Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC
Review Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date: October 16, 2012
What better way to celebrate 50 years of James Bond than by experiencing the esteemed franchise through a narrative that ties five classic fan-favorite films? From Goldfinger to Moonraker, 007 Legends combines some of Bond’s greatest adventures, but is it too ambitious for its own good? Legends is a difficult game to describe because it floats in limbo, never stepping beyond mediocrity. It’s a fun game with some solid gameplay, but without the Bond license masquerading throughout, it might as well be another Call of Duty clone with lesser visuals.
- Some classic Bond moments
- Solid gameplay
- Too much handholding
- Quicktime-event boss battles
- Too much Call of Duty, too little Bond
- Too Short
The overarching story is told through a series of flashbacks after Bond is shot and left for dead during a failed assignment in Istanbul. Every chapter takes a page from each Bond actor’s series of films, but in this case we’re controlling Daniel Craig’s incarnation of the famed agent. While each level tries to pay homage to classic Bond moments, you never actually feel like you’re playing the James Bond character. Daniel Craig is like Rambo, piling up bodies and tossing grenades left and right without breaking a sweat. Where’s the suave agent that enters a room with elegance and dignity? The moments of narrative that tie the missions are too brief and incoherent. Just because we’re expected to know the source material doesn’t mean we wouldn’t appreciate a little more story time with the characters.
If you’ve played any of the Call of Duty games, you’ve played 007 Legends. The game wastes no time and tosses you straight into the battlefield. Levels are generally linear and you’re fighting your way through hordes of baddies with several stealth segments sprinkled throughout. The gunplay is solid, precise, and smooth, but never differentiates itself from other FPS shooters. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time with Legends quite a bit, but it was for the wrong reasons. I wanted a game that glorifies the Bond character, his gadgets, his charm, and not just his ass kicking.
Stealth plays a big part in Legends, but the frustrating AI indicators and lack of interesting moves hinders any enjoyment. When sneaking up on enemies, you have to ensure the bodies don’t end up lying around in plain sight or get caught by cameras. The problem is that you can’t move dead bodies once they hit the floor, so you have to wait until patrolling guards are standing in the right spot to take them out. To make things more interesting, you can use your dart gadget to either tranquilize or shock your opponents, but that’s all you’re equipped with. You never really feel like a special agent who’s supposed to have state of the art gadgetry. Sure you can use your watch to fry cameras, but come on, is that really it?
Throughout each level, you end up in rooms where you have to play detective and find secret items and entrances. You need to use your Smartphone that comes equipped with various filters that either reveal fingerprints or wires leading to hidden switches. The problem is that the game continually tells you what to do and the clues are always in plain sight. With every opportunity to be Bond, you end up feeling like a child being dragged by their parent through the environment.
Handholding in this game is mind-boggling and there’s a button prompt or line of text for everything. But it’s during the boss fights that the game completely breaks apart. Every single end-boss is identical. Awkward fist fights that consist of pulling the left and right analog sticks while, yea you guessed it, following on-screen button prompts. There is zero challenge! Then there are the driving missions that feel like they were stuck in alpha stages of development. Aside from holding down the accelerator and swerving to avoid missiles, these stages feel shallow, like they were completely abandoned by the developers. On the bright side, the shooting is very well done. I wouldn’t say it’s as flawless as the COD series, but you can tell the programmers had a solid blueprint for the controls.
While the game is structurally almost identical to Call of Duty, the visuals don’t measure up to the franchise’s standards. They’re clean, sharp, and generally smooth, but the art design is disappointingly uninspiring. Most locations are industrial environments or bland interiors with a few exotic locales thrown into the mix. The Ice Palace from Die Another Day and the Space Station from Moonraker are probably the most aesthetically diverse, but the rest of the levels look repetitive and barren. Character models, on the other hand, are really well rendered. Craig and the crew look like their real-life counterparts and a lot of the original movie actors lend their voices for the game. But what’s the deal with Daniel Craig? The game has his likeness but they used a soundalike? Not a deal breaker, but certainly bizarre.I can’t deny that I enjoyed my time with 007 Legends. As a straightforward FPS, Legends has all the ingredients that make a decent game. But beyond the solid foundation, there is nothing that separates this game from other average shooters. The game’s biggest crime is that it uses the source material to tease us, leaving Bond fans scratching their heads. But even if we could overlook the lack of “Bond” in the game, it’s the handholding and the awful boss battles that break this title in half. A strange combination of solid shooting mechanics and flat-out lazy programming make this game an experience that’s a bit too shaken and stirred.
|Final Score||“Bond, Call of Duty-style”||6.5|
Character models look really nice and the environments are crisp, clean, and generally smooth. Unfortunately, the art design is bland and uninspiring with too many identical industrial looking locations.
The shooting mechanics are precise and smooth, but the constant handholding, the driving missions, the stealth segments, and the atrocious quicktime-event boss battles really hurt the overall experience.
You can finish the single-player mode in two to three sittings. Fortunately, the multiplayer is pretty decent and will give you something extra to do.
Buried deep in the soundtrack are memorable Bond tunes, but everything fades into the exploding environments and constant gunfire. Some classic voice actors from original films spice things up, but the Daniel Craig soundalike is very disappointing.
Review by Tin Salamunic
Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator by night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Artciles by Tin.