James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing

Bond invites Sam Fisher and Solid Snake over for tea.

After the heinous Tomorrow Never Dies, EA had to hide its shame by trying to ape Rare's classic GoldenEye instead, but its mass market manifesto meant it could never quite succeed in the FPS genre. After the lukewarm critical reception to its trio of lightweight first person shooters, the publisher has realised that another stab at a third person Bond might be the answer.

In common with just about everything on show at Camp EA, Everything or Nothing was already looking extremely slick despite being fully four months away from being finished. Bond has obviously been having a few Martinis with Fisher over the past year, and typically EA has spotted a gilt-edged opportunity to introduce a more stealth-based approach to the series.

Bond moment ahead

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But don't expect some lame stealth facsimile, because EON stands apart in its own right with a more action-packed and ostensibly scripted take on things. As you'd perhaps expect from EA, the more trying elements of stealth games appear to have been pushed to one side, with an emphasis on trademark Bond set-pieces.

One such Bond moment kicks in from the very first mission, which sees Bond armed with a Rappel (wonder where they thought of that?) and tasks you with guiding 007 to safety down the side of a flaming office block trying to dodge explosive debris.

The route to safety is a convoluted one, and along the way 007 has to fight his way through a series of anonymous guns for hire, and in these scenarios it's clear that EA has taken the opportunity to show Bond's hand-to-hand combat - a gameplay mechanic impossible in the first person [perhaps -Tom].

To stealth or not to stealth

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Whether you need to use stealth to get through these sections is often predetermined. In some situations it seems EON wants you to go in all guns blazing, while others you're best to take your time and use the stealth manoeuvres available to you. Chief in your arsenal is the 'Bond Zone' ability, which allows 007 to enter some kind of state of heightened perception and spot danger. Hitting the circle button activates a kind of Bond-o-vision and highlights areas of special interest, such as panic alarms, giving you advance warning of danger.

Naturally, the good old sidle up against a wall move allows Bond to peek around corners and the emerge ready to shoot up patrolling guards, while creeping up behind an enemy and hitting triangle delivers an amusing stealth kill, which involves Bond tapping his foe on the shoulder and lamping them square in the face once they turn around. Nice. In other situations you can pick up heavy objects such as bottles and wrenches and deliver a knockout blow by throwing them at your target from a distance.

If you do happen to use your guns (R1), the lock on targeting (L1) works reasonably well, allowing the player to cycle through the various enemies on screen. Up close, Bond has high and low punches, but it seems that engaging in Final Fight-style brawls should only be used as a last resort. All manner of Q gadgets make a predictable appearance to allow you to sneak past these drones, none more impressive than the Stealth Suit, which makes 007 invisible for a brief period. Even disguises make an appearance, which is an intriguing prospect.

No, not the shark

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Elsewhere, other levels feature plenty of gameplay variety, with Bond piloting a chopper down a rocky canyon, chasing after a truck-driving Jaws and even going toe to toe with our old metal-toothed friend.

Bond himself has been faithfully rendered as Pierce Brosnan, and EA has also roped in the voice talents of the man himself, along with the legendary John Cleese and various other big names as he makes his way across the world, spanning four continents including the Valley of the Kings in Egypt and the French Quarter in New Orleans.

In all respects, the visual prowess in the game is an absolute revelation, and it was hard to believe this was a humble PS2 we were playing on. Every location we were treated to featured a stunning amount of variety and detail, and exploration of these stupendously well-realised sets will be enjoyable in itself.

Punch my face in

Meanwhile, EA has devised an entirely separate co-op multiplayer campaign, that from what we saw of it basically requires plenty of dual door-opening puzzles and beat 'em up style antics. A four-player Powerstone-style deathmatch arena multiplayer mode has also been included, which seems like fun.

With 20 missions promised, Everything or Nothing promises to be a far more well rounded Bond game than the previous shallow FPS attempts, and is one we'll be keen to put through its paces when it shows up in about three months time.

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Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed

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Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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