007 Legends Review
Written : Monday, October 29, 2012
By: Lee Abrahams
It must have all been a dream. As we all slept, maybe fitfully as a result of that last crushing defeat on FIFA, someone re-launched Bond, made him into a more brooding, more real, version of his old self. Maybe they called the film Casino Royale, you know like that original camp one, and they followed it up with a couple of equally cool sequels that did equally well. Only it can’t have happened because, if it did, then we surely would be inclined to expect a damn sight more from a Bond game than this.
The idea sounds ingenious, like a Bond gadget of old, as you get to dip your toes into five different movies from the back catalogue – with Skyfall to be added in the near future. What joy, what variety... What an unmitigated disaster. The thing that made these old Bond films great were the various Bonds that were actually present, along with some diabolical villains, clever dialogue and spy-related shenanigans. So how about we replace that series of old Bonds with a bad approximation of Daniel Craig (with someone else's voice) and slap a gun in his hand? Cue a shooter clone that has none of the verve or enjoyment of even the worst Bond films.
Making a bad situation even worse.
The story, such as it is, sees Bond wounded and flashing back to some of his previous missions. Only he seems to forget that he looked like Sean Connery or Roger Moore at the time and instead of doing much spy work, as you may recall, he just blasts the living crap out of everything in sight. If that doesn’t sound much like any of the movies, then have a cookie, as you’d be spot on. Instead this is a thinly veiled clone of pretty much every first-person shooter with a free James Bond character DLC skin pack thrown on top.
Running through the levels sees you given little in the way of guidance or direction, but that really doesn’t matter as you get to blast apart clueless henchmen that offer pretty much nothing in the way of resistance. Occasionally you might actually require a touch of stealth, but wait, don’t get excited because the game actually gets even worse when that happens. Enemies don’t react as they might in Metal Gear Solid, or Splinter Cell or even the crappy sneaking sections in any of a dozen other games. No, instead they might see you while facing the other way or miss you while standing a yard away. Your progression coming down to a wonderful mix of luck and bloody mindedness.
Careful, he’s got a hat!
Occasionally you also get to use a few gadgets which, in reality, boils down to a fairly dull mini game. What fun. You also get to go behind the wheel of a fancy gadget ridden car, which handles like a bucking bronco and is half as much fun. Also, whoever thought adding a driving section on ice would be a valid and entertaining distraction was horribly, horribly wrong. Then you get to the boss fights. Do they still have those you cry? Well not like this. For some reason you get to go toe to toe, melee style, with various villains and get to defeat them by using the analog sticks to follow a series of prompts. Has a boss ever been thwarted in a more humiliating way? Doubtful.
Assuming you can stomach more single-player action after cruising through the drab, and emotionally harrowing, story (that, by the way, technically will not be complete until the Skyfall DLC rears its head in November) then you can try the various challenges too. You could also put your hand in a blender (please don’t though) as that would probably be just as much fun. At least completing all of the game and challenges can net you a good chunk of fairly easy achievements, which is pretty much the only reward this game has to offer.
It’s like he doesn’t care that you’re shooting at him.
The online offering is much the same and suffers from practically zero population even this soon after the game's launch. In fact the majority of people online are probably the aforementioned achievement hunters, hoping to chalk the game off quickly. The modes are exactly as you would expect, with the fun Legends mode being the real pick, though obviously it has been cribbed from a previous title wholesale. Blasting apart people over the interweb is as fun as ever but the selection of maps doesn't do much to make things compelling and the only real draw is the ability to play some old-school four-player splitscreen which is a nice touch.
All 007 Legends does is prove that shameless movie cash ins are still alive and well, as it offers none of the intrigue or thrills that the recent film reboots have done so well. Instead it decides to make Bond into a gun toting soldier, mowing down an endless stream of idiotic enemies that are just as likely to run into a wall as they are to shoot back. Even the multiplayer mode, so often the bastion of Bond gaming goodness, feels like a hollow representation of former glories. Bond would be ashamed to put his name to this and so should Activision.
Bond theme aside this is full of drab gunfire, wonky voicework and a Bond stand in that is not up to the task.
Decent but that is hardly a compliment considering the rich and varied heritage the game had to draw upon, it could have been a trip down memory lane instead it’s a trip to bad memory lane.
The multiplayer environment is laggy, slow and out of date and the solo experience is not much better, with a mix of poor driving sections, awful boss fights and insipid gameplay. Pick up a gun and shoot stuff - done.
A Bond game that is still living in the shadow in GoldenEye and one that does its best to tarnish a rich legacy of actors and settings with a bizarre modernised take on events.
A few fun tasks are hidden amongst a raft of 100% completion tasks and far too many MP achievements for the already declining online population to ever want to achieve.
Making a good Bond game, you think, would be a walk in the park. But time and time again you see developers and publishers trying to force a winning formula down a set path, aping other games, and coming out the worse because of it. 007 Legends is bland, uninspiring material that even the most ardent Bond fan might struggle to enjoy. Maybe next time, Mr Bond.