Licensed products are a dime a dozen and normally fall short of the mark in varying degrees. However, knowing that more often than not a licensed product would lead to burnt fingers, there was something about 007 Legends that drew me to it. Was it the recently released and very awesome Skyfall movie? Was it the fond feelings I had of playing Goldeneye on my N64? I am not sure what the draw was but I should have followed my gut.
Developed by Eurocom and published by Activision, 007 Legends is meant to be a celebration of fifty years of Bond, with a single player campaign placing the recent Daniel Craig incarnation into six different films throughout 007’s illustrious movie career. Unfortunately this celebration fails to really get the party started.
The game starts with a quick cut scene where Bond is shot by Naomie Harris’s Skyfall character. If you haven’t seen the new film this will mean little to you as a player, but the shot sends Bond into a dream sequence. This kick starts the game where Bond revisits each of the past missions that make up the campaign. The bookend is a revisit to Skyfall and the shot that sent Bond into this dizzying recollection of his past. This is portrayed with a Skyfall mission that is released as free DLC to avoid any potential film spoilers but places unnecessary effort and frustration onto the player as we have to wait for an ending of a game just because of a film release.
The five missions that come with the game include Goldfinger, On Her Majestys Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence to kill and Die Another Day, and then the SkyFall mission available as DLC as mentioned earlier.
To revisit these films on your console is great for a Bond Fan, seeing iconic moments such as a dead body in a bed painted gold, fighting with Oddjob and dodging his deadly bowler hat or even battling Blofeld and sending him to his death. The only problem is the gameplay doesn’t deliver anything new and feels like a very average shooter.
Each mission includes a couple of levels so the game feels a bit bigger than just six levels but it still doesn’t take much to wiz through the game in a couple of sit downs that total around ten hours of gameplay. There are three different difficulty levels but these don’t do anything great to add to the difficulty or length of the campaign.
Eurocam were the team behind bringing Goldeneye to the next gen consoles with Goldeneye 007: Reloaded and while that was ok it, didn’t relight the spark of my N64 memories and with this next effort in Bond. I feel the studio have still fallen a little short on bringing Bond up to date for these consoles. They have tried to bring some of the gadgets from the movie to life and have improved the AI in this title from Goldeneye 007: Reloaded, making enemies more suspicious. It works well, but intelligent AI is an expectation I have of a half decent shooter in today’s current market.
Something the studio has introduced in this game is XP that can be earned throughout the single player campaign. This lets you purchase unlocks and upgrades for certain weapons or character perks, such as a grenade launcher on the bottom of your gun to extra health.
The game doesn’t end with the single player campaign though. In addition to this and the standard multiplayer you would expect, the game includes a challenges option that sets you objectives for each of the simple player campaign levels based around different gameplay elements, such as accuracy, elimination and stealth. Once you have completed the challenge you can upload your score to an online leader board and compete against friends. It’s a nice addition but I imagine it wouldn’t have taken much more development time as the levels are just a rehash of what we have already seen in other areas of the game.
The mutliplayer is the other significant area of 007 Legends and possibly the biggest draw. The good news here is that it is great fun. Again, in a similar vein to the single player campaign, the multiplayer isn’t ground-breaking with regards to gameplay and doesn’t stand up to its competition but for a Bond fan it is a lot of fun. There are multiple different gameplay options; Legends, Conflict and Team Conflict Golden Gun, Escalation, Heroes, Icarus, Black Box, Data Miner, Bomb Defuse, Licence to Kill and Team Licence to Kill. These encapsulate the standard deathmatch, Capture flag et al that you would expect from multiplayer mayhem.
My favourite mode was Legends. This mode allows players to choose from a selection of past Bond villains and battle it out. This was what I wanted as I selected Oddjob and remembered those Goldeneye N64 days. Unlike Goldeneye though, the size of the character didn’t really translate and I wasn’t kneecapping people as much as I remember. The point being that the characters very much felt like re-skinned clones of one another rather than having their own strengths and weaknesses to warrant serious consideration when it came to character selection.
Another point on the multiplayer was that the server was laggy in some parts and saw me quit a game as it was unplayable, but overall the experience online was a positive one. There is a level cap as you progress and earn XP with fifty seeing you unlock a 007 ‘prestige like’ mode. I haven’t got there yet, but will see what I can do.
The big draw of this game is that Daniel Craig’s Bond is placed in classic set ups and fan favourite movie scenarios. While the voice acting is great with the likes of Judi Dench, Greg Kinnear and Naomie Harris reprising their roles, it is strange to see Daniel Craig not voicing Bond. The person voicing him does a good job of trying to impersonate Craig, but just doesn’t get it right which sometimes felt jarring. Overall the sound is good but points like this obviously make the experience that little less engaging for the player.
007 Legends is a great slice of fun for a Bond fan, but doesn’t do anything for someone wanting a decent shooter as it falls short when it stands alongside its completion. With so many shooters on the market, it is a shame to see a licence that has so much promise not get the game it deserves. I enjoyed the experience but when I think of Bond in videogames, those N64 days will still remain the most prevalent.