reviews\ Dec 14, 2002 at 7:00 pm

James Bond 007: NightFire - XB - Review

Goldeneye 007 was a fantastic game for its day.  Not only did it incorporate actual objectives into the gameplay, rather than the mindless killing most first-person-shooter titles featured at that time, you actually felt like you were James Bond.  Sneaking around, using silenced pistols, throwing knives, proximity mines and sweet gadgets gave the game a stealth feel that none others had, at the time.


After Rare’s success with the James Bond license with Goldeneye, the rights were snatched up by Electronic Arts, who has produced several rather mediocre Bond titles.  Their latest, 007 Nightfire, sports a brand new story and lots of neat things to do.  In fact, it’s a pretty nice game.


What makes this title fun is the constantly varying gameplay styles.  One stage might feature straight-up FPS shooting and sneaking around, while the next might put you in the drivers’ seat of your tricked out car.  Or possibly a mission that requires heavy use of the sniper rifle.  Or one demanding quick reflexes and an even quicker trigger finger.  The game is constantly fresh, and no two missions are the same.


There’s a whole new nifty plot that ties it all together, and it’s not too shabby.  The cutscenes tying together the levels are very well done, and definitely have a James Bond feel to them.  One might complain that the amount of levels is a bit lacking, considering there are only a dozen or so.  It’s true that the game isn’t terribly long, but you may find yourself replaying some missions because they’re simply a lot of fun.


Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bond title without a lot of nifty weapons and gadgets, and this game does indeed have them.  From the standard silenced pistol to the powerful sniper rifle, you’ll be dealing damage with no problem.  Rounding out the number of guns are the gadgets, ranging from compact digital cameras, to mini compact discs concealed inside credit card disguises, or remote controlled torpedoes.  There’s always something fun to toy with.


Everything is wrapped up in a pretty coat of graphical bliss.  Okay, the graphics aren’t mind numbingly beautiful, but they are nice.  The framerate is silky smooth and rarely, if ever, falters.  If I do have one complaint regarding graphics, it has to do with animation.  While it’s generally nice, it can seem a little funny while fighting enemies.  Sure, once the final shot is delivered, they fall over dead, sometimes stumble around a bit, but sometimes nothing happens when they’re hit by a shot but not killed.  They don’t stumble backwards, they don’t act wounded in any way – why?!  Aside from that little nuisance, the graphics are nice.


You’re accompanied through the game with a nice soundtrack and sound effects.  When starting up the game, we’re actually treated to an intro similar to one that would play in the beginning of a real Bond film, which is cool, and has some nice music backing it.  And of course, the Bond theme song never really gets old, so it’s always a pleasure to hear when you complete a certain tricky objective or something of the like.  Guns sound fine, although they sometimes seem to lack a powerful punch because of the aforementioned animation problem. 


The single-player campaign might be great and varied, but it is, admittedly, a little short.  Thankfully, there’s a solid multiplayer mode included to keep the game from staying on your shelf shortly after it’s completed.  You can customize a good deal so you can play a match how you want it, adding bots, choosing weapon sets, or deciding to play simple free-for-all fights or capture-the-flag matches.  Despite all of these options, playing this mode can get tedious.  I think this can be somewhat blamed on the lack of imaginative, sprawling levels in favor of smaller, traditional areas.  Nonetheless, it will keep you occupied.


007 Nightfire is not a bad game at all – in fact; you’re in for a nice adventure.  The single-player mode is fun and varied, and the multiplayer mode is solid, if a little lacking.  Don’t hesitate to check it out if you’re longing for some James Bond action, or maybe just a new action game; it may be the best Bond title since Goldeneye 007.



Gameplay: 8.5

Hey, this game’s not too bad.  The shooting gameplay here is fun, and the racing segments are a breath of fresh air.  Sure, it’s not incredibly gripping, but it is fun to play.


Graphics: 8.0

Not bad at all.  Environments usually look pretty nice, and the cutscenes are well done.  Animation is fine, but I would have wished shooting enemies seemed a little more realistic.  Sometimes they just stay in place until the final shot is delivered.


Sound: 8.3

A solid job was done with sound in mind, as well.  The music works fine and the Bond theme song is still wonderful after all these years.  Sound effects are fine, but nothing spectacular.  Voice work can range from decent to quite good at times.


Difficulty: Medium

Some missions are pretty easy, but others can take you awhile.  And if things seem too easy, there are several difficulty levels to try out.


Concept: 7.5

The game’s FPS gameplay is very much similar to that of Goldeneye 007’s on the Nintendo 64, but the driving scenes add a nice twist, and some of the new weapons are pretty cool.


Multiplayer: 7.5

The multiplayer mode is fine, even if it is a little lacking.  Bots are available, and a good amount of options.  The arenas are a little small compared to games like Halo, however, and there isn’t a lot that hasn’t been done before in other games.


Overall: 8.0

A solid Bond title overall.  The single player mode is fun and offers a good amount of variety, and there’s a decent multiplayer mode here to back it up.  Probably the best Bond game since, but not better than, Goldeneye 007.


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