Last year, Eurocom’s Goldeneye: Reloaded was a successful HD update of the beloved and arguably best 007 title Goldeneye 64. With the latest Bond movie on the horizon and this year marking the 50th anniversary of Bond’s big screen adventures, 007 Legends had a bounty of source material to turn it into a fitting “best of” collection. Instead it ends up being a missed opportunity.
Opening with a scene prior to the upcoming Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s 007 is accidentally shot by a female agent while parrying an enemy on top of a moving train. Plummeting into a river below, Bond’s life begins to flash before his eyes as he recalls a series of his classic adventures, each of which serve as the five different missions within game. Players will participate in memorable moments from Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day and Moonraker, with a free downloadable sixth mission based on Skyfall to be released soon.
All of the films are placed into modern-day settings, with Daniel Craig’s Bond replacing the likes of Connery and Brosnan. It’s obviously a little unusual seeing Craig play all those Bond roles but it would’ve worked better had the chosen film sections been more gripping. The real issue is that the adaptation of these past missions interweave into an bewildering plot that abruptly ends after the completion of Moonraker. Since these missions are spread out across 007’s career, only fans will truly understand the backstory for each mission and character. While at the same time, Bond followers might be outright disappointed at how the legendary agent is depicted as a gun crazed madman.
Visually 007 Legends only looks slightly better than Goldeneye: Reloaded. Some environments seemed to get extra attention in the areas of lighting and detail, while others appear bland and less impressive Character models of the classic Bond cast accurately portray the actors they are based on and are voiced by some of the original actors. Unfortunately, Daniel Craig did not provide his voice and instead we are subjected to a dull performance by Timothy Watson. On the audio side, players get to enjoy some of the classic music that is associated with the Bond universe. The soundtrack does its part to set the mood and cleverly intensifies during some key moments.
Beyond its drab appearance, 007 Legends just doesn’t emit that James Bond vibe as it closely mimics scenarios that have become way too familiar with the first person shooter genre – namely Call of Duty. Respawning enemies until you reach a checkpoint? Check. Stationary mini-gun helicopter sections? Check. Poorly controlled vehicle segments? Check. Besides some cool moments like fighting in zero gravity, the missions follow the same formula with Bond shooting his way through waves of enemies, using his smartphone to investigate, and then ending with a painfully slow QTE boxing match against a signature Bond villian. Besides his smartphone, Bond also has access to a wristwatch that can track enemy placement as well as a pen that is capable of shooting three types of dart. They each serve a purpose to his missions but the constant mini-games that are tied to each (except the darts) get old quickly.
Gunplay is competent with some exciting gunfights but the enemies you come across are poorly animated bullet sponges with zero intelligence. Bond is able to carry up to three weapons and upgrade them with the new XP progression system. There’s a great selection of weapons and attachments to upgrade your artillery, and it can be fun to add different scopes and other upgrades to your favorite weapons. Not all scenarios will allow Bond to go in guns blazing, instead players will be forced to sneak around a level using an outdated stealth mechanic. Even with the help of his motion tracker, attempting to figure out where a guard is located is difficult especially when you don’t have the option to peek around a corner. To add insult to injury, Bond can’t move and hide the bodies of incapacitated guards. The frustrations with the stealth mechanic are further exacerbated by sections in which it’s required to get through unnoticed, leading to an instant ‘mission fail’ if you’re spotted.
The campaign can easily be completed in 4-5 hours, although attempting harder difficulties does offer further additional objectives in each mission. Thankfully the 12 multiplayer components are functional with the inclusion of modes like Team Deathmatch, License to Kill, and Legends mode which allows players to fight as iconic Bond villains with unique special abilities and attributes. While the amount of online players has been cut down to 12 from the 16 supported in GoldenEye: Reloaded, it’s the four-player split-screen mode that is still the most fun to play. Players also have access to MI6 Ops Missions, which basically amounts to a series of campaign portions that you can play through for a star rated score.
In the end, the “flashback” premise behind 007 Legends is intriguing, but it is poorly executed and fairly problematic. Though there are some interesting ideas scattered throughout, the overall game doesn’t live up to the world that was created by Ian Fleming.
Editor’s Note: 007 Legends was reviewed using a PlayStation 3 copy of the game. If further investigation reveals any substantial differences between the 360 edition and the PS3 edition of the game, this review will be updated to reflect those differences.
Release Date: October 16, 2012 • Publisher: Activison • Developer: Eurocom • Genre: Action • Multiplayer: 2-12 players • Achievements: Moderate • Cost: $59.99 • Replay Value: Low