Iconic British spy James Bond needs no introduction. In fact, he is probably the best known spy around the world – a bit of an oxymoron actually, as a spy needs to keep its identity safe at all times. But be that as it may, the quintessential spy’s name will forever be synonymous with the classic stealth and spy genre of films and books.
As with all things with that level of popularity, a number of video games have been released revolving around Bond. Activision’s latest, 007 Legends, aims to do things slightly differently – which is to their own detriment. The game was also released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. No.
Bond first came onto the movie scene in 1962 with the film Dr. No and romanticized the spy genre and ignited the imagination of many film-lovers. For his performance in Dr. No, actor Sean Connery arguably ensured his legacy as the most well-known Bond character ever.
The reason for this trip down memory lane to the first Bond film, is that Legends combines six Bond films into one featured game. The title takes a film from each of the six characters who have played Bond, and crafts a plot line spanning all six.
The films covered (in order) in the game are Goldfinger (Sean Connery), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (George Lazenby), Moonraker (Roger Moore), License to Kill (Timothy Dalton) and Die Another Day (Pierce Brosnan). Daniel Craig’s Skyfall will be released as separate downloadable content after the release of the film worldwide.
While it may sound like a good idea, it is here where the title starts to immediately fall a bit flat. The films selected for the game are not necessarily the best films by those actors, which will raise the eyebrows of some Bond fans.
The format of the game follows the same tired formula as some of the previous Bond games such as GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, where players have to complete a mission by eliminating all the enemies in the area and then solving a number of puzzles in order to progress.
But that is the main problem with Legends – it is not challenging enough, even for a beginner to the shooter genre. The title makes use of a snap-to mechanic for enemies, so it is virtually impossible to miss a shot. All that players have to do is move in and out of aiming, and the game will place an enemy neatly in the crosshairs. It is quite possible to walk into an area and fire rapidly at enemies without ever being injured or having to go into cover.
Another major problem with the title is that most of the films’ plots do not relate to one-another. While it would have been a difficult task to string a small plot together to seamlessly link Dr. No to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, it feels incomplete. Bond will be in a bunker fighting for his life and in the next sequence, he is on the slopes of a snowy mountain chatting up a blonde – and players are given no form of context or how he got there.
Developer Eurocom probably tried their best to make the level transitions as fluid as possible – but it simple does not work.
But it is not all bad news, and even with its flaws, which some gamers might see as deal-breakers, it provides for a welcome distraction after a hard days’ work or on a lazy Sunday afternoon. However, it is by no means a serious title that reflects the power of the entire film franchise.
Some gaming media have described the title as an insult to the Bond franchise, and while it is not that bad, it could have been a lot better – particularly if Eurocom focused more on improving the graphics and changing the game dynamic from a fairly linear shooter to something a bit more complex and through-provoking.
For multiplayer fans, the game features a number of forgettable modes that serve more as filler content on the disc than actually adding real value to the title. It features the usual modes such as Team Death match, death match and a mode where players have to take over and hold a number of nodes.
It has the functionality for players to upgrade through the accumulation of XP, and most of the villains available as playable characters – each with their own special weapons, but it does little to entice players to continue with the modes.
While the game is highly entertaining for a Sunday afternoon, it does become a bit repetitive after a while, especially if the player does not feel challenged.
Our score: 7.0/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor