007 Legends Review (Xbox 360/PS3/PC)
Bond has somewhat a huge reputation, and after MGM having financial issues, he had an uncertain future. The videogame legacy of Bond really started with Goldeneye, and Eurocom have taken up the mantle and gone for something a little different this time, creating a “best of Bond” in 007 Legends; but is the best hit or miss?
With Craig firmly established as Bond, it’s hard to see him in the Connery era, but after a bullet to the gut and a merciless dive bomb from a train, that’s exactly where we find him. The game plays out with a “life flashes before your eyes” mechanic, and sees Craig tackle some of Bond’s biggest missions, including one from each of the actors that have played the iconic spy.
The settings may be familiar, but they’ve been given a modern makeover, with guns more akin to the Call of Duty series than classic Bond. Of course the classic Walther PP makes an appearance, how else would you take on Goldfinger’s men without it?
Starting with Goldfinger, the plot moves forward to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Licence to Kill, Die Another Day and finishes with Moonaker. Quite a varied selection, but it’s up to the hardcore Bond fans to argue if these were indeed the best choices.
You’ll experience familiar set-pieces, encounter classic villains such as Odd-Job and Jaws, and use classic guns like the Moonraker laser, but is it more Call of Bond than classic Bond?
It handles as you would expect. A very standard FPS control layout leans the game’s aim towards new fans as opposed to die-hard Goldeneye fans. Don’t expect too many similarities beyond the classic mode (no health regen) as this is very much a modern game. There are some really great ideas at work that pull from decades worth of stealth games, such as distraction darts shot from Bond’s pen, and stealth can work.
Certain areas, while they don’t require stealth, can be approached in a small sandbox fashion. Watching patrol routes and checking you wristwatch radar aid in remaining undetected so you can make a well timed headshot with a silenced pistol, or strike with a melee takedown, which are quite well animated.
Step beyond that, and the game digresses into another shooter that doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself from the crowd. Blasting your way through 40 plus indeti-guards doesn’t do anything to impress Bond’s spy status on the player, and is functional at best, but not remotely spectacular.
Occasionally the player will be forced into a quicktime event of fisticuffs with either a guard or the likes of Jaws himself. These could have been entertaining, if handled a little less rigidly, and while it’s designed to break up the pace and used to bring about a clash between Bond and an arch-villain, it’s a little overused and scripted.
The game ends on a heavy dud note, with the Skyfall missions available for download in November. While these are free, it’s worth noting that not everyone has an internet connection, and others will have it traded as soon as they finish the campaign, unless of course they want to spend time grinding in multiplayer. It’s nice to see a developer leaving a movie tie-in spoiler free, but perhaps a later launch date would have been preferable. It is, for all intents and purposes, an unfinished game.
It’s not a pretty game, despite the opportunity to draw from some of Bond’s greatest movies, and the repetitious enemy types do nothing to break up the pace. You’ll either be at home with Craig delivering Lazenby or Connery’s lines, or you’ll reel in disgust, but that will depend on how big a fan you are.
The soundtrack is handled well, with the classic riff being mixed and mashed in various ways to suit the mood, but this is overshadowed by the repetitious lines from enemy soldiers.
If you decide to take yourself online, you’ll be treated to an XP grinding multiplayer mode that does little to recapture any of Bond’s classic online games. There’s no hint of Goldeneye here and the Call of Duty influence is undeniably prevalent.
Players make custom classes, unlocked at level 6, and face off in a variety of modes. The usual gameplay is on offer in the style of free-for-alls, team deathmatch and domination style games. While they have a slightly fancier names, and a Bond themed setting, they are quite vanilla in reality.
The game’s lack of detail lets it down, and the curse of the identical henchmen strikes again. Level design is either bland, or overly convoluted, and it never really finds that middles ground. You’re faced either with labyrinthine mazes or block arenas. Legends mode is one of the game’s saving graces, allowing players to take on the role of their favourite Bond villain, or hero, in a free-for-all setting.
There are other modes that involve the legendary characters, all of which have their own gadgets and abilities, but it’s a hard pill to swallow considering the mediocrity of the rest of the multiplayer experience.
It’s hard to recommend 007 Legends, but then it’s certainly not the worst game. It comes off a little mediocre and with the lack of a solid conclusion, which won’t materialise until November, there’s no feeling of completion. Multiplayer falls under the radar as another unimpressive, but functional multiplayer.
007 Legends is really only going to appeal to hardcore Bond fans, who will spot all the little references and nods, who will take pleasure in reliving some of Bond’s iconic missions, and those that just simply like this sort of thing. As the iconic reference states; Bond will return, but let’s hope it’s better next time.