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.