Giant Bomb Review


Quantum of Solace Review

  • X360

Quantum of Solace is middle-of-the-road entertainment that has just enough mild highs to balance out against its mild lows.

Hey everyone, please stop shooting me while I slowly hit this guy in the face. Cool?
Activision's first James Bond game, Quantum of Solace, is almost as deceptive as the spy who stars in it. While it might be named after the current Bond film, the majority of the game's levels are one big flashback to Casino Royale, the previous one. While the plots of the two films will be connected, this is a bit much, and the structure of the game is pretty ridiculous. Once you get past the misleading name, Quantum of Solace has its moments, but it also has its flaws.

The game opens where the film, Quantum of Solace, opens, essentially picking up right where Casino Royale left off. After a few chapters devoted to that, you run into a character who asks why you're after the same bad guy she is. You tell her in the form of the rest of the game--a Cliff Notes version of Casino Royale's plot that skips all the card-playing and sticks to the action sequences. Once that's done, you play through one of the action sequences from the upcoming film and call it a night.

The game is a first-person shooter with a cover system. When you take cover, the game pulls out to third-person shot, which simultaneously gives you a bit more awareness of what's going on around you and lets you look at the game's Daniel Craig player model. It's a pretty good model. The game looks and feels like a stripped-down Call of Duty game, enhanced in some spots and reduced in others. On one hand, the cover system is very handy and changes the pacing quite a bit. On the other, Bond is almost too accurate with his weapons. Blindfiring head shots is most certainly possible at ranges that, well, only an international superspy or carnival trick-shot artist would be able to pull off. Takedowns are another moment where you'll see James Bond on-screen. They're also another "like Call of Duty 4, but..." moment. You initiate a takedown by clicking in the right stick when you're up close, like you were trying to stab someone in COD4. But instead of an instant jackmove, this initiates a one-button quick time event that results in a slow-motion animation of you knocking out your foe. It takes too long and the animations get old fast.

The game occasionally breaks out of its shooter trappings into sequences where you'll have to shimmy along the outsides of buildings, or keep your balance as you run along a narrow beam. You'll also find a few spots where you can optionally play for stealth and avoid detection by shooting out or dodging security cameras. But for the most part, this game is all about lining up headshots while behind cover and taking them. As long as you're patient about sticking behind cover, you'll be fine. Even though the game is better about breaking you out of the shooting than some of the previous Bond games have been, overall, the single-player portion of Quantum of Solace is just kind of boring. Nothing terribly wrong with it, but you've probably played plenty of more entertaining shooters over the years.

The multiplayer portion of Quantum of Solace feels superfluous and unnecessary for the same reason. There are plenty of better shooters out there. The guns don't feel impactful, the characters move around in a very skittish way, and every player model seems to just shout "I'm empty" again and again and again. "Empty" sums up the multiplayer pretty well. You'll find a smattering of standard modes, as well as a few Bond-specific styles like Golden Gun, where players struggle to control a golden pistol that fires explosive rounds. As you play, you'll earn credits that can be used to purchase weapons and upgrades that you can use in future multiplayer matches. That's probably the neatest idea in the entire game, even if it's mostly a retooled take on the COD4 weapons and perks customization systems.

Shooting explosive things is handy, but headshots are just about as fast.
The graphics are where Quantum of Solace gets a bit dicey. The game's lighting is pretty bad, with most things having a sort of full-bright look to them that makes the environments look garish and, at times, washed-out. The animation for moving enemies is stiff, and things like explosions and other effects don't really stand out. The music is, as you'd expect, full of songs that occasionally recall the famous James Bond theme. Most of the relevant actors and actresses from the films show up to put on a performance here, and they do a fine, if unremarkable job.

Even when you factor in the way Daniel Craig's James Bond has been a rougher, more action-oriented take on the character, Bond is a spy. He should be out doing ill, spy-related acts of espionage as he spies it up with other spies. Instead, he's cast as an almost-faceless gunman yet again. If you were hoping that Activision's take on the license would be any more faithful than most of the games that EA put out while it held the license, you'll probably be disappointed. But on its own, Quantum of Solace is a passable shooter in a world that's filled with much, much better ones.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
40 Comments Refresh
Posted by Lockeyness

It seemed as if it had potential... when will we see a good Bond game again?

Posted by FallopianTube

kinda disapionting i wanted this to really stand out but hey, with more movies comes more games

Posted by MasterSplinter

It sounds kinda disappointing, but I guess I'll see for myself when it arrives tomorrow or Monday. Good review though.

Posted by Aaron_G

Looks like a rent. 

Posted by mellenman

when's COD WAW review come out?

Edited by Psynapse

This or Gears 2... I know what i'll choose!

Posted by DazzHardy

I quite liked Quantum, but I found the single player kinda short, and it seemed to be setting up another level only for the end credits to roll.

Everything or Nothing still stands as my favourite Bond game.

Posted by Phished0ne

good review jeff, i pretty much agree, 3 stars, pretty meh, i like it but i really love anything bond related..

Posted by whackmypinata

Good review, the picture really sums it up also.

Posted by Scooper

What happend to the explosive gum.

Posted by Ravenlock

What's with the DS screenshots at the top of the review? Same thing happened with Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Is there an in-joke I'm missing? Or did you guys just run a couple of bad Google Image searches? :-p

Posted by MetalGearSunny

This game looks good...may rent it. Nice review!

Posted by Absurd

:P I called the 3/5

Posted by zoozilla

No One Lives Forever defecates all over this.

Posted by jakob187

= (

Posted by RHCPfan24

Cool review.

Posted by Destroyeron

I expected more from Activision.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Well, It seems that you can't top Goldeneye. Ever. That game's reputation is so epic its disgusting. This game seems to be some sort of COD 4 lite that falls flat on its face when it tries to distinguish itself.

Posted by BoG

I still think I want to try this, at least a rental. I'd love it if they started making original Bond titles like EoN and Sean Connery games again. I'd be giddy like a school girl.

Posted by Blinck

just saw the movie yesterday, awesome movie, my favorite 007 for sure.

Posted by Kohe321

I want to try this, loved the movie.

Posted by Tortoise

I have come to hate all things James Bond, with its ludicrous hype, blatent marketing tie-ins and recent insulting claims towards realism (who are they kidding?).
That this is apparantly another mediocre cash-in does nothing but add to that feeling.

Posted by giyanks22

I knew this wouldn't be that good, but great review Jeff

Posted by Stealthoneill

Problem is since Goldeneye was so successful developers have stuck with the idea that a Bond game should be a shooter. As you said Jeff, he is a spy. Why cant developers make a game that delves in to the pieces of a film that the creators leave out, giving the whole storyt a bit of depth. Add in some Jason Bourne/Splinter Cell sneak around and hand to hand combat scenes and these games would be much better. Ultimately the game tries to be something its not and fails on the most part. Ill wait for CoD 5 for my next shooter, Great review Jeff!

And the movie was pretty damn sweet. Shame about the game yet again. Although it was a good duess that this was going to suck, very few movie tie in games actually make the grade.
Posted by Captain_Fookup

This game is a rental... if you buy it look forward to feeling ripped off.

Posted by grainger

i love the game for the simple fact it handles a lot like cod and was quick to get into, the controls have pretty much maped over, good review though and i probably wouldnt give it anymore than a 3 personally for the total un-originality with it.

Posted by swampwalk

Can we please get Goldeneye on Xbox live arcarde?

I'd gladly pay $15 for this game if it had online play.  I know that thousands of others would do the same.

Posted by GalvanizedNails

maybe a decent rental, but with all the other good stuff out right now, i dont think anyone is really going to be looking for a decent rental. High hopes for the movie still though :)

Posted by L

Another rent...

Edited by pause422

No, you can't get Goldeneye on XBL. The license is between microsoft now(since they own Rare) and nintendo since it came out on their system, so it will most likely never happen, since Nintendo won't let it.

Posted by Napalm

Oh wow. A Bond-licensed game is kind of terrible. What else is new?

Posted by Gelatinousgelboy

Honestly, I'd like to see a Bond game that isn't focused on shooting (obviously the most recent movies are more action-y), but more on Bond's traditional ability set: stealth, diplomacy, sex, gadgets, and pure awesome.

Posted by Old_Snake864

nice review i have the pc version is really good but the levels are farily linear and the graphics aren't by todays standards but hey im a bond fan!

Posted by Media_Master

Sounds like a C game

Posted by oobs

must have put all their efforts into world at war...

Posted by killdave

POOR BELGIUM ... They can NOT rent this game :D

Posted by fbasque78

I'm gonna see the movie first and then play this game.

Posted by JakJ

I love it. Treyarch is given one of the best engines in the industry and they STILL can't make a good game. I'm sure W@W will get the exact same reception.

Posted by aurahack

That first screenshot is so disturbing. It looks like James Bond is going to visciously knock on someone's door and the baddie is ... I don't even know.

Posted by MB

"Instant Jackmove" I sense a new concept forthcoming?  Brilliant.