The newest James Bond flick Skyfall is already in theaters, and as sure as clockwork a new game has come out to celebrate the famed hero and spy. 007 Legends however is no ordinary movie tie-in, as it celebrates 50 years of the classic agent on film and brings together a number of 007’s most famous movie moments, all recreated to fit in actor and current Bond Daniel Craig. Is this tribute to James Bond’s greatest moments as legendary as the films that inspired it, or should have these scenes remained in the movies?
007 Legends is a first person shooter that attempts to tie-in many of the franchise’s greatest moments into one singular plot. Beginning with a scene straight out of the intro of Skyfall, Bond is shot while combating a foe on the top of a train, and plunges to his seeming doom. The fallen agent recalls some memories… and well, the player gets to play through them.
The plot is nothing to write home about. The overall storyline is practically non-existent, and two to three stages each cover one of the five movies featured in the game: Goldfinger, Dr. No, The World is Not Enough, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and finally Moonraker. The plots of each of the movies are thinly presented in the game as well, and it assumes that the player knows a lot about these films prior to playing the game. There are quotes and action scenes straight from the movies, but there’s really nothing really substantial when it comes to plot.
The visuals in the game are fairly average. Character models, stages, and weapons look good, but they aren’t anything we haven’t seen before, especially since it looks a lot like the last Bond game, Goldeneye Reloaded.
Sound is one redeeming feature though, as 007 Legends brings the voices of some of the original actors and actresses from the films to represent their in-game avatars. Daniel Craig reprises his role of 007, Micheal Lonsdale and Richard Kiel voice their characters Hugo Drax and his henchman Jaws from Moonraker, and many more lend their voices to add authenticity to the game. The voicework is convincing and well-done. The music is also excellent, with classic Bond tunes mixed in with new material that keeps things fresh and moving.
The gameplay is nothing special, however. Being your basic Call of Duty clone, 007 Legends doesn’t strive to bring anything original and new to the formula. It features the same shooting mechanics that have been seen many times before in first-person shooters. Players have access to a variety of weapons, like the P90 and AK47, must navigate stages to hit switches and obtain key items or intel, and blast every foe on the way to the objective. Controls are tight and responsive and work as they should, but due to levels being so large in space and with so few enemies to fire upon when roaming them, everything feels so dull and pointless.
Being a Bond game, some stealth is required to navigate some highly-guarded enemy compounds, and as such players have access to a number of spy gadgets to help them sneak around. There’s a wrist watch, which works as both a sensor that pinpoints enemies locations and a laser emitter that disables security cameras from a distance. There’s also a pen, which can fire shock or tranquilizer darts to disable foes without killing them, Last but not least is the smart phone, which has three functions: it works as a camera, a electromagnetic scanner that reveals hidden electrical mechanisms and hacks electronics, or as a bio-scanner, which can track gases, scan fingerprints and more. While these tools are initially fun to use, they’re quite gimmicky and get old quick. The phone has no other use than to snap the occasional photo and to find clues in each stage (Spoiler: usually most important clues are always found in the bad guy’s personal office. Go figure.), the wristwatch’s sensor is nearly useless, and the disabling laser is underused. The only frequently used item is the pen, which can act as an additional sidearm. The game also doesn’t seem to encourage stealth, as outside of a handful of painfully horrid short sections that have the player fail the mission if they are caught, there is no real penalty for acting reckless and rushing through the game, other than having more enemies to face off against.
There’s also a horrible melee mini-game in 007 Legends. It’s sort of like Punch-Out – as players have to counter enemy attacks and hit the exposed area – but it’s ridiculously easy, and not to mention very boring. Worst of all is that this is usually the go to mechanic for fighting bosses in the game, flinging all hopes of strategy out of the window and instead settling for god-awful boxing.
The game also features a number of vehicle sequences, in where players must usually chase enemies through streets, snowy mountains, icy paths and more, in either a first-person or third-person view. These are some of the most thrilling missions in the game as they add some much needed variety to the game. The steering controls in these sections are a bit flaky, and players will occasionally crash into walls here and there due to this, but it doesn’t detract from the fun to be had with these stages.
To keep things interesting, 007 Legends features a experience system which can improve the virtual Bond in a number of ways. By gaining points from completed missions and optional objectives, the player can invest points into Bond himself to grant skills, like regenerating health and added defense, or can purchase new parts for different gun classes, like scopes, extended clips, laser sights, and more. These upgrades can help Bond quite a bit, especially if the game is being played in higher difficulties and the player is taking on the game with the classic health system, where you need health packs to heal and armor to protect yourself. The gun upgrades however are more superficial, and don’t really make the guns feel any different, save for the laser sight.
The upgrade system is a nifty mechanic that I’d like the developers to explore more in the future, though hopefully it’ll be stronger next time around.
While the main campaign is easily finished and forgotten, the game also features multiplayer for those hoping for a better gaming experience. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, as the online modes are as boring as the single-player mode. Coming with the standard set of modes seen in Goldeneye Reloaded and a odd one or two, there’s nothing really new or fun here that will keep players shooting each other for long.
At the end of the day, James Bond’s newest video game outing leaves much to be desired. Despite the rich selection of movies the game is based on, 007 Legends unfortunately does not capitalize on the opportunity to make an amazing Bond game and instead leaves us with a mediocre shooter. If you’re really into the British spy and would love a chance to experience some classic adventures in the guise of Daniel Craig, then by all means try it out. But if you’re not a hardcore 007 fan, then feel free to skip this one.