Operation Game Slam
He is the world’s most notorious super spy. Men want to be him and women want to be with him. And after 50 years of books, movies, and games being set in his universe, the folks at Activision and Eurocom thought they should get in on his golden anniversary by giving us a game that lets us relive some of his greatest adventures while also setting up his upcoming movie romp, Skyfall.
Starting with Goldfinger and working its way through On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day, and finally Moonraker, the game gives us a brief glimpse at definitive movies of all the men to have played Bond before current actor Daniel Craig. Somewhere along the lines though, someone decided to remove the classic actors from these great movies and insert Craig’s likeness with a pitiful replacement voice in their place as the developers tried to tie together a very loose narrative about Bond’s history.
And unless you are the most diehard of Bond fans you may have trouble understanding just what is going on around you as this plot fails to set any sort of a stage around you. If you’ve never seen Goldfinger, you might miss out on why Auric Goldfinger, originally played by Gert Frobe and whose likeness returns from the grave, but his voice is done by the same shmuck who replaces Daniel Craig’s, wants to irradiate the USA’s supply of gold at Fort Knox. Or just who exactly is Ernst Starvro Blofeld as SPECTRE is never even mentioned throughout the entirety of the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service missions or why Theresa Draco is so damn important to James.
However, there is a perfectly logical reason why it may be easy for you to miss these important plot details. You’ll be too busy writhing in pain as you try to look past the last generation quality visuals to pay any attention to the actual dialogue. Although many of the environments have been re-imagined in order to better suit a modern vibe, the lack of detail in many instances makes the levels feel like lifeless, bland looking shells. When you combine this with some of the worst ragdoll physics I’ve ever seen in a first-person shooter and quite honestly it doesn’t even look like Eurocom tried to do Bond justice.
But even worse than poor visuals and story is that the game play is damn near atrocious. Exceedingly boring and mundane, you might wish you could turn your Walther P99 back on your own head at points. The boss battles have been trivialized into sloppy quicktime events, the stealth aspects are pitifully frustrating as you can’t even drag dead bodies into corners and are far too often discovered for it, and the guns are poorly balanced where it often takes as many as seven bullets to the torso to down enemies who are not wearing any sort of body armor.
And aside from poor visuals, game play, and plot, the game is also ridiculously short. The entire single player campaign is only five to six hours long as there are only so many scenes you can take from each movie and turn into a video game level. And even with the promised free Skyfall missions DLC, I don’t see them adding enough value nearly a month after the game’s release to be worth a $60 purchase. With Activision’s history of spoiling movies though in their games (see The Amazing Spider-Man game from earlier in the summer), it’s surprising they didn’t just include the levels with the disc anyway, or wait to release the disc for another few weeks.
There are a few aspects of the game that weren’t complete wastes of time however. The challenges mode, giving you special objectives and win conditions for most of the single player game’s levels, offered some difficulty and replay value as the levels were too boring on their own for the most part. Also, the versus multiplayer and its corresponding modes, although they were a carbon copy of last year’s Goldeneye 007: Reloaded with just the current game’s character skins, worked well enough. The remixed music of the classic movie themes was also well done, but the complete absence of the classic James Bond theme is unforgivable.
All in all, there is nothing legendary about 007 Legends. In fact, it doesn’t even quantify itself as average. If you are a James Bond fan and are thinking about getting this game, you should just re-watch the corresponding movies instead. You’ll get far more enjoyment from them and they will also take up far more of your time.
SUMMARY: For something that was supposed to celebrate 50 years of the world’s favorite super spy, it sure seemed more like a slap in the face. Poor visuals, bland game play, and a generic multiplayer seem to have become the gaming standard for 007 with Legends just being the latest example.
- THE GOOD: Bringing together great moments from Bond history on one disc
- THE BAD: Looking like an N64 game while doing it
- THE UGLY: The voice actor playing Gert Frobe in the Goldfinger missions
007 Legends is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.