When I initially heard that Bizarre Creations were developing the next James Bond game, dubbed Blood Stone, I'll admit that I had some reservations. Bizarre's background is in the racing genre, not the third-person shooter genre, after all. However, I've always been saying that developers shouldn't just stick to one genre and I'm glad that Bizarre are branching out. I'm also glad because it looks, from what I saw at GamesCom, that they're doing a fantastic job of it!
James Bond games were once something to be proud of, but in recent years they've fallen into the same trap as many other licenced products. But that's where this game already sets off on the right foot - it isn't being tied in with a film, it's a standalone product.
During our demonstration, we were shown two of the very different types of gameplay featured in Blood Stone - the third-person shooter parts and the driving parts. Bizarre have been very keen to make sure everyone knows this is Daniel Craig's Bond, so there is a minimal reliance on gadgets and a heavy reliance on visceral action.
The only gadget Bond actually has, is a smart phone. It sounded a little bit lame to start off with, but it does provide some useful functionality. In a similar move to Batman: Arkham Asylum, it allows Bond to see where enemies are, their state of alert and their composure. It will also highlight objectives, weapons and key items.
Going back to the visceral action, Blood Stone can be played in various ways. However, players are rewarded for taking down guys using melee attacks. If they successfully take down a guy this way, they will obtain focus aims, which all them to instantly kill enemies with firearms. Bizarre were also keen to show us that they're catering for various play styles. They went through the same level as both a stealthy assassin and a gung ho foot soldier - both were effective, but the second was a lot quicker.
The other key component of Blood Stone is the driving and what's impressive is how seamlessly the game switches between the two. This, of course, is Bizarre's comfort zone, and the driving looked great. Not surprising considering the game is using a slightly modified version of the Blur engine. In some ways, it reminded me of a fairly old game called Stuntman - Bond had to avoid plenty of obstacles as he gave chase.
The game is also said to feature a complete multiplayer mode, with a ton of unlockables and support for up to 16 players. There's also a mode where the player with the highest kill/death ratio will get to play as Bond - awesome!
In the time I was in the room, Bizarre turned me from a sceptic into a fan. I'm actually really excited for Blood Stone now and I hope the final product lives up to my expectations when it's released in a few months time on PS3 and Xbox 360.