007: Nightfire
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox, GC, PS2
Publisher
Electronic Arts
Developer
EA Games
Genre
FPS
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence, Suggestive Themes
 
Grade
The Good

• Plays like a Bond Movie
• Looks like Pierce Brosnan
• Solid single and multiplayer modes

The Bad

• Short single player
• Voice work could use more variety
• Gadgets are never utilized well

 
Grade
B-

Nightfire places you in the role of secret agent James Bond, who must stop Raphael Drake from using a space-bound missile defense platform as his own personal weapon. To do this, players must survive a story-driven first person shooter with some vehicular scenarios thrown in for good measure. To augment the "run-and-gun" style of FPS, Bond carries the standard array of spy gadgets.

One of the first things you'll notice about Nightfire is how it's really been set up to play like a Bond movie. You'll be treated to the standard "Bond shooting the camera" intro, followed by a seemingly unrelated opening scenario, and then a credits portion with themesong and scantily clad women in silhouette before you reach the main game. At that point, you can choose to play the mission-based single player mode or get into the multiplayer.

The single player mode consists of a series of missions, whether it be in first person mode or in a vehicle (Aston Martin and gun mounted snowmobile), which are set up with a series of goals and peppered with story sequences to push the main story along. For the most part, the game is your standard "run-and-gun" style of first person shooter, where you just need to shoot your way from beginning to end. Luckily, though, there are enough spy elements thrown in to keep the mission objectives from being mundane. Bond comes with a handful of spy gadgets, which are really only useful in a single context in a level. Outside of maybe one or two uses throughout a level, most of the spy gadgets will just collect dust in your inventory. And, on top of that, the single player mode is noticeably short. Most players should be able to beat it in a few days.

To augment the short single player mode, though, is a fairly varied multiplayer mode with a large collection of choices, including Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Capture the Flag and even team modes. On top of this, the player can include A.I. controlled "bots" to give each multiplayer session even more enemies to deal with. And, while you're given a good variety of choices and levels to begin with, performing well in the single player mode unlocks more options in the multiplayer mode. This alone will give most players a reason to replay the single player mode.

Graphics-wise, Nightfire is built on a firmly solid engine. Levels are nicely laid out and are fairly large in size. One of the nicest touches is that every location looks and feels like part of a living world, where locations feel pulled straight from real places. My only complaint might be that some locations feel a little too neat and clean (the offices in one level just feel too sterile), but outside of that, you'll be pleased with the way each location looks and feels. Character models look pretty good and for the most part are animated well. The James Bond model was meticulously patterned after Pierce Brosnan and looks the part. Along with Bond, a number of the facial models look really good and show nice facial detail. There are a few instances where random NPCs may be animated unusually, but it never really takes away from the game as a whole.

Audio-wise, Nightfire presents itself well. The sound effects and music are well done and work with the graphics package to make a nice presentation. Voice-acting is decent, but the person EA brought in to do James Bond sounds nothing like Brosnan. The rest of the voice cast is nicely executed. My only real complaint is that most of the NPC lines tend to get repeated, so much so that it can get annoying when you face the same type of enemy over and over in a stage.

I would have to say that the weak link of the game is the single player mode. If EA really wanted to give players a true spy-flick feel, they should have allowed the players a little more experimenting with the gadgets and even reward them for finding hidden areas or items in a level with the gadgets (yeah, I know you get credit for doing so many "Bond moves" in a level, but it's just not the same). For the most part, every single stage is linear to a fault and allowing some exploration would have done wonders towards making this a deeper game.

While Nightfire may not be the cream of the crop when it comes to first person shooters or even James Bond-themed games (Goldeneye this is not), it still does manage to provide more than enough enjoyment for those looking for their spy-flick action fix. If you're looking into this game, you may want to rent first to see if it's to your liking.

- - Vane

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