- Street Date:
- October 16th, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- Daniel Hirshleifer
- Review Date:1
- October 29th, 2012
- Game Release Year:
- ESRB Rating:
- T (Teen)
While I have yet to see the film, Daniel Craig's latest outing as James Bond, 'Skyfall', is reportedly one of the best entries in the long-running series. Seeing as how that's the case, it would make sense that the newest game, '007 Legends', would be one of the best Bond games, right? Well, sense has never really been a hallmark of Bond's video game outings, and sadly, '007 Legends' may in fact be the worst Bond adventure of all time.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
'007 Legends' opens with a scene that will be familiar to anyone who has seen the 'Skyfall' trailer: Bond grapples with a villain on top of a speeding train, while an MI6 sniper takes a shot, misses, and Bond falls into a river. From there, Bond recalls past missions, or in this case, past movies. We get 'Goldfinger', 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', 'Moonraker', 'Licence To Kill', and 'Die Another Day'. This sounds great in theory, but right from the get go there's a problem: The developers didn't bother to get the likeness rights for any Bond other than Craig, and these stories play out with far less humor and interest than they would if they had gotten the original actors to return. But hey, Craig didn't do such a bad job in Goldeneye 007: Reloaded, so maybe he'll come through on this one, too. Oh, wait, Craig doesn't actually voice Bond for '007 Legends', so we're stuck with a second rate Craig imitator the whole way through.
If that were the biggest complaint, I'd overlook it. After all, Bond is silent for most of the game, anyway. Sadly, it’s all downhill from here. The game itself is bad, bad, bad. The core mechanics are a straight rip-off of 'Call of Duty' with an added stealth component. Stealth consists of walking while crouched and taking out enemies with silenced guns. However, unlike in Goldeneye, where dead bodies disappeared, these bodies stick around to be noticed by guards and cameras. While this sounds like a better play mechanic, it has one glaring flaw: You can't move the dead bodies! Even if you do manage to take out two or three enemies, someone will notice the pile of corpses and raising the alarm, bringing out more grunts than if you had simply shot everyone right at the beginning. Simply put, there's no benefit to stealth at all. However, that doesn't stop the developers from putting in sections that require stealth and don't let you use weapons of any kind.
Of course, even if you go in guns blazing, there's not much of a challenge when the AI is so bad. Enemies constantly shoot towards nothing, leaving you plenty of openings to take them down. The developers also throw in some boss fights, in the form of hand to hand combat. This consists of little more than timed button pressing, and the timing is so generous that there's no reason that Bond should ever take a punch at any point for the duration of the game. Even the longest and most complex of these sequences should take no more than two minutes, after which, instead of getting to dispatch the villain yourself, you're stuck watching pre-scripted sequences. At this rate, you might as well watch the original films. Actually, the developers assume that you have already seen the movies, because the stories are disjointed and haphazard, cutting in to memorable moments without context. 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' gets particularly short shrift, and people who haven't seen the film beforehand might think it's about Bond going on a ski vacation.
The meta-story also doesn't get resolved, cutting off abruptly at the end of the last mission. Although '007 Legends' is intended to coincide with 'Skyfall', there's no actual 'Skyfall' mission in the game yet. That section will be released as free DLC after the film's worldwide release, but why bother? It's a decision that truly makes no sense. Releasing the game so far in advance of the film's release means it's not truly effective as a tie-in. Once people play the game, they're not going to want to wait for new DLC, because they'll have long since sold the disc. If the publisher had waited till the film came out, the game could have had the 'Skyfall' material on the disc, and the people who were fooled into buying it wouldn't have to wait a month to finish the game. The way things currently are, everyone loses.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'Goldeneye Reloaded' was a port of a Wii title, which explained why it looked so visually deficient. '007 Legends' has no such excuse, but manages to look just as bad. Textures are indistinct and muddy, and characters move choppily. A few likenesses turn out pretty well, like Tracy in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service', while others seem sloppily put together. When there's a lot of action on screen, frame rates drop dangerously low, and screen-tearing is frequently evident. This is an ugly, ugly game.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The sound doesn't come off much better. Yes, there's your basic directionality, but the bass feels anemic. As noted, Craig doesn't even do Bond's voice, although Richard Kiel and Michael Lonsdale appear as Jaws and Hugo Drax, respectively. Current Bond score composer David Arnold makes contributions to the soundtrack, but the music feels awfully generic. Even though a few film-specific themes weave themselves through each mission, the major Bond themes rarely show their faces. Most of the time you'll be listening to music so forgettable that you'll wonder if you even have the right game in the system.
'007 Legends' offers a few elements to try and get you to play more than once, such as secondary objectives, although the game gives you little to no clues about how to achieve them. Some might see this as a challenge, but in a game this boring, the last thing you want to do is stick around each level even longer, figuring out what hidden objectives you might or might not be fulfilling. There's also online multiplayer in a variety of modes, but good luck finding anyone to play with. If all else fails, there is traditional split-screen multiplayer, but why not get Goldeneye Reloaded instead, which has both a great single player and multiplayer experience? And then, of course, there's the aforementioned 'Skyfall' DLC, which I cannot review as it has not yet been released. But I can tell you now, there's no way the whole game is worth buying just for the additional mission down the line.
'007 Legends' may be the worst Bond game ever made, which, when you consider some of the competition, is really saying something. Broken mechanics and a moronic AI join forces with terrible graphics and mediocre sound to create a game that no one should play. The fact that the developers didn't even give us the whole game, promising the last mission as DLC, just adds insult to injury. James Bond may only live twice, but '007 Legends' can't even be bothered to live once.
- Blu-ray disc
- Dolby Digital 5.1
- 'Skyfall' DLC
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