James Bond is one of the most recognisable film characters and probably the most popular British film franchise. The games have always had their ups and downs, from the high point of the original Goldeneye title on the Nintendo 64 back in 1997 which is unforgettable for anyone who played it, it was a game that lived long in the memory and fans still reminisce of their time playing it today! But at the other end of the scale you had the low points, anyone remember 007 Racing? What a cringe worth attempt at James Bond that was! Or how about the mixed reception of Goldeneye Reloaded released last year? I think it’s safe to say that 007 has never really lived up to his glory days of the late 90s/early 2000s when it comes to games.
Now with the new film Skyfall out and the James Bond label celebrating its 50th birthday on the big screen, Activision decided to jump on the bandwagon to do a bit of a tribute and celebration for Mr Bond. They decided to create a game that would feature a level from each of the 6 Bond actors and finally set their sets on creating a level for Sean Connery’s “Goldfinger”, George Lazenby’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, Roger Moore’s “Moonraker”, Timothy Dalton’s “Licensed to Kill” Pierce Brosnan’s “Die Another Day” and finally a Daniel Craig’s “Skyfall” level that would be released as a DLC. The catch is you play as Daniel Craig for all the levels and not the iconic actors that made those films their own. Although the levels do feature the identical likeliness of many of the actors for characters such as M, Pussy Galore, Jaws, Zao, Gustav Graves, Holly Goodhead, Franz Sanchez and more. But a few of the characters aren’t the likeness of the actors who portrayed them, notably Jinx who was played by Halle Berry in the “Die Another Day” movie isn’t anywhere to be seen in the game and is instead modelled on someone else.
Each mission for the films feel very rushed. They don’t give the levels enough time to give you a feel of them and you’re just running through from point A to B without really getting too involved with the story. To know what’s going out you have to just remember from the films, if like me you haven’t watched them in a long time then the game can feel really confusing.
Everyone loves a bit of stealth in a game, its fun just running in like Rambo and taking everybody down one by one but Bond is no stranger to entering secret areas without raising awareness so it’s important to have that aspect in a Bond game. Did they do it well in 007 Legends? Not one bit! I mean you have some cool gadgets to assist you in sneaking around, such as a dart pen that has a tranquilizer, shocker and distraction darts. But you don’t need to be stealthy, you have the option to just run in and gun everyone down, take out the reinforcements and just walk through like nothing has happening.
When you first pick up the game its feels quite good, a simple and easy to follow first person shooter, similar mechanics to Call of Duty but at the same time has the original Goldeneye 64 feel to it as well. But the more you play the game, the worse it get. The levels quickly become repetitive with nothing to really keep you gripped to it as the story is almost impossible to follow. Enemy guards randomly spawn off camera so they just shoot you from behind without you expecting it and if you play on classic mode which requires you to find health and armour then it can be really annoying when you keep losing health because of dodgy spawning and lack of health packs. At the end of every level you fight the boss from that Bond film, you would expect some kind of epic gunfight or close fought fighting sequence... but no. You get a fighting sequence, but its damn near impossible to fail, all you have to do is flick your analog stick the way it tells you and in about 5 flicks of the stick you defeat the end boss. This happens at the end of every level and it just makes it all seem so pointless and unimaginative. The last boss of a level/game should put all your skills into practise that you learnt throughout the game, not some simple fight sequence that a 3 year old could complete.
Critics haven’t been too kind to this “celebration” of Bonds history, likewise fans aren’t too chuffed with it either. It goes without saying that the game has some really good elements and some really good ideas in it. But it just feels rushed and the only thing worse than playing this game would be making it. No heart has gone into it at all. The game currently has a score of 45 (Xbox 360) and 41 (PS3) out of 100 on metacritic which makes it the worst rated James Bond game of all time. If this is the best Activision can do then they should give up now and hand the licensed back to EA!
007 Legends is available now for Play Station 3, Xbox 360 and PC. It will also be available on the Wii U at the end of this month.
Review in association with Duracell Gaming Accessories, which are available from Amazon, Play.com and Zavvi.com Review by Thomas Thompsett, White Room Games.