Giant Bomb Review

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007 Legends Review

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  • X360

Bland. Very bland.

What a waste 007 Legends is. Seemingly timed for release just ahead of the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, 007 Legends is a video game tribute to all things Bond that ends up as more of an insult. Eurocom, the developers of the surprisingly likable GoldenEye remake, handle the development duties here as well, but the gulf between the two games could scarcely be more vast. Where GoldenEye updated old ideas for the modern era, 007 Legends takes current ideas and ages them to the point of rotting.

Fight against such thrilling villains as the Korean guy with the messed up face! You remember him, right? Hello...?

The missteps are readily apparent even if you're just scanning the back of the box. Right up front, Activision and Eurocom kneecapped this thing by offering up one of the stranger selections of old school Bond missions you could possibly come up with. The idea here is to cover all of the Bonds that have lived over the years. So there's a Connery, a Moore, a Brosnan, a Dalton, and yes, even the one, singular Lazenby. With this structure in mind, yes, On Her Majesty's Secret Service had to be in there by default, but the remaining choices are nonetheless strange. Goldfinger is an iconic enough Connery, but Die Another Day as your Brosnan movie? And Moonraker of all goddamn things as your Roger Moore? And was anyone really chomping at the bit to experience the myriad thrills of License to Kill?

What's worse, the structure of the game itself essentially robs any of these source materials of whatever thrill there may have been. The game opens with Daniel Craig Bond fighting on the roof of a train with some bad guy, while a female sniper is egged on over the radio by M to "take the shot!" She does, and accidentally hits Bond, who falls far into a nearby river. While floating around aimlessly, Bond apparently starts having flashbacks to those earlier missions. Though of course now, Craig's face and demeanor has been superimposed over his predecessors.

You traipse through these newly Craig-washed Bond stories for a couple of missions at a time, usually infiltrating one villain or another's evil lair, shooting a bunch of guys, then exiting said lair. On its own, that isn't necessarily the worst progression a game can have, but the fact that the aforementioned shooting of guys is so crucially dull pretty much sinks it. Every mission feels more chore-like than exciting. Enemies just kind of wander around the environment until an alarm is set off, in which case they run at you guns blazing. Those are really the only two settings they have, and once they do go after you, they have an uncanny habit of walking into pieces of the level geometry or getting stuck next to a wall. Once you've picked off a few of them from afar, it's actually pretty easy to just run up and melee attack them, which kills them in one hit. Repeat this process across five different mission blocks, and that's the game, more or less.

These Quick Timey fist fights are just about the worst.

While picking off hapless bad guys is mostly just boring, other areas of the game are more aggressively unlikable. For instance, there are a few different sequences where you'll find yourself in a "crucial stealth area." This means that you have no choice but to sneak your way through a level section without being seen. While Bond's gadgetry is effective enough about taking out cameras and other automated detection devices, he's afforded no reasonable abilities with which to handle living guards. You can kill them with silenced weapons, or just distract them or knock them out with a dart gun, but you have no ability to move bodies out of sight. You can't even peek around corners, for Christ's sake.

There are times in the non-stealth game where going stealthy might benefit you, such as when you're tasked with sneaking around offices, collecting pieces of intel, or using your smart phone to take pictures and engage some middling hacking minigames. But the mechanics you're handed just aren't useful enough to actually make that a worthwhile option. Most times, it's just easier to start picking guys off from afar, and then blitzkrieg them until there's no one left.

And then there are the fist fights. Oh god, the fist fights. Basically, every level section ends with a boss fight of some kind against a bad guy like Oddjob, Goldfinger, the guy Robert Davi played in License to Kill, and whoever else. These are miserable. If an enemy has a weapon, you have to just dodge and weave until eventually knocking it out of their hand. Then you proceed to press the left and right sticks up or down, depending on what spot the guy is leaving unguarded. That's it. If you have anything that resembles motor skills, you will kill these guys in about 15 seconds. Every time.

All these gameplay issues would be a bit less egregious if the missions you were presented with were, well, better presented. Daniel Craig isn't around, so you've got a goofy soundalike mumbling his way through conversations with other poorly voiced characters. The actual context for each story is all but lost in translation, as well. You're just dropped into the mission, given a quick briefing, and off you go. Over the course of each mission, how much of the actual plot you'll get varies wildly. Goldfinger, for instance, does an okay job of setting up the titular villain's plan, but On Her Majesty's Secret Service does a terrible job of explaining why you're there, who this woman you're rescuing is, or why you should care about any of it. It's perhaps expected that people just know this stuff, but considering most of these movies are at least 25 years old, that's a weird expectation.

If a game can't even make the act of shooting bad guys fun, why even bother?

Worse still, the game has no ending. Not yet, anyway. The Skyfall portion of the game isn't on the disc, which means that when you complete the last mission, the credits just roll. Yes, you will get the Skyfall mission as DLC in a few weeks, and for free. Still, considering how abrupt the game's current ending is, one gets the impression this was a last minute concession made to please MGM, and not by original design.

The one, solitary nice thing I can say about 007 Legends is that its multiplayer is solid. Not great, or even particularly good, but functional. Up to 12 players can play online, and the game does at least include the split-screen four-player multiplayer mode GoldenEye fans were so very fond of. If the guns and maps were more interesting, then it might actually be a reason to potentially pick this game up on the cheap later on. But they aren't, and thus it is not.

The idea of an anthology-like tribute to Bond films of the past isn't a bad one, but 007 Legends wastes whatever potential for fun there might have been. Instead, all Bond fans are left with is a heavily rewritten, Cliff's Notes version of some great (and not-so-great) films with a bunch of forgettable shooting and stealth sequences shoved into the mix. Ultimately, nothing 007 Legends offers is worth the effort of trudging through it.

94 Comments
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Posted by EdgarAllanPwn

:(

Posted by HungryMatango

Disappointing, but not surprising.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Nicer than I thought you were gonna be after you posted this tweet:

Alex Navarro alex_navarro
Just screamed a hearty "GO FUCK YOURSELF" at 007 Legends. Think I'm gonna write that review now.
Posted by MonkeyKing1969

Why does Alex's avatar smile at a 2-Star review? Shouldn't that be a frown...

Posted by Morningstar

At least we got a hilarious quick look.

Posted by WickedFather

Bombed. Game bombed.

Posted by morningthief

quite possibly the best opening line in a review in recent memory.

Posted by nickux

the tagline on this review made me laugh out loud. Well done, Alex.

The Bond license has potential but it's a shame Activision keeps churning out crap like this.

Edited by Phished0ne

Bland, James Bland. Too on the nose?

Posted by Deathpooky

This seemed like such a great idea. A smattering of Bond highlights? Sounds great.

A shame they screwed it up and (likely) rushed it out to fit the Skyfall release.

Online
Posted by j3ffro919

It was highly unlikely I was ever going to play this, but this review singlehandedly ensured that it will never happen.

I did laugh a few times while reading, so at least this game gave me something. Thanks Alex!

Posted by MrMiyagi

I remember Zao! ...Unfortunately.

Man, Pierce Brosnan sucks.

Posted by Treythalomew

Still blows my mind that they have problems making a good bond game. They keep chasing that Goldeneye FPS love but third person just makes so much more sense for Bond. Everything or Nothing already showed how good a third person Bond game can be.

Posted by BLipp18

@MonkeyKing1969: I dont think he has multiple images for different score levels. I think only the original crew (Jeff, Ryan, Brad and Vinny (i think)) have the different happiness levels in their images

Posted by JoeyRavn

dat tagline!

Posted by Phoenix87

Too generous of a score.

Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish

I remember the Korean guy with the fucked face. I remember. 

Posted by Delta_Ass

Ugh, the North Korean white guy. So, so awful.

Posted by Veektarius

@BLipp18 said:

@MonkeyKing1969: I dont think he has multiple images for different score levels. I think only the original crew (Jeff, Ryan, Brad and Vinny (i think)) have the different happiness levels in their images

I heard they were talking about phasing all those out, though I can't say I'm in favor.

Posted by Abelle

I've been hopeful for a fun Bond game since Goldeneye, I even kind of enjoyed the Quantum of Solace game. Sad face. Maybe next time.

Posted by RollingZeppelin

From the quicklook this game just looked like they reskinned COD:MW. Lazy work Activision, I wouldn't expect anything more.

Posted by Levio

I do remember "the Korean guy with the messed up face!" He was a villain from Die Another Day, and his face is like that because a briefcase full of diamonds exploded near him.

Not that it matters in the slightest.

Posted by Stormdragonblue

Sounds like watching an even not so great Bond film is more amusing and at least a decent good time then this. It really is just sad if you considering the legacy and cultural impact James Bond has had. He is a SPY. Make a SPY game. Not bland FPS. sigh...

Posted by zombie2011

@Levio said:

I do remember "the Korean guy with the messed up face!" He was a villain from Die Another Day, and his face is like that because a briefcase full of diamonds exploded near him.

Not that it matters in the slightest.

He was also the bad guy in The Fast and The Furious.

Posted by whatisdelicious

@Levio said:

I do remember "the Korean guy with the messed up face!" He was a villain from Die Another Day, and his face is like that because a briefcase full of diamonds exploded near him.

Not that it matters in the slightest.

I remember liking the design of that a lot, even if the movie itself was pretty shit. Also the guy who played the main bad guy has an awesome smile: evil and charismatic (but like... too charismatic) at the same time.

But I really wish they'd stop chasing Goldeneye 007 for N64 for Bond games. I get it. People loved that game. I did too. But that's not what a modern Bond game should be anymore. It should be more like Everything or Nothing for PS2. Third-person, crazy action, and honestly, more like a cross between Sam Fisher and Nathan Drake. Bond is all about doing crazy shit like jumping out of planes with no parachute or off of a cliff with a motorcycle to catch an unmanned plane before it crashes, not about shooting a bunch of dudes like a soldier.

Posted by zombie2011

@Abelle said:

I've been hopeful for a fun Bond game since Goldeneye, I even kind of enjoyed the Quantum of Solace game. Sad face. Maybe next time.

Everything or Nothing!!

Its amazing, its captures everything thats great about Bond movies and even though it's only a game it's better than most of other Bond movies Brosnan was in.

Posted by whatisdelicious

@zombie2011 said:

@Levio said:

I do remember "the Korean guy with the messed up face!" He was a villain from Die Another Day, and his face is like that because a briefcase full of diamonds exploded near him.

Not that it matters in the slightest.

He was also the bad guy in The Fast and The Furious.

Wow, I never noticed that. I knew he looked familiar. The diamonds and the baldness threw me off. Good call.

Posted by Error52

I heard of this and I thought "Oh, another crappy licensed game" but later I thought "Y'know, a lot of James Bond games are actually really good..."

Such a shame.

Posted by Abelle

@zombie2011: ooh, thanks! I'll have to keep an eye out for that one.

Posted by OneManX

The bit about the ending... just seems shitty.

Also, I'm shocked they haven't just ripped of Splinter Cell, since that is pretty pretty James Bond (at least the Daniel Craig more action version) instead of ripping off COD

Posted by fox01313

Good review & makes me want to go watch some of the earlier Connery & the one Lazenby (which I still one of the top 3 in the Bond franchise of films). Thought that in the quick look of just mindlessly going through enemies to only get stuck in what felt like a decade long fistfight with some elevator guard meant that there'd be more of that in this game. Between all this & the Skyfall being DLC now pressured to get out the door when the film is out just makes this an insult not just to fans of the Bond films but just people who want a good & entertaining game.

Posted by Draxyle

There's something almost disturbing about how they just throw the CoD engine on all their licensed products and just make you slaughter people en masse; context and sense be damned. There are many other ways to design a videogame out there.

Someone really needs to get the license away from Activision.

Posted by djames216

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

Why does Alex's avatar smile at a 2-Star review? Shouldn't that be a frown...

His avatar is not different for each star rating. It's the exact same one regardless of what rating he gives it. I think it's the avatar that used to appear on screened.com and they just imported it over to here.

Posted by JakePike218

Jeffs impression of Daniel Craig meeleeing is uncanny.

Posted by TheSouthernDandy

Die Another Day? Really? I watched that recently for the first time and it is SO BAD.

Posted by PoisonousParrot

I haven't played a decent Bond game since Nightfire, and that was mainly due to the multiplayer aspects. Still no match for Goldeneye though.

Posted by ZombiePie

Worse still, the game has no ending. Not yet, anyway. The Skyfall portion of the game isn't on the disc, which means that when you complete the last mission, the credits just roll, without even a "See the thrilling conclusion in Skyfall! Coming as DLC this November!" message to explain what's happening.

Oh man, seriously? That's like the worst thing ever. I get that they don't want to spoil the movie which is why some studios use to have some ridiculous NDAs for their video game adaptations (i.e. Lucas Film), but not including the proper ending to the game on disc seems...wrong.

Moderator
Posted by ComixZone

an Activision published license tie-in...er, cash-in is complete rubbish? Who'da thunk.

Posted by leejunfan83

Damn son

Posted by RedHatDrew

Shortest Alex sub-title ever!

Posted by RobertOrri

@zombie2011 said:

@Abelle said:

I've been hopeful for a fun Bond game since Goldeneye, I even kind of enjoyed the Quantum of Solace game. Sad face. Maybe next time.

Everything or Nothing!!

Its amazing, its captures everything thats great about Bond movies and even though it's only a game it's better than most of other Bond movies Brosnan was in.

Yeah, that was a genuinely good game, and an excellent example of what is possible to do with the James Bond license. Sadly, Activision isn't willing to take any chances at all.

I'm unable to fully wrap my brain around the central idea of this whole game. How is the "New" Bond able to have flashbacks to "Classic" Bond adventures? They don't take place in the same universe. Even if this is a spin-off, it is a mighty silly one.

Posted by mrcraggle

Eurocom are such an odd studio. They mostly deal in licensed games and ports but to completely different degrees of polish and they've been making Bond games now for a number of years starting way back 1991 with James Bond Jr. They also made The World Is Not Enough for the N64 which I thought was a pretty decent game considering how poor the movie was but it did fair off worse as it was released in the same year as Perfect Dark. I haven't played a Bond game since then but people seemed to have liked the last couple but just from watching the QL, this has Activisions hands all over it as they just want every game under them to be CoD.

Posted by Kraznor

Just want to state this, Licence to Kill is easily one of the best, most daring James Bond films so its inclusion need not be balked at. It did the whole dark vengeful thing 17 years before Casino Royale did and Dalton, despite having only two films, is one of the few to actually get the character right. That said, doubt the game is any good, just took exception to that catty comment.

Posted by SpudBug

it shouldn't be so hard to make a good bond game..

Although I think Goldeneye was pretty good on wii, and I liked Blood Stone and Quantum of Solace. This one actually seems to be more of a lacking/slacking effort than most lately in this franchise.

Edited by EvanFavreau

I'm a huge Bond fan, and I don't understand the tepid respect of that Goldeneye remake. I thought it was super boring, and in retelling a good Bond story it stripped away anything recognizable besides some names. At least this game has some recognizable Bond elements/symbols (though yes, the movie selection is puzzling at best). I've also only just begun playing, but this game adds some much needed tweaks that Goldeneye was really missing. (You can jump, guns don't sound like toys, having enemies bleed at least signals when you're actually hitting someone.) And the new upgrade system is a welcome addition that may make the otherwise boring gunplay a touch more interesting.

But in the end, like others have said, why do they still try to make Bond games be action-packed first-person shooters? It just doesn't work. If anyone cared (and they prob don't) they'd try something different. (007 Racing 2??)

Posted by radioactivez0r

Are you sure it's a Craig impersonator? I mean the opening credits have his name right in them.

Posted by HadesTimes

The Quick Look certainly didn't make it look this bad. I guess it gets worse? Yuck...

Posted by Microshock

@JakePike218 said:

Jeffs impression of Daniel Craig meeleeing is uncanny.

Do you mind telling me where in the Quick Look he does it? I don't want to go through the whole thing. Thanks!

Posted by ThePickle

@Veektarius said:

@BLipp18 said:

@MonkeyKing1969: I dont think he has multiple images for different score levels. I think only the original crew (Jeff, Ryan, Brad and Vinny (i think)) have the different happiness levels in their images

I heard they were talking about phasing all those out, though I can't say I'm in favor.

They are, I believe in the new site. I don't like it either. Seems that Jeff is the only one with an issue with it.

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