Review: 007 Legends
007 Legends is a celebration of fifty years of James Bond in film, and focuses on a what-if scenario where current day Bond Daniel Craig is at the forefront of six eras of classic films, namely Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Moonraker, Liscense to Kill and Die Another Day, with Skyfall to be released as downloadable content. Is it worth celebrating, or just another cash-in?
- Worth The Time?Not even if you got it free.
- Things LovedThe option to choose between a classic or modern health system.
- Things HatedThe game is dreadfully boring, the gameplay is like a cheap version of Call of Duty, the melee combat system is one of the worst I've ever seen, the game has as little to do with James Bond as a potato in a suit, the loading times are long, it's repetitive and a chore to get through, the game is entirely disjointed and senseless and is near impossible to follow, the final boss sequences are terrible, the damage system is broken, crap AI.
- RecommendationEven the most die-hard of James Bond fans will be struggling to figure out what exactly this is. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
- Name: 007 Legends
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Online (12 playes), Local Split-Screen (4 players)
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Eurocom
- Publisher: Activision
- Price: R280 (PC), R541 (PS3, 360)
- Reviewed On: PS3
007 Legends is a first person shooter that is meant to be a celebration of fifty years of James Bond in film. The idea of the game is that it focuses on a large what-if scenario, where current day Bond Daniel Crag is thrust into the leading role of six classic films, namely Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, Liscense to Kill and Die Another Day, with the recent Skyfall to be outed as downloadable content in the near future. While that’s perhaps an ambitious path to take for the single player campaign, it’s also a dangerous one because the developers knew they’d be tampering with many classic, famous and iconic films that fans of the character and franchise are quite passionate about. I’ll give it to you straight. I’m not much of a Bond fan. I like it, sure, but if you ask me to list the best movies, I wouldn’t be able to do anything other than weakly mutter “Casino Royale”, because it’s all I remember. But even I, with so little knowledge of Bond, can see that this is game is a tragedy.
The story is quite a weird one. It takes place after the opening, but before the actual events, of Skyfall, where James Bond is shot and left for dead during a botched assignment in Istanbul. As he’s hanging on by a thread, he starts remembering previous adventures, and these serve as flashbacks and the famous films you’ll be playing. Basically, all of the classic Bond adventures are reimagined to have taken place in the six year gap between Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. What this results in is a largely disjointed and senseless game that is almost impossible to follow. Like I said, I’m not well-versed on the original source material, but even I can see how this game misses everything good about them, and is butchering all of it. Seriously, this game has as little to do with James Bond as a potato in a suit. On top of that, the character isn’t even voiced by Daniel Craig himself, and neither does he at all act like him, so the what-if scenario already starts making its journey towards the toilet as you’re left with a title character who is effectively a dull robot. But surely you get those who don’t actually care much for the source material and who don’t know much about it anyway, so does the game cater for them?
Well, let me put it this way. You get mediocre and bad games that still have redeeming qualities. You get mediocre or arguably even bad games that can be worth playing to the end, for whatever reason, or games that get a little better the more you play. Then you get 007 Legends, which is rubbish the moment you insert it into your console and you’ll know barely an hour or two in that it will not get any better, and it’s going to remain unworthy of your time for as long as you’ll tolerate it. I’m deadly serious. I tolerated this game. I didn’t enjoy it, can never bring myself to imagine paying for it, and the only reason I even played it is for the sake of this review. If someone had given it to me for free, and I didn’t have any responsibility to write about it, I wouldn’t have played it longer than five minutes.
Let’s get into the gameplay, so I can start explaining myself. My God, I’ve seen so many reviewers comparing this game to Call of Duty, and saying it’s a cheap rip-off. I dismissed that initially, because I know how quickly gamers and critics in our industry will bash a shooter for either not being like Call of Duty, or being too much like it, and it’s annoying. But damn if this game isn’t afraid to shamelessly present itself as a weak Call of Duty. In light of Black Ops II’s release, I can’t imagine a sane soul wanting this if we factor out the interest in the 007 title. By the third or fourth mission I had already been involved in two flat-out war scenarios where I was locked in an open battlefield gunning down armies of stupid enemies with painfully bland shooting mechanics and a bunch of idiotic squad mates. What on earth does this have to do with James Bond? Or being a secret agent? If someone can enlighten me and point out that the classic Bond films pioneered the modern warfare that we see in all the current generation war shooters, then I’ll eat these words, but even die-hard fans of this franchise will have a pretty hard time figuring what the hell this game is. It’s a glorified shooter-thon, with zero substance.
It’s also dreadfully boring. On top of the gung-ho shooting, you’ve got the obligatory war shooter set pieces in there too, like being in a helicopter, storming a fortress and mowing down armies of enemies with a minigun. Even if we factor out that this has nothing to do with James Bond, it’s still a below average shooter. While I liked the fact that you can choose between a classic health system, that requires you to pick up health packs and armour, and the modern system, which gives you regenerating health, the game is still pretty much a joke. I got so bored sitting in cover that I decided to pull a terminator, and it worked better than my cover tactics. The damage system is seriously broken. You can down some enemies in one or two shots, but they’ll shoot you for years and your screen won’t even fill with red. Yet, if you take a minor fall that a child could make, you immediately go to critical health. The only time I died was when I was simultaneously getting shot by a Space Invaders army of enemies in a large open area which prevented me from healing.
You must be wondering where all the secret agent stuff is, and quite honestly it feels like it was just thrown into this game so it can have an inkling of resemblance to James Bond. But really, a small patch of fading hair on a bald guy doesn’t make him any less bald. You get three gadgets in the game. You get a wrist watch that can detect enemies and fire an electromagnetic laser to disable certain devices, but I barely used it. You get a Smartphone, which is used to solve the obvious puzzles and has picture mode, fingerprint scanning mode and EMF scanning mode. You can also hack with the phone. And then there’s the pen dart, that you unlock later in the game and it offers you tranquilizer darts, shock darts and distraction darts. That last one is pointless, and the first two have the same function except the shock dart alerts enemies, so its purpose is diminished. And when you’ve got a silenced pistol with well over a hundred ammo, and stealth that is barely workable, I question the pen dart’s existence.
Stealth is at its most basic form, with you just sneaking and trying to off a couple of enemies before the alarm is raised, although enemy detection is slow, inconsistent and when you have as patience as thin as I did after playing this game for a few hours, the terminator approach is just more efficient to be honest. You might argue that I’m being contradictory by saying I want more secret agent stuff yet I went all macho man in the few stealth sequences, but really, I can’t make a terrible game good, no matter how I approach it. The stealth sequences mostly seem to rely on luck and bad AI, and once you make a mistake, irrespective of how many enemies you’ve taken down, a full alert goes up and you’re immediately flooded by a small army, so it’s hardly worth the time it takes to go the quiet approach.
If you thought you could at least get a kick out of James Bond’s martial arts, then let me be the bearer of bad news by saying that the melee combat is probably the worst I’ve seen since the horrendous Prison Break: The Conspiracy. Seriously, it’s just a weak quick time event, and you’re forced into it for the confrontations with the final bosses in each chapter and whenever you’re predictably ambushed by a random enemy. Basically, the sum total of it is watch for the on-screen prompt of either the left or right analogue sticks, and then move it in the up or down direction as you’re commanded to. Failing just results in you getting punched. It’s boring, poorly executed and it’s hard to imagine anyone thought it would be fun. And to believe some boss fights have multiple health bars.
Now, I heard that Moonraker, the final level, is actually playable and fun, and a fairly decent part of the game. But, if you have to play through the first four absolutely worthless chapters of the game to get to one that’s fairly decent, then sorry that doesn’t justify a bad game. Aside from the single player campaign, there is a challenge mode available, but with the gameplay as boring and faulty as it is, I can’t fathom why you’d want to go into this. It’s pretty much the exact same reason I refused to extensively play the multiplayer of this game. There’s nothing it could possibly do that would make this worth buying. I checked it out, for sure. You can play offline split-screen with four players, which is pleasing, and you can jump online with up to twelve players. There’s a ranking system, and a Specialization mode that is like Call of Duty’s Prestige system. There are gadgets, such as Fast Switch which reduces the time it takes to swap weapons, and these are basically glorified perks.
The multiplayer functions, there’s a good level of customisation and getting offline split-screen is something I’ll approve of, but to be honest, I felt very uninspired to keep playing it, especially with this game’s bland shooting mechanics and all of its other problems. Even if I went into it, well, let me just say this. A fly on a turd doesn’t make the turd any less despicable. Maybe, if the multiplayer was good this could make an argument for a second hand purchase or rental, but really, when you’ve got Black Ops II and Warfighter just releasing, is there anyone who will want this, since it completely abandons its source material and just tries to be conventional? I can’t think of a reason to recommend it. Also, with the release of Black Ops II, you’re probably going to face a difficult task in finding players.
Graphically, the game is just about adequate. I’m at a loss of what to say because it’s seriously dead average. There’s nothing noteworthy, or faulty. Nothing memorable about the voice acting, or the audio work. Fortunately, the game at least functions in a technical sense, but you don’t get brownie points for making your game playable. The load times deserve a mention, because they’re just long enough to be irritating, and I wouldn’t blame you for rage quitting if you die because of them in addition to the rest of the game’s frustrations. But to say it all, in this department the game is simply passable.
007 Legends is an abomination of a game that has nothing to do with the source material it blatantly insults. Despite everything I’ve said about the game, I can finally say at least one nice thing about it. This game is good for the industry, because it’s a shining example of how not to make a shooter. Don’t buy this game, and don’t play it, because it’s just a horrible waste of time and money. I am neither joking nor exaggerating when I say that this is one of the worst games I’ve played this entire year.