The name’s Wriglesworth, Dave Wriglesworth. My mission is to review the latest James Bond title: Quantum of Solace on the Xbox 360. This could prove to be a daunting task for someone who has yet to see the film but I felt I was up to it.
Ever since the Nintendo 64 title ‘GoldenEye 007’ released in 1997, Bond fans have been treated with eight Electronic Arts’ James Bond games. Alas, none of them captured the true experience created by the films. Eleven years on and with new teams behind the series, James Bond: Quantum of Solace - based on the film of the same name – has been released.
The game starts off as the previous film (Casino Royale) ended; James Bond kidnapping Mr. White. Though being Bond, things aren’t as easy as they sound and he finds himself being chased through a boathouse by guards. After a rather explosive introduction to the game, the opening credits roll.
During the opening credits, the song: "When Nobody Loves You" (performed by Kerli) plays rather than the arguably better and the theme tune for the film: ‘Another Way to Die’ (performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys). Whilst it came as a slight surprise not to hear ‘Another Way to Die’, the rest of the game’s audio soundtrack makes up for this, ranging from the familiar James Bond theme song to some unfamiliar orchestral pieces.
As for the rest of the audio, the game sets a high standard especially in the character voice department as the likes of Daniel Craig (James Bond), Olga Kurylenko (Camille) and Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre) have contributed their voices to the game to give it that extra realism.
Treyarch also attempted to gain extra realism by including both first-person and third-person views during the game. The game uses the first-person perspective as Bond is running around and the third-person perspective whilst Bond is in cover, shimmying along walls and during quick-time events such as takedowns. To some extent, the switch of views benefits the title. The boss battles would not have had the same dramatic effect and a lot of the features mentioned above wouldn’t be in the game. The only problem with the switch is when you takedown an enemy in the middle of a shootout against multiple targets. As there are a few twists and turns during takedowns, the camera normally resets itself into a different position than you started with, and it takes a few vital seconds to adjust.
As mentioned previously, the game uses quick-time events which require players to press the corresponding button to those displayed on screen. The quick time events vary across the game depending on the situation. To open code-secured doors, players press the corresponding directional pad button; for using takedown on enemies and during boss battles, players press the corresponding lettered button. Too many quick-time events spoil a game and Quantum of Solace does have its moments where you just want to hurry up and get on with the action.
The game’s controls will come very quickly to most players as, like the gameplay; they are also similar to Modern Warfare. The only real changes are with the lettered buttons as A becomes the action control (such as to get into cover) and Y becomes the jump control.
Quantum of Solace’s gameplay is also very much like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, though this comes as no surprise since they use the same engine. At times, p articularly in the online mode, the game feels like Call of Duty but with a James Bond makeover. This isn't the best of feelings, especially for a £40 game but it will go unnoticed by many players.
As for the game’s graphics, Daniel Craig looks as dashing as he does in real life and some of the detail is spectacular. There are some weak spots but on the whole they are impressive.
The major fault with Quantum of Solace is the longevity of the story mode. Whilst it may be slightly longer than other game-to-film conversions, the story mode can easily be done in five/six hours. There is the option to play the game on one of four difficulties though many players will play through the story once or twice and not again due to the game’s rather direct one-way-only pathway. Despite its length, I really enjoyed the story mode. There's a lot of scenes which really stand out and truly capture that movie-like sensation.
A solution to the longevity issue is resolved by the impressive online play for the game. Quantum of Solace has ‘MI6’ agents going up against ‘The Organization’ in each game mode. There are the usual deathmatch (Conflict), team deathmatch (Team Conflict) and king of the hill (Territory Control) game modes as seen in almost every online compatible shoot-em-up titles but Quantum of Solace introduces two new modes. The first of which is ‘Bond Versus’ in which a lone James Bond must diffuse at least two of the three bombs or eliminate the six members of The Organization. The Organization win if Bond dies twice or the timer runs out.
Secondly, Quantum of Solace introduces ‘Golden Gun,’ an online game mode which works like a standard free-for-all deathmatch with a slight twist. The winner is the player who reaches 100 points or has the highest score in the given time. For every kill with a normal weapon, players get one point though whilst holding the Golden Gun, players score 6 points.
After every round, players are rewarded credits based on the kills and their score within the game. These credits can be spent on buying new weapons, weapon attachments and gadgets from the ‘weapon store.’ The more credits you have, the better your arsenal will be and the more achievements you will unlock.
As for the rest of the game’s achievements, they seem to have been cleverly thought out. This is especially true of the achievements names which will be easily recognisable by Bond fans, as the name of the Bond films.
James Bond: Quantum of Solace is like a Bond girl. You’ll either love or hate her. The game's story mode is short yet thrilling and the online capabilities are to a high standard though unfortunately, the title will get overlooked under all the bigger titles releasing in the run-up to Christmas and therefore not getting the recognition the game deserves.