Since GoldenEye revolutionized Bond video games, not too much has changed in the genre. Sure, the graphics have gotten better, vehicle missions have been added as have new weapons and gadgets. However, at the core the games were still first-person shooters with weak plots and terrible acting. Everything or Nothing changes all that and, at the risk of sounding like a TV commercial, it truly feels as if you are playing a Bond movie. Adding to the realism is a cast of voice actors unparalleled in a video game including Pierce Brosnan, Shannon Elizabeth, Mya, Richard Kiel and Dame Judi Dench.
The game starts as James Bond saves Katya Nadanova, a nano-technology expert, from a rogue group headquarted in Egypt. While there, he runs into Jaws, his old nemesis. After saving Dr. Nadanova, Bond jets to Peru to investigate the disappearance of Agent 003. With the help of geologist Serena St. Germain, Bond finds 003 and is led to New Orleans to investigate the affairs of ex-KGB agent, Nikolai Diavolo.
With the help of NSA agent Mya Starling, Bond uncovers Diavolo's plot to use nano-tech robots to take over the world. While in New Orleans, Bond discovers Katya Nadanova's allegiances lie with Diavolo and faces Jaws again in a high speed chase over the Pontcharain bridge, saving New Orleans in the process. The action returns to Peru where Bond discovers that Diavolo intends to take over Russia and send it back to the Soviet era with his nano-bots. A startling revelation is made when it is revealed that Diavolo is the protégé of Bond's former nemesis Max Zorin.
After winning a stock-car race on the tight streets of a Peruvian village and infiltrating Diavolo's platinum mine, Bond chases Diavolo to Moscow. Surviving a tank battle in Red Square, a deadly secret communist missile bunker and one last showdown with Jaws and Diavolo, Bond saves the day and gets the girl.
The controls of Everything or Nothing are easy to pick up and help the player jump right into the game. Early on, agents go through a training level inside MI6 that breaks down all the basics one will need to succeed.
The target-locking system is very efficient, as are the on-screen displays such as health, ammo, etc. Stealth is also key to success in the game. Unlike GoldenEye, barging into a room with guns blazing will not always be the best tactic. Players can hide around corners, waiting for enemies to approach and coming into the open for just long enough to fire a few bullets.
Perhaps the biggest change from previous Bond games is the move to a third-person point-of-view. Instead of only seeing Bond's hand with his weapon, you now see the whole person as he shoots, rolls and rappels down the side of a building. This opens the door to some intense levels, such as one where Bond is freefalling down the side of a dam as you control his descent, trying to save the girl. As mentioned, this new view makes the player feel like they are playing a movie, rather than a game.
Weapons and Gadgets:
The bullets being fired come from an impressive array of weapons. While there may not be any revolutionary changes in Bond's weaponry (he has his standard handgun, automatic, rocket launcher, etc), one great feature is that the weapons are now called by their real names - or close to it. Gone are the days where the PPK was named the PP7 and an Uzi was a Klobb. Bond's default gun is now the P99 and he can pick up the likes of AK-74s and Dragunov rocket launchers.
In addition to his guns, Bond has a new collection of Q-Branch gadgets to aid him on his mission. Perhaps the most innovative is the Q-Spider, a miniature robot that Bond can control to infiltrate hard-to-reach areas as well as to disable enemy forces. The spider adds an interesting aspect to the game, as many Bond moves require using the device. The other frequently-used gadget is the rappel wire, which allows Bond to climb up walls as well as down.
The last group of gadgets are Bond's vehicles, which are fully-loaded by Q-Branch. Race down the streets in cars, tanks and even a motorcycle. These gadget-laden vehicles help break up the monotony of non-stop shooting levels.
Modern games rely heavily on cinematic cut-scenes to advance the plot and wow the player. Everything or Nothing is no different, featuring some of the most stunning sequences in video game Bond history. The faces on the characters look superb and just like the actors they are based on, while the action sequences are big screen worthy. The game also succeeds where many other cut-scene intensive ones fail, in that the actual gameplay is amazingly detailed as well. When you are controlling Bond, it is very easy to get lost in your surroundings, The graphics in Everything or Nothing are amazing, which leads to the feeling of "being there" that is prevalent throughout the game. Day and night, indoors or outdoors, no matter where you are the graphics are crisp, clean and realistic.
While vehicle missions in previous Bond games felt forced and clunky, the ones in Everything or Nothing are brilliant. Using the engine from Need for Speed, Bond takes to the road in everything from his Aston Martin to a motorcycle. In fact, the motorcycle level on the bridge is one of the most intense video game experiences ever. You really feel like you are barreling down the freeway at over 100 mph, avoiding traffic and hitting jumps to net Bond moves.
Perhaps the graphics' biggest failing is in the "thermovision mode." When Bond goes underground or to places that have minimal light sources, he can put on his thermovision goggles and see based on heat signatures. While there is no problem seeing a big yellow human-shaped blob attacking, trying to maneuver around when all the walls look blue and solid gets to be a bit frustrating. Still, as the only flaw in the graphics it is not a major one.
The music, as usual, is outstanding. By mixing techno, pop and the Bond theme, the composer has come up with a unique sound that stands out and fuels the mission. Still, the best part of the sound is not the music, but the inclusion of the actual actors' voices. When Bond talks, it's Pierce Brosnan's voice that comes out. This helps realism immensely, as previous games just had some random guy with a British accent. The rest of the voice talent is a welcome change as well, especially the MI6 staff and Willem Dafoe.
Since GoldenEye, multiplayer mode has pretty much been the same: 2-4 players battling to the death in their corner of the screen.
Everything or Nothing makes an innovative addition to this concept with their "Co-Op Mode," which allows 2 people to play missions together. This is a great feature and leads to activities such as one player defusing a bomb while the other mows down enemies who come into the room. However, as great as the co-op mode is, it requires a bit too much perfection. The levels are long and hard and the team only gets 12 lives for a series of levels. If you make it to the boss of the level with only a few lives remaining you are as good as dead. Still, it is a novel idea and one that I look forward to seeing EA Games develop in future games.
Rest-assured, the standard multiplayer mode found in all other Bond games is still intact, although you have to battle through at least a little co-op play before you can unlock any levels. As always, you battle your friends in a contest to the death, winner takes bragging rights.
Everything or Nothing is by far the best Bond video game since GoldenEye. After years of misses (Tomorrow Never Dies, Agent Under Fire), EA Games finally hits the ball out of the park. From the third-person point-of-view to the cast of characters to the lush visuals and intense levels, this is a Bond game for the ages. Despite the fact that many levels are mind-blowingly tough and may make you want to throw your controller at the TV, I still recommend this game to everyone.
Everything or Nothing Coverage
Screenshots supplied by Neoseeker and EA Games
Story summary by Bondfox