Revisiting characters with new actors is always something of a risky business. Even in the world of theatre, where roles are recast and reimagined everyday, you'll find what people refer to as 'definitive performances'. For some Hamlet will always be synonymous with John Gielgud in the same way that Colm Wilkinson defines Jean Valjean for others.
But theatrical revivals are essential to ensure a work survives beyond its initial run, and the same cannot be said of the permanent snapshots in time provided by films and games. That's not to say the products of these mediums are above reinterpretation in a creative sense, but executives (that's a key word right there) must always balance the risk of destroying franchise potential (and there's another) with the chancer's reward of cashing in on a big name.
Even when it's understood that a role is one that requires a change of personnel every so often, the new pretender is run ragged through the media mill. Remember the headlines scoffing at 'James Blond'?
The news over the past few weeks has been littered with disgruntled folks posting grumbling comments on forums regarding the recasting of some of their favourite characters. The tributes poured in for Solid Snake and Big Boss actor David Hayter when the news emerged that Kojima Productions had not approached him to work on Metal Gear Solid V. There were plenty of dissenting voices when Ubisoft had Michael Ironside step aside from the role of Sam Fisher for Splinter Cell: Blacklist, even when the gravelly-voiced pro spoke up to praise the work his replacement, Eric Johnson, had done. Fans petitioned Ubisoft to get Ironside back in the recording booth. They didn't.Click here to read more...
The scene in which James Bond's trouser department is oh-so-nearly sliced in half by Goldfinger's giant laser is one of the most iconic scenes throughout the Bond franchise. And now it'll be in 007 Legends as well, as Activision and Eurocom have announced that Goldfinger will be the sixth film to feature in their game.Click here to read more...
Platforms: PC | PS3 | Xbox 360
Eurocom are no strangers to the Bond franchise, having delivered perhaps the most solid titles to rival Rare's N64 masterpiece in games such as The World is Not Enough, Nightfire, and the GoldenEye 007 reboot for Wii and the HD consoles, and therefore the opportunity to be able to cherry pick moments from Bond's history and craft a new game that took great inspiration from Bond's decades-spanning career must have been positively tantalising.
Which might beg the question why they chose so few films to incorporate into the game, and fairly indifferent ones at that.
There are five films that have been announced thus far: Moonraker, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Licence To Kill, Die Another Day, and the upcoming Skyfall, which will be delivered after the game drops on October 19th as DLC. One film is yet to be revealed, but Eurocom and Activision are keeping that one under wraps for the moment.
The narrative, we are told, is self-contained from the existing films, but will use an overarching storyline, with Daniel Craig as the lead in a modern setting to bind everything together. That said, Eurocom are trying to inject everything with a sense of authenticity. Craig's voice and likeness are obviously in the game, but there are other such as Licence to Kill's Carey Lowell and Die Another Day's Toby Stephens reprising their roles as Pam Bouvier and Gustav Graves. Michael Lonsdale and Richard Kiel will also be returning for the levels inspired by Moonraker, giving their all once more as Hugo Drax and Jaws, and you can expect Judi Dench's M to make an appearance too alongside Rory Kinnear's Tanner.Click here to read more...
Activision have dropped a new trailer for upcoming James Bond FPS - 007 Legends. Taking place in the snowy Alps, the latest video channels George Lazenby's only film as Bond: On Her Majesty's Secret Service.Click here to read more...
Activision has unveiled the latest James Bond game, 007 Legends, for an Autumn release. This new shooter from Goldeneye Reloaded developer Eurocom aims to celebrate the series' 50th anniversary with a selection of missions from six different Bond movies, including new content from Skyfall.Click here to read more...
There's no point in me lying about it, I'm a huge James Bond fan, so you can imagine how excited I am, having discovered that there's a new 007 game in the works set for release later in the year!Click here to find out what's on the cards for Britain's best secret agent.
It's a remake of the N64 classic but it offers enough variation to make it worth another go while staying true to the original. The special edition is a worthwhile investment as it comes bundled with a special gold version of the classic controller to add to the old school Goldeneye feel and making it an ideal last minute Christmas gift idea, and the regular version tends to sell for just a few pounds cheaper. This new version is an absolute joy to play and the perfect addition to a Wii collection. Thanks to weekender at HUKD!
Goldeneye 007 might be best described as a "reimagining" of the original N64 Bond adventure but thankfully it's not become the embarrassing Tim Burtonesque mess that the word tends to suggest. This new version is certainly no token effort; it's a joy to play and it's no stretch to call it a Wii must-have. With most retailers selling the normal version for only around £10 less, it's worth opting for this limited edition and bagging yourself a (sort of) swanky gold controller. Thanks to mrlegit at Hotukdeals!
NB. For those who don't have a store handy, it's worth noting that if you add the discount code, Tesco's price is also the cheapest delivered to your door, despite their extortionate shipping rate.
I must admit to harbouring fairly low expectations for Eurocom's Goldeneye reimagining. After seeing early builds in action and trying it out at Gamescom, I was genuinely concerned that it wouldn't be fit for task. However, after extensively testing the final version, I have to hold my hands up and admit that my fears were completely unfounded. Double oh snap!
Eurocom have made no secret of the fact that this new Goldeneye is designed to stand apart from Rare's original and be judged entirely on its own merits... and they state their intent within minutes of the opening cutscene. After a nostalgia-packed sixty seconds at Arkhangelsk, Bond and Trevelyan are thrown into a high octane truck shootout through enemy territory. Make no mistake, folks, the counter-intuitive sprawls and confusing retro stylings of the original would have translated very poorly into the 21st century (as we discovered in the XBLA reskin of the original Perfect Dark), and this is a remake in name alone. Which, as it turns out, was entirely the right direction to take.
The vast majority of Goldeneye's 14 missions conform to the same basic, if entertaining, concept. Large areas with small roving patrols of guards usually stand between Bond and his objective. These sections can be completed with pure stealth; either by sneaking past enemies or using the silenced Walther P99 and close combat takedowns to neutralise foes. If you accidentally blow your cover (or just feel like bringing the rain), you'll have a few seconds to kill the offending enemy before they raise the alarm- which tends to summon a tactical response team of beastly soldiers to deal with. Once they're dispatched, the next section of guards are unaware to your presence and the whole cycle starts all over again. This core action would feel at home on on the PS2 or original Xbox... but there's no denying that it's fantastic fun. The lack of instant-fail stealth is refreshing and brilliant- and also means that the game can be played through in many different ways. Replayability much?
While we're on the subject of replayability, it's worth mentioning that Eurocom subscribe to the classic Rare school of additional objectives for each difficulty level. This alone means that the game is different each time you ramp the difficulty up- providing substantial extra value. Naturally, the higher difficulties also bring back the "when it's gone, it's gone" arcuate health bars.
I don't expect you to talk, dear reader. I expect you to click!
The “one man against the odds” nature of James Bond makes him a perfect character for video games. A tough-as-nails trained killer, an expert in all sorts of weaponry taking on the various minions of whatever psychopathic industrialist is taking over the world this week? Perfect.
In one hit you’ve got the outline of pretty much any first person shooter ever created, but coupled with over half a century of legend, history and goodwill. There isn’t a man out there who hasn’t fancied himself as Bond, so any opportunity to put yourself in those (handcrafted) shoes is one you’re going to take time and time again, right?
Well, yes, right, if you’re playing GoldenEye on the N64 (and possibly the Wii / DS for the revamp but we’re awaiting word on that), but a big no if you’re playing Blood Stone on one of the other consoles. With both games hitting shelves on the same day, Blood Stone was always going to suffer in comparison: hell, GoldenEye is the title that got me into gaming in the first place. But, having had a hands on, sneak preview of a couple of Blood Stone levels, I was genuinely excited by it. It looked amazing, the production values are incredible, the passion of the team behind it was obvious... And clearly something big has gone very, very wrong.
As has been documented elsewhere on these very pages, I am gamer of a certain age. I dabbled as a kid but, as one who can remember Pong arriving, and who thus thought Galaxian was the leg joints of a fuzzy flying insect, there wasn’t much that really caught my eye. Yes, we got some classic bits of game play, and Pac Man, Asteroids, Missile Command etc., still have their considerable charms. But gaming as a “hobby”? You’re having a laugh.
Flash forward to 1998 then, and my first attempts to be a freelance journalist. I was naive, I was hungry, I was starting to regret giving up a good salary. And then I made a fatal error. I bought a N64 and a copy of Goldeneye which signalled the start of my gaming habit proper – and almost signalled the end of my freelance career.
It was one of those games. I know many who blame Goldeneye as the reason their first class degrees weren’t quite up to the expected standard, and many more who are still technically catching up on sleep from marathon 36 hours sessions every weekend.
“For me it was Unreal Tournament,” says Peter Collier, level designer with Bizarre Creations. As well as knowing the addiction of a good game, Peter knows the affection that’s out there for all things Bond which is good because Peter’s one of the people behind new Bond console adventure Blood Stone, a role that’s even more pressured than it sounds.
“There’s no film on the horizon which means the Bond fans are very much looking to us to fill the gap that exists at the moment. Everything we’ve done on Blood Stone is to try and deliver the authenticity of the experience for the player, and deliver on it being Daniel Craig’s Bond as well.”
The living room of the average games reviewer is not a tidy one. You’ve got all the major consoles. You’ve very possibly got a debug console or three. You’ve got controllers spilling out of drawers plus assorted other peripherals taking up cupboard space.
This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is if you’re married / in a long term relationship / sharing a flat. For me (option one) it means a generally tolerated bit of mayhem. It also means that all the new kit arriving meant a teary farewell to a much loved console and one legendary, much played game. The console consigned to fate? The N64. The legendary, much played – and now much missed – game? Goldeneye.
I have friends who still talk of 36 hour multiplayer sessions EVERY weekend for a year. I have another who made his housemate confiscate his N64 a week before finals when he realised playing James Bond might cost him his degree. I have yet another who’s long emigrated but still bears a (I think) joking grudge for the night I managed to blow him time after time with a missile launcher.
The news then that Goldeneye was to be revamped for the Wii was met with mixed emotions. On the one hand, the chance to relive some of those days was as exciting as exciting gets to us couch potatoes. On the other... what’s that line about the past being a different country? The announcement that it was to be a reinvention and now feature Daniel Craig’s gritty Bond was also a little worrying. Yes, there’s a need to bring it up to date but have a little heart chaps!
Now though, in one of those days that makes the intermittent pay and irregular hours all worthwhile, I’ve had a chance to have a little play on the new title (come on, who wants to touch me?). I’ve also had a bit of a chat with some of the people involved. The result is I’m quite pathetically excited about the day in November a finished copy drops through my door.
I managed to get hands on with GoldenEye a few weeks back at the Ninty showcase day in London and wasn't terribly impressed and, as you may have noticed from his preview, neither was Jon. I'd like to say that it was the Wii holding it back, but frankly I think the idea was kind of doomed from the start. Bond fans shouldn't fear, though, because Bizarre Creation have teamed up with Eon Productions and Danjaq to try and provide a Bond experience that punches above the middling-to-average quality the series has languished in since Rare's heyday...
...and it's looking pretty good.
Echoing Everything Or Nothing, which really didn't suck all that much, Blood Stone 007 is shaping up to be a pretty varied third person shooter, with a good deal of interesting and promising parts to it. 'We really wanted to create a cinematic experience. Bond has this incredible history and it meant a lot to us as a British studio...I mean every little boy wants to grow up to be James Bond,' suggested Bizarre's Neil Thompson.
That's all well and good, but words don't necessarily make a good game. Thankfully, Bizarre have a few things up their sleeve. For starters they've turned to acclaimed Bond writer Bruce Feirstein for a script which sees a secret biochemical weapon go walkies along with a missing researcher. Of course Bond is tasked with finding out what the hell is going on and so, teaming up with Joss Stone's steely socialite Nicole Hunter, and jumping through a bunch of locales from Bangkok to Athens, he proceeds to get on with it, wading through a bunch of terrorists led by a man named Greco to do so.
Bizarre might seem to be an odd fit for Bond. The Liverpool-based studio are, after all, far more renowned for titles such as Geometry Wars, Blur and Project Gotham Racing. The secret to this game, however, lies in 2008's The Club, but whilst the team working on Blood Stone might be highly similar, the arcade, point-scoring style of the former has been replaced by a 'much deeper shooting experience'.
Click here to find out how Blood Stone 007's shaping up...
Lorne Lanning's Oddworld series has thrilled a generation of fans with its mix of hardcore platforming and balls-out weirdness... but after the capable FPS Stranger's Wrath, the franchise all but disappeared. Apart from the odd (no pun intended) hilarious Christmas card, I haven't heard anything from the series until now.
UK Developer Just Add Water have announced that they'll be delving into the mucky and muddy Oddworld mythos to continue the saga "across multiple platforms." J.A.W.'s managing director Steve Gilray takes up the story:
“It’s almost symbiotic in that when something moves forward on any of the projects we just start chatting about new items, or what if we do this. We’re all extremely excited to breathe life into the Oddworld universe and indeed to let it breathe life into us.”
Gilray continued to explain that they have been working closely with Lorne Lanning and the original Oddworld team for over a year in order to deliver an authentic experience. Frankly, it's about time... and it's great to see it in British hands. [JAW]
As we've previously postulated, Bizarre Creations have been working on a licensed James Bond driving/shooter title entitled Blood Stone. After reserving the domains earlier this year, Activision has finally confirmed that this is actually happening... and will resemble a new Bond film replete with Star Factor from Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench and Joss Stone as the latest Bond girl.
“James Bond 007: Blood Stone captures the cinematic intensity of a Bond film by immersing players in an intriguing conspiracy that will require them to think and act like James Bond.”
“In addition, the game will feature a diverse array of multi-player modes and debut strategic objective-based gameplay that will allow Xbox 360, PS3 and PC players to battle as teams of spies and mercenaries through authentic Bond locales.”- David Pokress, Activision Licensing Boss
Apparently, Blood Stone will let us take to the roads and waterways in pursuit of an international conspiracy. Expect exotic locales, fast cars, a Eurythmics title track and more gadgets than you can shake a auto-shotgun equipped Aston Martin at. We just hope that the epic Thames boat chase from The World is Not Enough makes an appearance! There'll also be an emphasis on cover-based firefights... because every game has to have them these days to be taken seriously.
Spec Ops: The Line is 2Ks offering to the next-gen near-future shooter market... and whilst it's currently being overshadowed by the Black Ops colossus, it's actually shaping up rather nicely.
But don't take our word for it. Xbox 360 owners can sign up here for the exclusive multiplayer beta and try it out for themselves down the line. Registering your details isn't proof of entry, but at least you'll be in with a chance.
Spec Ops: The Line is set to release next year, propelling us into a bleak and wartorn postapocalyptic Dubai. We're interested to see if it can wrench itself free from Call of Duty's and Medal of Honor's wake. [via VG247]
Essentially a video game combination of all of the best bits from Casino Royale and its subsequent sequel, Quantum of Solace is an FPS that sees you step for the first time into the shoes of Daniel Craig as James Bond. There are several unseen bits that fill in the largely confusing narrative of the second film and a bunch of spy-related collectables to snatch along the way as you blast your way through the game to the sound of David Arnold's magnificent score.
You can pick up a copy of the PC version for just £5.97 at the moment from Amazon, saving you a couple of quid on the nearest competitor over at Coolshop.
Quantum of Solace is a pretty average shooter that's improved marginally by the James Bond licence. It won't surprise or thrill you particularly, and there's little here that hasn't been done before, but that doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable. Far from it.
Sandwiching together the two movies into one game makes sense, and actually Quantum of Solace itself comes off rather better here than it did in the cinemas due to the fact that the action is consistent and there's no poorly directed shaky-cam. It's a standard FPS affair, fleshed out with a reliable cover system and context sensitive stealth takedowns, that are a couple of welcome touches.
I won't lie, it's short, the graphics are pretty dated, the level design is very linear and the auto-aim is forgiving to the point of becoming obsequiously helpful. But for under £6 you get a fairly decent shooter. It's nothing particularly special, but then at this price it doesn't really need to be.
As As far as post- Goldeneye Bond FPS titles go, we’ve been treated to some absolute shockers, and with the release of Quantum of Solace, it’s probably no surprise that every critic up and down the country was lining up to have a pop. However, although the game attracted a fair amount of criticism, most people who’ve played Quantum of Solace acknowledge that overall, it’s an enjoyable, entertaining and pretty underrated first person shooter.
So if you’re partial to a bit of Bond, or think it might make a nice Christmas gift, Quantum of Solace is currently going for £7.99 from Shopto. However, when clicking on the link below bear in mind that you need to enter the discount voucher code shoptovoucher3 to get £1 off, as the price initially shows up at £8.99.
Although developers Treyarch have applied the Call of Duty graphics engine to Quantum of Solace, they’ve introduced various new gameplay features in an attempt to make the game feel fresh. For example, the player will find that they are not just restricted to the traditional first person COD viewpoint as Treyarch have introduced a 3rd person cover system similar to the kind of thing you get in Gears of War.
The levels are also nice and varied which helps to undermine any sense of repetition, but unfortunately the AI can be somewhat predictable and despite the fact that the visuals are, on the whole, nicely done, they are occasionally let down by poor explosions. Most critics did acknowledge the fact that the game was good, they just felt it was let down by a few relatively minor issues which, overall, meant it wasn't anything great.
Thanks to John Cena from Hotukdeals
Once again James Bond: Quantum of Solace is up for £9.93 from The Hut. They did post this deal last month but unfortunately, it was short lived, and the price quickly shot back up to around £12. However, if you missed out on the last deal, it’s probably a good idea to get in there fast as prices at The Hut can be quite temperamental. Currently, the next cheapest price for a copy of Quantum of Solace is £13.98 from Coolshop.
As mentioned in the last post, Quantum of Solace has attracted a fair amount of criticism from many reviewers. It was condemned as uninspiring, predictable, too conventional, and a game which, although it tried to be innovative, failed to be anything but mediocre. However there has been an angry backlash against these accusations, with many fans insisting that, not only are they unjust, but that Quantum of Solace is an entertaining, visually well rendered and thoroughly decent first person shooter.
The levels, with their emphasis on stealth as you stalk around with the silenced PPK; immobilizing security cameras and bypassing locked doors, really allows the player to get into the Bond character. Popping out from behind some wall or partition and capping one of those generic bad guys right in the head makes for some very satisfying gameplay. However, on the downside, the single player mode is surprisingly short and the story does move illogically between the Casino Royale and QOS. At £30 you might want to think twice, but for under a tenner, this is still an absolute bargain.
Thanks to Blender from Hotukdeals
Developed by Activision and using the Call of Duty 4 game engine, Quantum of Solace is a fairly bog standard Bond FPS. The game got panned by pretty much every critic upon its release - although the backlash was a little harsh. True, it’s by no means a revolutionary first person shooter like Goldeneye, but still, it’s a decent enough addition to the shooter game genre all the same.
Currently the Quantum of Solace is going for just £9.93 at The Hut - a great bargain given that the next cheapest copy will set you back £13.49 from Coolshop.
It seems a little harsh for IGN to lay into Quantum of Solace by accusing it of being a bit clichéd. I mean this is Bond! And how could there not be a level where you fight your way through a speeding train or have some huge fire fight in a museum. But overall, IGN’s main problem with Quantum of Solace was that, although it tried to be innovative and dynamic, it simply didn’t go far enough.
The game uses a cover system which the reviewers felt was cumbersome and didn’t work well within the environments. The mini games like hacking and the quick time melee events were repetitive and quickly became tiresome. The reviewer said that although the developers were trying to give the game a bit more flare and variety with these features, they just weren’t good enough – although ‘none of them were bad’ (?).
However many people have bought this game expecting it to be totally rubbish and instead, have been pleasantly surprised. By all accounts it’s a lot of fun, not exactly COD, but still entertaining and well worth a go.
Thanks to QenTox from Hotukdeals
Activision dominate today’s roundup with CEO Bobby Kotick revealing how he wants more of your money. Also, Brutal Legend is still on the road for an October release following the dispute with Activision. A new James Bond is confirmed by Activision, and finally, Robert Bowling reveals Infinity Ward's plan for the prestige edition of Modern Warfare 2 to be an actual limited edition.
A Judge’s decision regarding the Brutal Legend lawsuit filed by Activision was expected to be made by today. Activision, the games former publisher, hoped to block release of the game, claiming the games release would damage them immensely. In the build up to the trial, the Judge implied he was more likely to rule in favour of current developer Double Fine. However this decision never had to be made, as the hearing has been cancelled thanks to an out of court agreement between Activision and Double Fine. The game is now set for its already late October release, with no apparent obstructions in the way. [Gamespot]
Much outrage was caused by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s price tag of £55, but for Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick, the price couldn’t be lower. A conference allowing some of these price issues to be addressed revealed Kotick’s money hungry attitude.
Analyst Tony Gikas questioned Activision's ‘comfort level’ regarding peripheral-based and expensive games. Company president and CEO of publishing Michael Griffith responded commenting on “very strong retailer acceptance and support for all parts of our plan, including ... our price points”. Kotick however sees things differently, answering “And Tony, you know if it was left to me, I would raise the prices even further”. It seems Bobby isn’t happy with £99.99 for Tony Hawk Ride, or £55 for Modern Warfare 2, no way, he wants the clothes off our back. What’s next? Our soul? [Spong]
Infinity Ward community manager Robert Bowling is excited about the fact that the Prestige edition of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will actually be limited. “We've already been asked by retailers to up the production numbers due to demand, which we immediately denied” said Bowling. “We decided from the beginning that we want this to be for the hardcore fans and early adopters. The fact that it is actually limited is one of the coolest parts, which is why we've individually numbered every copy”.
Bowling comments on how “cool” he believes the night vision googles are, pointing out how the idea progressed simply from a limited edition containing a stylized case, a fake flashbang and dog-tags. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a night owl then you have to be quick, as the Prestige edition will only be on sale once, and as previously stated ‘limited’. [IGN]
A new James Bond game is currently in the works according to Activision. The Quarterly earnings call from Activision indicated a 007 title is in the works, with a release date of next year. Activision president Mike Griffith confirmed this, but didn’t elaborate further, only saying that development was in line with the “company's commitment to proven franchises”. The last James Bond title along with most received lukewarm reviews (the obvious exception being Goldeneye), so hopefully Activision can give James Bond the game he deserves this time around. [VG247]