nothing on PS2

Gameplay: 9.3
Nice mix of different gameplay styles. The shooting levels definitely benefit from the 3rd person perspective but the targeting controls could use some more work.

Graphics: 9.4
Excellent work. The faces and characters are very realistic, the settings are stunning and some of the special effects are simply jaw-dropping. The whole game feels like a true James Bond movie.

Sound: 9.2
Ah, the clash and clatter of swords filling the air. Atmosphere plays a big role in games, and the soundtrack here is worth it.

Difficulty: Easy
This game can be played on one of three levels. It is possible to achieve a gold rating on any one of the difficulty ratings, but only a gold at the "00 Agent" level will let you play for the Platinum bonuses. The difficulty levels make it easy to play at the right setting for your individual skill, and give you reasons to come back and play through at a more difficult rating later.

Concept: 9.8
The plot line and story telling here are very true to the Bond formula. EA has truly done an outstanding job creating a Bond experience for those of us who can only dream of slipping into a weapons factory and blowing it to smithereens.

Multiplayer: 9.1
The game includes split screen action for up to four players, with the standard arena matches, etc. A unique co-operative mode does more than just having a friend along for the ride, though. If you play in co-op mode, some objectives require close teamwork, with each of you completing a portion of the task at the same time. This attention to detail is excellent and adds to the replayability of the game.

Overall: 9.2
Everything or Nothing takes up the Bond game mantle from Nightfire and Agent Under Fire, and does the series proud. If you enjoy secret agent/shooting adventure games mixed with a dash of romance and a scattering of hot cars, you won't be disappointed in this game.


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