What’s a rose without a name?
There hasn’t been a James Bond game that captured the superspy’s spirit as perfectly as Everything or Nothing. GoldenEye 007 remains the fan favourite, sure, but I’ve always preferred 007’s original experiences to direct adaptations. When EA had the Bond licence in the Pierce Brosnan era, 007 got creative. Not always successfully, sadly. Excluding spin-offs like 007 Racing, Agent Under Fire was a middling first attempt, though Nightfire brought a considerable improvement. For me, it never got better than this.
Many fans unofficially consider for Everything or Nothing to be Brosnan’s fifth Bond film, and it’s not hard to see why. Having worked on GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World is Not Enough, Bruce Fierstein was brought back once again, penning a script fitting that era. Linking back to A View to a Kill, we found Max Zorin’s apprentice, Nikolai Diavolo, seeking revenge on Bond for Zorin’s death. That, and he’s trying to recreate the Soviet Union with the help of Nanobots. Because… well, it’s worth a go, I guess?
It wouldn’t be a Bond film without the star-studded cast, and the game didn’t disappoint. While Nightfire simply used Brosnan’s likeness with a different voice actor, Everything or Nothing brought back the Irish actor one more time, marking his last ever appearance before Daniel Craig took over. Judi Dench, John Cleese, and Richard Kiel returned as M, Q, and Jaws respectively, while fresh faces like Heidi Klum’s Dr. Nadanova and Shannon Elizabeth’s Serena St. Germaine rounded this out.
Willem Dafoe’s casting as Diavolo was particularly inspired though. It’s a damn shame we’ll likely never see him cast in a main film but for this, he played Diavolo well. We can’t forget Mýa either, nor her high energy theme song that I still remember now.
There’s all the makings of a 007 movie but, more importantly, Everything or Nothing didn’t scrimp where it truly counts; gameplay. I do wish EA had kept Nightfire’s multiplayer, as this game only provides a limited co-op mode, but the game’s action sequences made you feel like Bond, ridiculous gadgets and all. Between deploying the Q-Spider for reconnaissance and rappelling down the side of walls, the game embraced that sillier side of Bond, something desperately lacking in recent films. I’m not forgetting the driving missions either, using Need for Speed’s engine here was an inspired choice. I can’t recall how many times I replayed those missions; I just wish Bond’s follow-ups did more for me.
EA’s tenure ended on an unusual note. Goldeneye: Rogue Agent went completely off the rails, while From Russia with Love was fun but an odd adaptation choice. Personally, only Activision’s 007: Blood Stone came close, which, perhaps fittingly, Fierstein also penned. We’ve not seen any Bond games for nine years but the wait’s slowly coming to an end. IO Interactive’s next up with Project 007 and while its too soon to make a judgement call, I’m cautiously optimistic.