The name’s Bond, James Bond.
The 50th anniversary of James Bond and the latest Daniel Craig featured Bond movie. Surely this is as good a time as ever for a damn good Bond game? Activision and Eurocom have stepped up to the mark with James Bond: 007 Legends, allowing the player to work their way through what will eventually be six different Bond movies, or at least parts of Bond movies, with the films Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence to Kill, Die Another Day and Skyfall being covered. Can we call this a movie tie-in?
It is quite a confusing state of affairs. Whilst the entire country is in a state of Bond fever for the latest movie, Skyfall, the component of this game which directly deals with that particular movie will not be available until November 9th. It is being offered as free DLC, but still leaves the game feeling unfinished. So what we do get is a game built around flashback sequences to previous Bond adventures, five to be precise, that you may think would be perfect for the Bond fans out there.
However, the fact that each of these sequences feature the rugged good looks of Daniel Craig rather than the original Bond actors that actually played Bond in each of these movies, feels strange. Add to this that the sequences are all based in the modern day, even though a lot of the references are still kept to the period of the movie in question, would suggest that perhaps the Bond fans wouldn’t be so pleased.
So, it is a game for the non-Bond aficionados then? Well, maybe. Obviously a lot of the references will be lost of those players who have not watched each of the Bond movies covered in the game, but each of the sequences are only loosely based around the movies they use as reference, taking a fair chunk of creative freedom. But the problem for those who are not fans comes from the fact that very little background about the movie they are playing in is given. This makes it quite difficult to actually invest in the stories and, as such, care about what is actually going on. This just leaves the player with a bunch of unrelated missions to complete, chock full of shooting and not much else.
Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. Not having a coherent story line doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. The problem is that the Bond references and movie tie-ins are the big hook in James Bond: 007 Legends and without them to prop the game up, things can get a bit messy.
Visually, the game looks somewhat dated. The textures are rough, the set pieces are generic and enemies are simply unimpressive. The game feels rushed. I don’t know if the developers were under a strict deadline, or if they just didn’t care, but it makes the game feel less like an homage to Bond and more like a quick way to cash in on the current Bond fever.
When it comes to the gameplay, things are not quite as bad. There is a solid shooting mechanic here, which is a good thing as so much of the game will revolve around gunplay. The weapons feel comfortable and there is satisfaction to be found in taking out the legions of mindless AI enemies that will be encountered in the various levels. Things can get a bit crazy with the sheer numbers of enemies and at times, thanks to the unimpressive textures, it can be quite difficult to see everyone that you are supposed to be shooting. But some gamers lap up this kind of organised chaos, so for them it will be business as usual.
Beyond the shooting, which makes up the main part of the gameplay, there are a fair few quicktime events that mostly take place when the player has their chance to take out the main bad guy in that particular movie. Bond would not be Bond without some gadgets and some stealth, but both of these aspects take second place to the shooting. The smartphone can be used to launch a couple of time-wasting mini games, such as when the player has to hack into something, and are relatively entertaining in the small part that they play. Stealth, on the other hand, seems only set to tease the player with a moment of relief before launching another wave of bad guys upon them.
The game is very linear in its format, leading the player quite simply from one objective to the next. Again, sometimes this can work well, but here it feels like a waste of the source material. There are also more than the usual bugs and glitches to be found within the game, further suggesting that the game was rushed.
The game also throws in a healthy dose of multiplayer, with both online and local play available. It is perhaps here that the most fun can be had, with the multiplayer being pretty much the same as that in GoldenEye 007 Reloaded. But if you already own that game, the reasons for picking up 007 Legends are even less.
Sadly James Bond: 007 Legends seems to have suffered from the curse of the movie tie-in game. Whilst there is fun to be had here, most players will have to lower their expectations to find it. The game feels like it has been thrown together using standard FPS ideas and 007 references without any real care. If you are a big Bond fan, there are parts that will make you happy, and parts that will make you cry. For anyone else, the game is an average shooter with Daniel Craig in.