007 Legends is a strange title. It has a nice premise and right now is a great time for it to be released with Bond’s 50th anniversary this year as well as the latest Bond film, Skyfall, hitting theaters in a few weeks. The problem is that while the premise is sound everything else seems to have gone downhill. For those who are unaware, the premise is that they show a segment from Skyfall that we have all seen from the trailer where Bond gets shot and falls off a train. As Bond falls into a river and starts to sink to the bottom he starts having flashbacks about some of the adventures he had during his lifetime. These flashbacks are from some of the different Bond movies released over the years such as Moonraker, Die Another Day, Goldfinger and more. There are five movies represented in the game (six if you count Skyfall that will be released in late November as free DLC).
Each of these movies comprises two to three different missions for you to go through and you will re-visit some of the more iconic moments from the selected films. In Goldfinger there is the famous laser scene where Bond is captured and helpless on a table as a laser slowly inches toward his lower region. This is when you hear the famous exchange, “Do you expect me to talk? No Mr. Bond I expect you to die.” While this part is certainly accurate to the film there are other parts that will drive Bond fans crazy. For example, Daniel Craig is the guy we see in all of the movies in the game. Now I personally think Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever, however, it is slightly weird to see his likeness in movies such as Goldfinger and Moonraker. In Die Another Day you have the Jinx character, however, you simply have a generic character model instead of Halle Berry. I’m aware of the limitations the studio might have had at getting some (if not all) of these talents for the game but perhaps that should have been realized during the conceptual stage of production. There are some other woefully inaccurate items that Bond fans will surely pick out as they go through these movies as well. Don’t get me wrong…there were definitely some cool “Bond” moments. It’s just the overarching story itself was confusing and wasn’t tied together at all almost seeming like we played five smaller stories instead of a cohesive campaign. The ending of the game is really abrupt as well and you are left wondering what happened. Perhaps everything will be finished up once the Skyfall content is released but the final product released onto store shelves feels unfinished.
As far as the actual gameplay is concerned things don’t get much better. The AI is inconsistent and there are some stealth portions of the game that can get incredibly frustrating. 007 Legends is very much a Call of Duty clone which is made abundantly clear as you begin the game. Generally speaking I don’t have a problem with that as I am a huge fan of the Call of Duty franchise, however, this game doesn’t run nearly as well. The gunplay seems to be off and the targeting system doesn’t always work. I would try to “snap to” an enemy to lock on to them and would get mixed results. There were times where it locked on to the enemy perfectly and I could eliminate them quickly. There were other times where it would miss entirely and I would be left vulnerable for a few seconds while I compensated for the game’s mistake. The melee system is also pretty bad. There are times when you can run up to an enemy and melee them like in any other shooter, however, there are other times where you have to go through a whole sequence of button presses just to knock a guy out. This is how a lot of the “boss fights” are handled as well and was a bit disheartening and tedious. The checkpoint system was pretty horrid at times and it seemed like there were some instances where it made you needlessly replay a section that you have already cleared. Monster closets are in full effect here meaning that you have to continually push the pace and move forward if you want eliminate the enemy. You can’t simply pick a spot and stay there until you eliminate everyone because they will just keep coming until you pass an artificial checkpoint.
There were also some instances that didn’t seem to be very well thought out. There is one mission where you are racing down a mountain on skis and you need to dodge trees, protect the person you are with by shooting at enemies on the mountain (which the poor aiming mechanic doesn’t help with) and stay close enough to the person so you don’t “lose” them. This essentially means that you need to make sure that you are going down the mountain at top speed while avoiding the aforementioned trees and trying to take out enemies that are trying to shoot both you and the person you are trying to protect. It seems like a bit much, especially when the gameplay mechanics aren’t up to par. Another instance was floating in zero G and having to try and quickly eliminate enemies even though there really wasn’t a way to quickly move around due to floating through that part thanks to the lack of gravity. There were times as well when you needed to use a smartphone to scan the environment and the hacking mini-game in particular was a bit wonky. It could be a bit hard to control and if you needed to do something quickly then it becomes a real issue when you have enemies shooting at you.
Graphically speaking there were some instances in this game where I thought things looked pretty amazing but at the same time there were also locations that looked pretty abysmal. The framerate is also all over the place and there was one instance where the game slowed down so much that I can’t even say it was a slide show. Fortunately my system didn’t lock up but it looked like I somehow broke the game for a few moments. I was near a checkpoint which was good as I didn’t want to have to replay that scene. Once I get through the checkpoint everything returned to normal but it was a jarring experience.
In addition to the single player campaign there are also challenge missions. These are missions where you have a challenge to complete such as escaping an area crawling with enemies. There are different types of challenges such as “Escape,” “Defense,” “Assault” and “Infiltration”. If you played GoldenEye 007 Reloaded last year than you kind of know what to expect here. You will gain stars by completing these challenges and the more stars you get the more missions will unlock for you to play. There is also your standard multiplayer suite. You have the standard deathmatch modes, bomb defuse where you have to destroy the other team’s base, Black Box where you have to locate and destroy a black box (if you are MI6) or retrieve it and protect the box long enough to download the data within and things of that nature. There are eight maps to choose from and a bunch of different game modifiers that you can use such as score limit, sprint duration, explosive damage and much more. There is even a “00 Specialization Mode” for those who reach level 50 with their multiplayer character.
Right now you are probably thinking that 007 Legends is a terrible game. I don’t know if I would go that far but it is certainly mediocre. With that said though I have played far worse titles and this game does run decently most of the time. The game isn’t broken or anything, the execution just isn’t there to make it anything special. I have been a fan of Eurocom and the last few Bond titles but this is a step in the wrong direction. It feels like this game was rushed out the door so that it could be tied in with Bond’s 50th anniversary and the upcoming movie. Sadly, because of that, I think your money would be better spent on the amazing Bond 50th anniversary blu ray set that was just released instead of 007 Legends.
- Multiplayer is still a lot of fun.
- The story is a mess. Feels like five small stories instead of one cohesive campaign.
- Some of the basic game mechanics don't work as they should.
Summary: 007 Legends has a great premise with flawed execution. Only the biggest Bond fans should apply here but due to some of the inaccuracies they might not even want to.
- Format: Xbox 360
- Developer: Eurocom
- Publisher: Activision
- Release Date: 10/16/2012