The latest James Bond game 007 Legends has exploded onto PS3, XBox360 and will soon make an appearance on the Wii U but to cut a long story short, it’s a mixed effort. Fans of the long running spy franchise are bound to love parts of this game but for those die hard Call of Duty fans, direct comparison are inevitable. Still, this Bond inspired first person shooter deserves to be rated on its own steam.
When Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo Wii was released in 2010, it rekindled many gamers’ fond memories for the original N64 game as well as proving a hit for publishers Activision and developers Eurocom which arguably led to last year’s reboot for Xbox and PS3, Goldeneye Reloaded. Now, in 2012 which is of course the 50th anniversary of the famous franchise not only do we have a new film in Skyfall but a brand new game in the shape of 007 Legends.
The idea was that the game featured five classic Bond missions (one from each of the Bond actors), tied together by an original overarching storyline. What we actually have is five missions tentatively strung together with the sixth mission, Skyfall, shoe-horned in at the end purely for relevance. Each mission is brought up to date by things like hacking computer nodes or the nearest wi-fi connection (Bond uses his smartphone at almost every opportunity, complete with the necessary product placement) and there also seems to be a penchant for mindless violence, punchups with iconic villains such as Odd Job and Blofeld as well as taking out henchmen by shooting them in the bum (!).
Goldfinger is no doubt a classic Bond movie with all the memorable moments recreated here: Shirley Eaton (although in the game she’s unfortunately reduced to being an anonymous “assistant”) covered in gold paint, the laser table scene and the ambitious raid on Fort Knox.
The same goes for the other missions – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence To Kill and *shudders* Die Another Day all have their moments faithfully included for this game (even if Die Another Day is viewed by this reviewer as the worst Bond film of the lot). The game does miss out on some classic moments, unfortunately. Early on, during a stealth mission, there is the obligatory introduction but all we get is a terse “James Bond” rather than the classic “Bond….(long pause) James Bond”. Still, there are plenty of other 007 moments to keep fans happy.
The quality of the voice acting is good; for some strange reason, Daniel Craig doesn’t voice Bond but his sound-alike does a very good impression and where the original voice talent isn’t provided (for example Goldfinger or Tracy Bond) the spot on voice acting captures the essence of the characters. Otherwise, the likeness of the original characters is excellent with some stars for example Michael Lonsdale emerging from retirement to play Moonraker‘s villain, Drax.
I’ve played the PS3 version so can’t comment on the Xbox (but can only guess any differences are few and far between) but overall, graphics are very smooth and there seems to be very little in the way of “invisible walls”. The control system is intuitive although of course there’s the option to change them to best suit the player for maximum enjoyment. The action scenes are very much in the vein of Call of Duty – cut scene, shoot, use gadgets etc. but the many different Bond moments and inclusion of iconic Bond characters will keep fans happy. The online multiplayer option worked fine, compared to GoldenEye Reloaded which received a lot of backlash due to its poor online servers. Nevertheless whilst not providing anything new, it does give the game a few extra hours of gameplay. What self respecting FPS fan wouldn’t be up for a late night fragging session with your mates?!
Overall, despite some odd choice of missions, 007 Legends may seem misguided occasionally and perhaps doesn’t hold up to the glory of GoldenEye Wii and GoldenEye Reloaded but there’s plenty of content to keep Bond fans and hard core gamers happy and, if I’m honest, is a great way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bond…James Bond.