Written By Shaun McCracken

Ever since Rare and Nintendo's seminal James Bond effort, GoldenEye 007, the games based on the 007 license have really not met or surpassed the level of quality, detail and even game play. Ever since EA has held the Bond license, there really hasn't been an excellent Bond game made for any system. The World Is Not Enough for the N64 was a worthy effort, and 007: Nightfire had it's moments, but they're really just "good", not "great". But EA has really gone the extra mile this time with 007: Everything Or Nothing, which is still not surpassing GoldenEye in game play, but really does come close, and definitely is the second best Bond game ever made. Why? Let's take a look!

EA has had a tough time finding the right kind of game play style for their Bond games. After Rare passed on the chance to do Tomorrow Never Dies, EA decided to take a shot at the Bond license and do something different. Instead of being a first-person shooter, it was a third-person action game with some driving elements thrown in. But it was executed so poorly and sloppily that EA went right back to first-person for The World Is Not Enough, and also did so with Agent Under Fire and Nightfire, and the results were better than their third-person effort. But EA decided to go back to the third-person view for Everything Or Nothing. Was this a mistake? No, especially when you see games such as Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid 2 do so well in a third-person perspective, with some first-person moments. A third-person perspective can work well for a Bond game, and EA has proved that with Everything Or Nothing. But it's not all action and stealth in this Bond adventure, there are still driving stages thrown in, even more than past Bond games published by EA. The way the game unfolds is much more uniform to a Bond movie than ever before, as one stage seams right into another, and that's thanks to more stages thrown in. In past Bond games, there were only 12 or so stages, so some of the action didn't really carry over well from stage to stage due to the use of cutscenes rather than game play. Here, more stages are given, so the game play and story can flow easier and more seamlessly than in the past. It sounds confusing, but play this game, and then go back to Nightfire and Agent Under Fire, and you'll see what I mean.

You may be wondering what is the plot of this new Bond adventure. Well, as with every Bond movie, there's usually an evil villain with a big weapon that is used to disrupt the world in some way. Everything Or Nothing is no different. The weapon in question isn't that big, nano-robots, but can cause big destruction in big numbers. A professor from Oxford University has disappeared with the technology, and Bond is sent to find out why. And if you've ever seen what happens in a Bond movie, then you pretty much know what to expect along the way: espionage, women, explosions, and repeat. Why mess with a winning formula?

The game play of Everything Or Nothing is different than what we've seen in past Bond games. In previous games, the game play always took place from a first-person perspective. Well, now since it's in third-person, there are some changes. First of all, you need to learn how to target your enemies better. Typically, in an FPS, you just point and shoot. It's a little trickier to pull that off in third-person, so now you have the ability to lock-on to a target like in Metroid Prime, but a little less accurate. You kind of need to face the direction of the enemy (or object) to lock on, but it's still very useful as you don't need to bother with a cursor just to make a shot. Another new thing you need to do is to take cover. Before, you could just hide by a wall or crouch in the FPS Bond games. Here, you could, but actually taking cover against a wall is much more beneficial, and dispatching enemies from a wall is much easier, too. No more strafing to make a shot, just fire your gun (as you're locked on to someone). You can also punch, kick and dive out of the way of fire, which is also more than what you could do in first-person. You actually have more freedom and more options in third-person as you did in first-person, and that's a part of what makes this Bond game more fun to play than past ones. I've also mentioned that there are driving stages, and these pretty much play out like the stages in the re-make of Spy-Hunter. The addition of a motorcycle really diversifies the driving stages, as the control and handling are different, requiring more skill.

For the most part, the game play and design is solid, but does have some problems. One, the camera does take some tweaking here and there. I's not erratic, but you will want to take control of it sometimes. Another problem is with the targeting. If there are a lot of things that can be locked-on to in a room, you may not lock on the thing you want to shoot. Also, if an enemy is too close, the lock on works not nearly as well as an enemy with a few feet of distance. Finally, there's still a bit of fumbling with the items. When you do access an item, things slow down in the Bond Sense mode (which can also help you focus in on certain items), but there's still too much stuff to scroll around. It would be better if they handled inventory like Metal Gear Solid, in which they can lump similar items into one category, rather than individually. But even with those problems, it's still not a whole lot to weigh this game down as a bad experience.

Usually I don't comment a whole lot on a game's production value, but Everything Or Nothing is one of those exceptions. This is one of the few games I've played that actually uses it's license to it's fullest. EA managed to get the likeness of the actors of the Bond films, as well as other talent, and got everyone's vocal talent as well. The last Bond game, NightFire, had Pierce Brosnan's likeness but lacked his vocal talent, and the end result was very odd. This time, everything is in place. So, you have the main characters from every Bond film (except Moneypenny), and you pretty much have a similar plotline as well. This is a game that pretty much plays like a film, and since it IS a game, their choices for actresses (like Shannon Elizabeth and Hedid Klum) wouldn't dog down the experience too much. Elizabeth is fine in the role as Sernea St. Germaine, but Klum's vocal acting would be better in Resident Evil rather than a Bond game. But since it is a game, more liberties and chances can be taken, as the budget isn't as large as a motion picture.

The visuals in Everything Or Nothing is very solid for a multiplatform title. Usually the graphics aren't as strong in multiplatfrom titles, but EA really did a good job here. Most of the textures are sharp, with only a few blurry ones here and there, and the framerate is fairly solid (but there are a couple of dodgy moments). The character models are excellent, with a great use of facial scanning and mapping. It's scary how lifelike Pierce Brosnan and Mya look in this game, as well as the other actors featured in the game. The character models done for EON rank right up there with Silent Hill 2 & 3 and the remake of Resident Evil. There's also a smathering of special effects and explosions, and they all look great. It's too bad that they didn't really tap into the Xbox's power to deliver better lighting and bump-mapping, but for a multi-platform title, this is a pretty good achievement.

The audio also shines in Everything Or Nothing. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of celebrity vocal talent featured in this game. It's great to finally see EA get Pierce Brosnan to do voice overs for the game his likeness is in, and it makes the experience feel all the more authentic. Other featured actors include Dame Judi Dench, Shannon Elizabeth, John Cleese, Willem Dafoe, Heidi Klum, Mya, Richard Kiel and Misaki Ito. Not since Enter The Matrix have we seen a good number of the actors of the film appear in the game. The music is great, but sometimes comes in and out of play, so there are some rather silent moments, but the ambient sounds more than make up for it. The sound effects are excellent, and thanks to the THX certification, have that extra added "umph" through the stereo.

Final Thought

Everything Or Nothing is the best Bond game to come out since GoldenEye 007, but it doesn't have enough to surpass it. I think the longevity and the multiplayer elements do have a hand in that, but as far as production values go, it does surpass GoldenEye 007. In general, it's a great action game full of exciting moments and some solid game play, and is a fairly solid single-player game (the multiplayer co-op doesn't seem that strong to me). If you are a fan of the Bond franchise, Everything Or Nothing will not disappoint. It pretty much does everything right, and features everything you would expect to see in the world of 007. It may not be as strong as Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid, but it's a worthwhile action/stealth/adventure experience, and even does things that the two said games don't.









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The first 007 title since GoldenEye that is truly great.

007: Nightfire

007: Agent Under Fire

From Russia With Love

GoldenEye 007

2003-2006 SPM

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