Javier E. Trujillo takes a look at the first chapter of Cypher 007, a new mobile game available on Apple Arcade.
It’s been a long time since WOE.
For those unfamiliar, James Bond: World of Espionage was a role-playing game that launched back in 2015 to coincide with the release of SPECTRE. To put it short, it was abysmal, capturing none of the fun a James Bond game should have.
Thankfully, Cypher does not repeat that experience.
Cypher 007 is a top-down action-adventure game placing you in the role of Bond as he has to mentally escape the brainwashing of SPECTRE. This requires Bond to go on missions, blending elements of past adventures together as his psyche attempts to fight back. Think 007 Legends meets the Metal Gear Solid series.
This means a lot of familiarity to fans of the films, with various aspects of different 00 actors making appearances. M seems inspired by Judi Dench, Moneypenny by Naomie Harris, and Q by Desmond Llewelyn. Bond himself has an air of Sean Connery about him on the load screen only getting replaced by something closer to Roger Moore in the cut scenes and actual gameplay.
Missions are placed into chapters, with a prologue and chapters one and two currently available. Both chapters have ten missions apiece, with presumably more on the way during game life. Locales are familiar, allowing you to run around Bond’s flat, Q Branch, the London Underground, a coastal village in Japan, and Blofeld’s volcano base, amongst others.
Most of the game play so far (I’ve reached Chapter Two, Mission 6 currently) requires Bond to complete objectives, with stealth being rewarded over gunplay. So far, I have had two boss battles (Trevelyan and Jaws) and a mission that required flying Little Nelly in order to defend her honour from some big shots making improper advancements toward her. Those have been a lot of fun and break up the more covert aspects.
Gadgets and weapons, of which there are many, are upgradable. Your main weapon is the P62, which comes in silenced and unsilenced varieties. Gadgets so far include the Q-Ball, which emits a noise to draw attention, tripwire cufflinks, smart glasses, a masking pen, which serves as a stealth shield, and a stun watch, no word if it’s an Omega or Rolex. By completing missions you can get components, blueprints, and intel which allows you to level up your gear.
Suiting is also customizable to a degree and has its own leveling up system. By achieving high scores you can add different linings to your outfit, each giving a unique ability, be it charging your gadgets, enabling you to roll easier, and increasing the loot found.
As for attire, playing on Hard or Challenge mode will help you earn fabrics, which lets you unlock various outfits Bond has worn across his sixty one years of cinema. If you’ve ever wanted to fight 006 in Roger Moore’s safari suit, run around MI6 in Brosnan’s Cuban attire from Die Another Die, or fight Jaws in front of Blofeld in SPECTRE’s volcano lair whilst looking like Daniel Craig in his tactical outfit from No Time to Die, this is your moment! Personally, I was looking like TMWTGG Moore as I went around Japan until I unlocked the tactical outfit from NTTD. Your base look is a charcoal suit from Dr. No with For Your Eyes Only, The World is Not Enough, and Spectre also represented as unlockable outfits. No luck if you’re a fan of Lazenby or Dalton. Hopefully, that will change as more chapters get added. I’d love to see Bond as Sir Hillary Bray or in his Tangier outfit from The Living Daylights. I’m also surprised we don’t have a black tuxedo, a staple of 007’s wardrobe since we first saw him on the Silver Screen!
Predominantly, I’ve been playing on my iPhone, but thanks to Calvin Dyson’s YouTube review, I’ve learned I can download the game to my AppleTV and play with a PS4 controller, which has increased my enjoyment immensely! Playing on the phone gives you the ability to control Bond’s movements with a joystick that appears on the left of the screen and actions are controlled by the icons on the right. For the most part, it’s fairly easy to control, but sneaking up to an enemy and getting the stealth knockout icon to appear can be finicky to line up and apply.
The score is Bondian enough, with copious guitar twangs to go around. It’s serviceable, but not often terribly memorable. As far as mobile games go, I give it a pass. Graphics include options for 30 or 60 fps and allows you to adjust resolution and detail. I played at 60fps with maximum resolution and detail level with no lag at all on my iPhone14 Pro. I also experienced no delays on my Apple TV. For what it is, it looks fantastic, with lots of details and colors to appreciate.
Throw all the elements into a cocktail shaker and how well do they blend? Remarkably well. Granted, my perspective might be skewed because I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun with a 007 game (was the much-maligned 007 Legends really eleven years ago?), but I am legitimately having a blast playing this. It did not take me very long to get used to the controls and it is fairly easy to play on story mode. When Bond dies he simply respawns at the last checkpoint, with all his ammo and gadgets restocked, whilst the nearby enemies still reflect their recent damage. There’s a lot of replay value, aided by the other difficulty modes, which means I have spent a lot of my free time playing this app recently!
Being that this is on Apple Arcade, I utilized a free month trial. Will I renew? Probably not, to be honest. The game is a lot of fun, but I don’t want another subscription service. However, when the game gets a few more chapters under its belt I will definitely sign up for a month and give it a go again.
I would definitely recommend Cypher 007 if gaming is something you enjoy. It’s been far too long since we’ve had a Bond adventure in this format and it feels that a lot of love and attention went into crafting this game and embracing different eras of the world’s favourite gentleman spy-just look at all the Easter Eggs in Q’s lab! It’s easy to pick up and the missions offer some variety. So grab your Moonraker laser, button up your Tom Ford dinner jacket, and have fun being Bond… James Bond.
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