Quantum of Solace Preview
Written Tuesday, October 07, 2008 By James Parkin
The James Bond series has been in a lot of hurt since Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. Fans have been itching for ages waiting for a game of high enough caliber to follow in its footsteps. Well my friends, the day may be near. Quantum of Solace, the newest game in the series coming from Treyarch brings a lot to the franchise, but is it enough?
Quantum of Solace is a game based on the upcoming James Bond film featuring the same name but also has aspects and scenes of Casino Royale in it. The game’s built on the Call of Duty 4 game engine, but surprisingly, plays a lot more like Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Vegas. Treyarch worked very closely with Columbia Pictures, and were given thousands of images from both the Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale films so the game stayed close to its Bond roots.
Quantum of Solace has sixteen different single player levels, two of which involve a train level that was cut from the final release of Casino Royale, and another level in which you’re in a science center chasing a target. While playing, you’re given a target of some sort, and your job is to find said target, and eliminate him. Since more often than not you’re dealing with a high profile enemy, you’ll have to take out their band of merry men before you get chance to take the kingpin, so make sure your trigger finger is ready for a workout. Keep your eyes peeled as well as there are enemy cellphones conveniently left around the levels that give you valuable information as to where and how to approach your mission’s objective.
Quantum of Solace gameplay heavily relies on the game’s cover system and its destructible environment. Treyarch even indicated their reliance on these two gameplay features by pointing out that unless you truly master these, you won’t be able to complete the harder difficulties. Luckily however, both are very easy to use. To go into cover mode all you have to do is go near a wall, booth, whatever the cover may be, and press the A button. From here, simply move your left stick to peek out or stay in cover and blind fire. The destructible environment is a typical Jekyll and Hyde feature, with both good and bad points. Throughout the levels there are objects like fire extinguishers and propane tanks situated all over the place, but why there would be a propane tank inside a science center is beyond me. Shooting a propane tank will result in a giant explosion, killing anyone nearby, while shooting a fire extinguisher will result in a explosion of compressed air, stunning anyone nearby, so utilizing these will make your life easier.
As developers like to do these days, Treyarch have exercised a little artistic creativity, especially when Bond takes damage and although a deft touch, it’s really refreshing. I am of course talking about the tribute to Bond’s famous barrel sequence that precedes any Bond film. The barrel scene acts as a health bar in the game and the closer you are to death, the smaller the barrel will be, and as you recover, that will open up.
Quantum of Solace also features a decent melee system that is a step up from the traditional a knife slash or weapon swing we’ve all come to know and love. To initiate hand-to-hand combat with an enemy, simply click the left stick, then press the button you’re told to press (it’ll be one of the four face buttons). Once pressed, Bond will perform a traditional swift and deadly Bond move, resulting in another entry for Bond’s little black book of dead henchmen. It’s worth noting that the melee moves are random, and whilst playing I only saw one repeat itself, so there’s seems to be a pretty big catalogue of them to keep action fresh.
The multiplayer in Quantum of Solace is fantastic. Like the single player side of things, it feels a lot like Rainbow Six Vegas, but still plays as a new game. Online supports up to twelve people, with a bunch of different game types like team deathmatch, free-for-all, a headquarters type game, and wait for it… a golden gun mode. Yes my friends, the golden gun is back, and it’s incredibly fun to play with. The mode is a free-for-all type mode, with a single golden gun in the level. The gun is always on the map, so if you have it, everyone can see where you are. The gun isn’t a normal gun either, it’s a pistol that shoots grenades that explode on impact! Watch out though, if you shoot an enemy that’s too close, you’re more often than not going to kill yourself in the process.
The online modes are filled with a whole array of features to help improve the experience. You have the ability to create your own classes and fill them up with guns, sidearms, explosives, special grenades, and a heap of perks. One of the better explosives being a proximity mine that you can place much like a claymore, however these are not friendly proximity mines though and they will kill you if you walk by it after it’s been placed, so don’t be a tool, remember where you planted these bad boys.
Quantum of Solace also features a prestige mode, much like Call of Duty 4, but instead of earning experience points, you’ll earn money. You earn money by killing others, with the winner of the round getting a multiplier netting them some extra cash. With your earned money you’re free to buy more guns, gun accessories, explosives, and perks. You’re also able to get weapon skins for your guns, including the much loved gold skin (the gold skin does not turn your gun into the golden gun, it’s just a skin), but there was a bit of confusion on how this would unlock as we were told it would both unlock with prestige mode, and automatically once you purchased a gun.
With the build we were shown, Quantum of Solace looks to be a very promising first-person shooter. With plenty of action on offer in a high octane single player mode and the golden gun mode making a worthy return, Quantum of Solace is looking to be a must buy for Bond fans worldwide. Whilst it will not be in the running for Game of the Year, it is most definitely shaping up to be a shooter that may be worth a purchase this coming Christmas.
Quantum of Solace hits store shelves November 4th in the US, and October 31st in Europe.