Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release Date: October 16, 2012
ESRB: T for Teen
This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game
His name is Bond. James Bond. He likes things shaken, not stirred. And not too long ago (two years, to be specific), developer Eurocom shook things up when they decided to re-imagine Rare“s Nintendo 64 classic with GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo Wii.
The formula was simple: take a classic film, update it into the modern world, throw in Daniel Craig“s Bond and BAM – you“ve got yourself a winner. But when Eurocom decided to stir up that formula in 007 Legends, things got way out of hand. The game has its moments, but certainly not enough to make this the game it was supposed to be.
007 Legends begins by showing us a virtually re-enacted scene from the new Bond film Skyfall, where Bond is duking it out with some bad dude atop a moving train when suddenly, he gets accidentally gunned down by a female sniper (oops), causing him to plunge into the depths of the river below. With Death creeping closer, Bond has that moment where his life flashes before his eyes. This, of course, is where we get all our missions – five of Bond“s past adventures that he relives as he drowns.
Each mission is taken directly from the classic Bond films Goldfinger, On Her Majesty“s Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day, and Moonraker. There“s also a free DLC mission based on Skyfall that you can download if you care enough about finishing off the campaign (yes, you have to download the end of the game). And just like with the re-imagined GoldenEye, each mission has been modernized with smartphones, updated weapons and vehicles, and Daniel Craig. Except â€¦that voice isn't Daniel Craig, but a soundalike who provides the game with some pretty atrocious voice acting.
Unfortunately, each mission has been stuffed into a very short playtime, which leaves the narrative extremely choppy and confusing to those who have never seen one (or more) of the six films featured in 007 Legends, especially since you“re thrown into specific scenes that explain very little of what“s going on. Even the opening sequence makes little sense, since no attempt seems to have been made to give this game a proper exposition. Seriously, who the hell was James fighting on top of a moving train? And who was that sniper with terrible aim? These questions are no doubt answered in Skyfall, but considering this game was released before that movie, it was a very poor place to start the game.
Sure, 007 Legends does have some fun nods to its source material, such as the famous scene where James almost gets his junk laser“d off by Goldfinger, but scenes like this are just thrown together into a jumbled mix of poorly-designed levels and repetitive gameplay that makes the game play a bit too much like a failed attempt at a Call of Duty mod and less like a 007 game. And each mission is basically the same: kill hordes of respawning enemies on your way to a checkpoint, attempt to be stealthy with the game“s horrible stealth system, use your smartphone to hack/take pictures/scan for fingerprints, partake in the occasional poorly-controlled vehicle chase sequence, and eventually engage in some lame quick-time fisticuff match with some of the big baddies that are way too easy and way too short to feel like appropriate boss fights.
I appreciate the developer“s attempt at trying to give players more variety throughout the game, but the result is, at best, several steps below mediocre. The game“s stealth mechanics are probably the worst offenders here. Oh, you can be stealthy alright, but only by crouching down and walking silently. As soon as you take out an unsuspecting enemy, you“ll often find yourself screwed as you can“t do a thing with their body. And as soon as someone else comes along and sees the body, your cover is blown. So I just spent most of the time running into the heat of battle, guns a-blazing, until I hit my checkpoints.
The horrible stealth mechanics wouldn“t be much of a problem for me, though, had I been able to do that all the time, but Eurocom deemed it necessary to throw in a bunch of mandatory stealth sections that result in an instant mission fail as soon as you get spotted. Do you get a chance to blast your way out of there? Nope! And your inability to peek around corners makes these sequences all the more frustrating. Of course, you CAN peek over ledges from time to time, so that helps.
And the radar on Bond“s wristwatch doesn“t make things much better either. Though I suppose the ability to shoot lasers out of your wristwatch to distract enemies helps. So does the dart-shooting pen, but you don“t even get that until about halfway through the game.
I won“t go into too much detail about the other gameplay mechanics this game has, but believe me, some of them are pretty bad. For example, the enemy AI is loads of fun (sarcasm detected). Having the enemies occasionally firing at obstacles instead of finding a way past them and blindly running into walls is some top-notch stuff, Eurocom. There“s also some pretty annoying frame rate problems to look out for, and the game“s somewhat outdated graphics, coupled with crummy character animations, doesn't help anything.
There IS a silver lining in the sea of mediocrity, however, and that lies with the multiplayer. Just like in the re-imagined GoldenEye 007, you get a pretty good selection of well-known characters that bring along their own unique qualities and abilities (like throwing Oddjob“s trademark hat). You also have 12 modes to choose from, which provides a lot of diversity amongst competing players. None of this really matters, though, unless you have a buddy or two (or three) to play with locally because chances are fairly low that a game of this caliber will even have enough people playing it online after they“ve played the campaign. At least, I certainly wasn“t able find too many peopleâ€¦
I really wanted to like this game, especially after the fantastic job Eurocom did with the updated version of GoldenEye 007, but 007 Legends simply didn“t have enough good qualities to make it the game it should have been – a big, fun collaboration of some of James Bond“s finest moments re-imagined to the same degree as GoldenEye.
Instead, Legends shows us how not to make a 007 game. Not only was it not a big game (about five hours), but the fun factor was only really there if you were playing multiplayer. With its choppy narrative, shoddy gameplay mechanics, and lackluster level design, this game has bombed. James Bombed (sorry).
+ Multiplayer is fun
- Choppy, confusing narrative
- Missions are repetitive
- Shoddy gameplay mechanics
- Lackluster level design
- Painfully dull boss fights
Overall Score: 3 (out of 10)
007 Legends shows us how not to make a 007 game, providing us with perhaps the worst James Bond title in video game history. This is not the 50-year celebration Bond deserves.