No other James Bond game has captured the spirit of the super spy as perfectly as All or Nothing. GoldenEye 007 remains a fan favorite, of course, but I’ve always preferred the original experiences of 007 to direct adaptations. When EA had the Bond license in the Pierce Brosnan era, 007 got creative. Unfortunately not always successful. Aside from spin-offs like 007 Racing, Agent Under Fire was a mediocre first effort, although Nightfire brought a significant improvement. For me it never got better.
Many fans unofficially consider All or Nothing to be Brosnan’s fifth Bond film, and it’s not hard to see why. Bruce Fierstein, who had worked on Golden Eye, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough, was brought back again and wrote a screenplay befitting the time. Returning to A View to a Kill, we found Max Zorin’s apprentice, Nikolai Diavolo, who wanted revenge on Bond for Zorin’s death. That, and he’s trying to recreate the Soviet Union using nanobots. Because… well, it’s worth a try I guess?
It wouldn’t be a Bond film without the star cast, and the game didn’t disappoint. While Nightfire simply used Brosnan’s resemblance to another voice actor, Everything or Nothing brought the Irish actor back once more, marking his final appearance before Daniel Craig took over. Judi Dench, John Cleese and Richard Kiel returned as M, Q and Jaws respectively, while fresh faces like Dr. Heidi Klum’s Nadanova and Shannon Elizabeth’s Serena St. Germaine rounded it out. However, Willem Dafoe’s cast as Diavolo was particularly inspirational. It’s a damn shame we’ll probably never see him in a feature film, but he did a good job of playing Diavolo. We can’t forget Mýa either, nor her energetic title track, which I still remember now.
There’s everything there is to make an 007 film, but more importantly, all or nothing didn’t skimp on where it really counts; playing style. I wish EA would have kept Nightfire’s multiplayer since this game has limited co-op, but the game’s action sequences made you feel like Bond, with ridiculous shenanigans and all. Between using the Q-Spider for reconnaissance and rappelling down the side of walls, the game embraced that goofier side of Bond, something that’s been desperately lacking in recent films. I’m not forgetting about the driving missions either, using Need for Speed’s engine here was a brilliant choice. I can’t remember how many times I’ve repeated these missions; I only wish Bond’s follow-ups had done more for me.
EA’s tenure ended on an unusual note. Goldeneye: Rogue Agent went haywire, while From Russia with Love was fun but an odd customization choice. Personally, only Activision 007: Blood Stone came close, which, perhaps appropriately, was also written by Fierstein. We haven’t seen a Bond game in nine years, but the wait is finally coming to an end. IO Interactive is next up with Project 007 and while it’s too early to judge, I’m cautiously optimistic.