Review: 007 Legends (PS3)
Title: 007 Legends
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Developer: Eurocom Entertainment Software
ESRB Rating: T
007 Legends is also available on the Xbox 360, PC, and Wii U.
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.
The 007 universe has hosted numerous games on nearly every generation of console with titles of varying quality. Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 still holds the crown for my favorite multiplayer FPS experience. Although many James Bond games that release alongside the latest films will often go unnoticed, the reimagining of the N64 classic (Goldeneye: Reloaded) was able to capture the magic of the original while incorporating the online capability of the current gen consoles. Unfortunately, 007 Legends is not one of the more memorable Bond games and poorly executes what sounded like an interesting game idea.
The single player campaign in 007 Legends is unique in its approach to capturing the essence of Bond. Classic scenes from some of the most popular movies have been recreated, allowing the player to experience the suspenseful action directly from Bond’s viewpoint. As an audience, we all remember watching the debonair super spy as he lay strapped to a table, moments away from being split down the middle of his body (starting at the crotch of course) by a powerful laser beam. By putting players in those impossible situations, it would seem that 007 Legends has the right ingredients for an engaging game, especially when the player is a fan of the franchise. Because games are not movies and movies are not games, theatrical scenes cannot possibly be translated exactly into gameplay. This forces the developer to take a certain amount of artistic freedom with the various plots and that is when the game falters.
Almost every game that attempts to mirror a movie ends up lacking and 007 Legends exemplifies the reasons behind said phenomenon. The memorable moments of Bond history that have been inserted into this title worked very well under great direction in the films, but they lose that magic during gameplay. The result is a mediocre FPS experience that does not compete with the more popular ones out there. Nothing new is brought to the table while the QTE’s and mini-games involving Bond’s gadgets are a tedious waste of time. The checkpoint system is frustrating, causing players to repeat cutscenes and unlock the same doors or hack the same computers. When all of this repetition is triggered by a simple missed/unexpected QTE, the feeling of replaying is even worse.
On a positive note, the game runs very smoothly with a solid framerate and a comfortable speed. Bond will sprint across environments with ease while comfortably switching guns, intuitively aiming, and picking off targets with precision. The gun play in 007 Legends is decent and the weapon selection is adequate. There are not many games that can conquer the fundamental flaw of stealth gameplay in the first-person view, but this game nonetheless takes a crack at it. Not surprisingly, it isn’t fun or even worthwhile.
The load times disrupt the action because they are unnecessarily long. The gameplay, environments, and visuals do not justify the loading. The fight mechanic is probably the worst feature of the game. It is almost comical to beat guys up with such an ancient feeling, terrible system. I’ve had better fights in the NHL games from the 90’s.
There is nothing noteworthy about the visuals in 007 Legends either. Character models have blocky faces while environment textures are lazy and lack detail. Cutscene graphics are not appealing but actual gameplay visuals are sufficient. 007 Legends looks like one of those games that could have also been released for the Wii because of its ambitionless approach to its overall look.
The tagline that I’d like to use to describe the audio in 007 Legends is as follows: “Daniel Craig’s likeness has been sloppily inserted into the most quintessential moments of Bond history, and the developers did not even bother to use his real voice”. The impersonator has his moments, but enough listening will tip off even the least-trained ear. The audio shines in only one area and it is of no credit to the devs. The theme songs that we all know and love are speckled around the game, fighting a losing battle to become the audio’s saving grace.
Here’s where the game must shine right? After all, the original Goldeneye practically birthed the idea of all-day multiplayer FPS sessions. Surely Eurocom wouldn’t taint something so memorable by half-assing even the multiplayer; would they? Yup, they did. And not only is it just as dull as the single player, but the obvious rip-off of COD-originated ideas is both sad and shameless.
007 Legends exemplifies what is wrong with the video game industry. This lazy title tries to utilize popular licensing and genre to sell a low-quality product under the guise of the Bond name. FPS fans will be disappointed by this inferior Call of Duty clone while Bond fans will notice that there definitely weren’t any 007 experts being consulted in the studio. These flaws give this game no clear audience and frankly, it doesn’t deserve one.