The World is not Enough Hands-On
It's not long before EA's latest Bond game hits the PlayStation, and we spent a little quality time with the game.
The latest Bond game by Black Ops Entertainment makes a clean break from the third-person style that made Tomorrow Never Dies such a letdown for gamers looking for another GoldenEye. As a matter of fact, The World is Not Enough is made in the image of its eldest brother, with many of the same options that made GoldenEye such a big hit.
The game features a multitude of weapons and gadgets, ranging from the standard Wolfram P2K pistol to the powerful AR36 Sniper Rifle. Players will be happy to learn that the sniper rifle has the capability to zoom in for long-range shots, unlike in Tomorrow Never Dies or in Dreamworks' Medal of Honor. Bond is also equipped with a couple of gadgets whose abilities differ according to what the mission requires. For example, the phone can be anything from a stunner to a fingerprint scanner, and the watch will be inactive on some missions, while on others it will have been customized by R to suit that mission. Both gadgets also double as blatant advertising for the Motorola Corporation.
The game's control at this point feels quite solid, with only a few minor problems evident, such as Bond's propensity to stick to corners and get hung up on walls. Hopefully, these minor problems will be ironed out before release. The control scheme is a good one, placing the strafe, crouch, and target keys on the shoulders, with weapon cycling and action/fire on the standard buttons where thumbs can access them easily. The only time anyone might encounter any control difficulties might be while targeting and peeking around a corner simultaneously. This action requires both R1 and R2 to be pressed, followed by X to fire a weapon. At this point, the Dual Shock analog sticks are usable, but all movement is controlled through the D-pad. Hopefully, a list of control options will make it into the final game, as console FPS gameplay is something that gamers tend to have quite specific demands about.
The AI is excellent, to be sure. The enemies that populate the game are some of the smartest we have come across on the PlayStation, and it's nice to see that new tricks can still be squeezed out of the platform. Bond's opponents are not content with merely running and gunning, and they will attempt to find cover where available, dodge attacks and try to swing around behind you, set off alarms, call for backup, and even cooperate with each other. Even on the novice level, the AI will keep players on their toes, forcing them to use technique and finesse rather than brute force.
All of the environments are tightly detailed, taking full advantage of the PlayStation's large storage capacity, and they vary from marble and carpet interiors to snow-covered mountaintops and wooden docks.
TWINE also introduces a feature that hasn't yet been seen in any of the Bond games, one which many Bond aficionados will doubtlessly be happy to see: gambling. Rarely is there a Bond film in which he isn't spied haunting a casino, surrounded by beautiful women and shaken vodka martinis. Valentin Zukovsky refuses to give Bond any information until Bond has raised enough cash in Zukovsky's casino to buy it from him. The level consists mostly of a high-stakes game of black jack. The aficionados mentioned above will be quick to point out that baccarat is Bond's game of choice, but that miniscule fact can be easily ignored. The novelty of gambling as the suave secret agent more than makes up for this little inconsistency.
The World is Not Enough fills the gaps between levels with cutscenes ripped straight from the movie, and not only do they look great, but they supply the game with smooth transitions that maintain a strong feeling of continuity.
The character models are worth mentioning as well. All of the characters from the movie will be instantly recognizable, and most of the voice acting is flawless. The only questionable bit of VA occurs while in Zukovsky's casino, in which the voice actor speaks while in the game, and the real actor from the movie speaks in a cutscene shortly thereafter. Aside from this minor flaw, the voices in the game are superb.
All in all, The World is Not Enough is shaping up to be a solid FPS for the PlayStation. The style of play, the weapons and gadgets, and the visuals are a mixture of the tried and true techniques used in the now classic GoldenEye, and TWINE manages to follow in the game's footsteps without simply becoming clone.
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