tiistai 18. joulukuuta 2012

REVIEW - 007: Everything or Nothing | GBA | 2003

GENRE(S): Action
RELEASED: November 17, 2003
DEVELOPER(S): Griptonite Games

The final 007 review before a small "creative break" is of a Game Boy Advance title named 007: Everything or Nothing, which was released only eight months after the previous handheld installment in the 007 series, the stripped-to-the-bone conversion of NightFire. Everything or Nothing ended up being released on the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, just like its couple of predecessors, but what might come as somewhat of a surprise is that it was originally released exclusively on the Game Boy Advance, almost six months before any version for a major platform came along. This game was designed by Griptonite Games, one of the leading developers of handheld games at the time - only a couple of weeks before this game's release, they had impressed yours truly with a fine handheld adaptation of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. And, it's not an FPS, but an objective-based, isometric stealth action game with a simple upgrade system. I'll lay it to you straight; it ain't exactly awesome, but the best handheld 007 game there is.

A lil' bit of everything, hardly nothing

Nanotechnology is the latest threat to the world, and MI6 naturally responds to it by sending their most trusted agent, James Bond, to travel the globe and find who ultimately pulls the strings of the terrorist group particularly interested in this new, fascinating and dangerous technology.

Wow. I mean, wow. I was certain I was heading into another huge disappointment, or an otherwise half-assed, non-sensical handheld game to cash in on a big brand name. I didn't expect a half decent game, and I certainly didn't expect a truly enjoyable isometric shooter that actually feels a lot like Griptonite's take on Lord of the Rings in a whole different environment. I recently heard that the console version of the game is actually one of the best Bond games there is; I have no doubt of that, but unlike last time, I'm already getting my fill from this handheld version. Once again, wow.

The in-game graphics look very good. The "cutscenes" are teaser stills of the "three big boys", which were still in development when the Game Boy Advance version came out, and I've never been too fascinated by those work-arounds for cutscenes, but indeed, the in-game visuals do please. The music and digitized speech sound even better than last time. We're talking about much more than a major overhaul from the previous NightFire game, in both audiovisuals and gameplay.

Everything or Nothing is an isometric, general action game with great emphasis on stealth, managing several objectives at a time - including optional ones, completing which grants you bonus points to spend on upgrades and unlockables (the Blackjack minigame has my soul) - and a few different driving levels to make the game more diverse than it already is.

British road rage!
By this, and the screenshots combined, you can pretty much imagine what the game is like, so let's get straight to what's wrong with it (I'm on a very tight schedule...) - and at least to my own surprise, I have absolutely nothing to bitch about besides the controls. The handling of an isometric game with a digital pad is difficult enough as it is, but the handling of an isometric stealth game is even harder. Some optional objectives based on stealth attacks are nearly impossible to complete, largely depending on the hostility of the environment.

007: Everything or Nothing is a very entertaining, and challenging game - a great breakaway from the age-old FPS scheme of the 007 game series. Once again, I'd love to have a round or two with a major version of the game, but I'm quite happy with this one already. I'm about two dozen ticks more eager to head into the climax of the marathon thanks to this small bundle.

+ Good graphics and sound
+ Gameplay that first of all makes sense in this environment
+ A diverse game with controls that are easy enough to learn...

- ...Which, however, aren't as responsive as hoped or expected in a stealth game
- Damn those cheap-looking stills, I'd rather take cutscenes with in-game graphics over them

< 8.0 >

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