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SummaryThere are better games, but I still luvs this one :O
The GoodThe shooting mechanics hold up very well because you can choose what kind of controls you want to use. Normally you can just the way you look around in a game (normal or reversed), but here you can actually customize pretty much every button function into the way you like it? Want to feel like you're playing Resident Evil and use A to shoot, well you can. There is also a wide variety of weapons that you can use, ranging from crossbows where you actually need to keep in mind that the arrow will lose height in it's flight to powerful laser technology. Almost every weapons also has a secondary firing mode which mostly means switching between single shots and salvos.
I am sure most people already guessed this, but this is indeed yet another old game I used to play at parties and family gatherings back when I was eleven years old. Is that a bad thing? No, but I sincerely hope we are almost through all of these because they are an ass to review. The multiplayer is really good in this one and in terms of customization it is almost on par with Timesplitters 2. You can meddle with pretty much everything, ranging from what weapons will be available to the very exact behavior used by the AI opponents.
The story mode really does have that special Bond-feel to it, that special feeling you get when you watch the movies too. You are not just playing as James Bond, when you play this game you FEEL like James Bond. Sneaking around the castle, been rewarded for entering through a risky cliff-passage without been detected and cruising around in the Aston Martin Vanquish while explosions happen in the background. It is all just like in the movie, except you are the one triggering it all.
One detail that is rather fun and well implemented are the gadgets that 007 uses. I have played some other Bond games, but most of them limit themselves to the grappling hook only, while this game also has a Laser Watch for sabotage, a micro-camera for zooming in, a stunner for taking out enemies without violence and a decoder that hacks passwords.
The enemy AI is pretty good in both the singleplayer and the multiplayer, though part of it naturally depends on what difficulty you choose and how you configure their behavior (the latter only applies in multiplayer). At the easiest difficulty the game can be completed by a kids (roughly aged between 8 and 12) without too much difficulty, while the higher difficulties can be rather tough and challenging. I also like it that you can determine how the AI will act in multiplayer, you can make him gather all the weapons and ammo he can find, have him focus on priority targets and also set his movement speed and health. All the settings required to craft your own, meaty challenge.
Driving sections occasionally break up the action on-foot in the singleplayer mode and there are even controllable mini-helicopters and tanks that can be used in the multiplayer. The controls for vehicles work pretty well and allow you to use gadgets and built-in weaponry. In multiplayer it also nicely balances out because the vehicles are not very durable and while they do a lot of damage, they leave the user stationary on the spot where they started using them.
The female characters are very pleasing to look at, which is a requirement for everything with the James Bond name on it. You got the opening with the girls dancing with guns too, so that's a check, but the actual ladies hold up pretty well too and actually build-up the sexy. First you got the rather clothed French Intelligence woman whose name I always forget, followed by the rather bland Agent Nightshade who has a taste for good dresses and finally there is the Australian Alura who takes the grand prize due to her wearing an armored bra instead of actual clothes.
The BadThe story mode is very short and not very interesting to follow, it is mostly a collection of cinematic missions that can be completed in about a day. The characters are not really all that interesting and aside from James Bond himself none of them really seem to put up the performance they should or read from the script that the game deserves. Another little flaw is that the game is often very dictatorial on when you have to use stealth and when you have to go around blasting guns, meaning that sometimes enemies instantly turn around and put bullets in you just because you were in a no-sneak section or that you end up having to retry a mission because you weren't allowed to blow an enemy to pieces.
Talking about retrying, that is probably my biggest problem with the game. Every time you make a mistake that leads to your death or compromises the mission, you will have to do an entire section of the mission all over again. There are some checkpoints along the way, but they are not particularly well distributed, so sometimes I get a checkpoint five minutes after the last and sometimes I need to do an entire two hours without messing up even once.
While the multiplayer is pretty good, this game can be easily overlooked due to the huge amount of high-quality shooters with a singleplayer and multiplayer. I admit having fun with the game, but it's rather standard compared to Timesplitters 2, Freedom Fighter, XIII and Halo: Combat Evolved. It has gadgets, yes, but it doesn't really do enough to shine. Strip away the James Bond theme and all you'd be left with is a very bland action game.
The Bottom LineLet's go over some other business real quick first: I tried Need for Speed 2 and Shadow of the Colossus. NfS sucks due to insane pop-in, too many loading screens and poor driving mechanics and Shadow of the Colossus is on hold until I am mentally prepared to go through a game that only had Japanese voices.
With that said: Nightfire is a pretty nice game to still have around. It is a functional shooter that lives up to the License it's part of and the multiplayer is rich with content due to customization and entertaining gameplay. There are some flaws though, mostly related to the story mode, but these are not big enough to completely ruin it for me (though it does diminish the joy entirely from time to time).
If you're a fan of 007 then this game is good enough to warrant a purchase, if you and your friends like competitive multiplayer shooters with a nice twist to them, then the same story applies for you too. However, if you are not a Bond fan and not particularly moist about multiplayer shooters this game likely won't cut it for you. Also, if you're a nostalgic adolescent/grown-up then get this game right away, because I had fun with it again and you will likely have the same too =)