007 Legends

GoldenEye 64 was my absolute favorite game when I was teenager. Last year, we were delivered GolderEye: Reloaded which, in my humble opinion, was a great reboot of the franchise as it was the best James Bond games since the original GoldenEye. And then this year, we get this… well I am not quite sure where I land on calling this an actual game.

First off, the idea of the game is spot on. Poor execution is what’s to blame for this catastrophe. Here’s the low-down on the single player mode. We start in a scene from the upcoming Skyfall. Daniel Craig’s version of 007 is mistakenly shot by a sniper as he is in combat with an enemy on the roof the moving train. Bond then falls into a river below them, and he has the all too common “life flashing before your eyes” event. He flashes back into 5 of his previous assignments, each of which serve as the five different missions in the game.

The assignments are taken from Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day and Moonraker. There will be a sixth mission based on Skyfall that is set to be released as free DLC (presumably after the film’s release). Now this idea in and of itself is great, even if the campaigns are portrayed out of chronological order. However, each mission, instead of being in its time period, is set in modern day since it is Daniel Craig’s Bond replacing the great Connery and others. But even with that being the case, it still feels odd watching Goldfinger’s henchmen fly out of the ejector seat in a modern Aston Martin.
The whole game just feels out of sorts. While there some experiences in the game that feel faithful to the original, such as the infamous scene from Goldfinger where Bond has a laser working its way towards his private pouch of gold, for the gist of it 007 Legends is hardly a true Bond experience, and is not what I thought would serve as a great homage to the series’ proud heritage. Honestly, this really shouts more Call of Duty than Bond, as there are so many concepts and mechanisms that are taken directly from Activision’s other series.

It unfortunately doesn’t even do a mediocre job of copying from the Call of Duty series. The game is boring. There is nothing memorable about the surroundings and backdrops and all of the missions are essentially the same. There’s no variety that brings it to life, and as I said before, it doesn’t feel like a true Bond experience in the same manner that GoldenEye did.

They’ve also added stealth to the game, which is its biggest failure by far. As with any other game, you can move silently while crouched down and take your enemies down. But that’s where the ease of this feature ends. Here’s how my first experience with stealth went. “Look, I just killed this dude, now it’s time to move his body out from the open so it cannot be discovered. Wait… where’s my ‘pick up body’ choice?” That’s right folks, it’s not there. Oh ho ho, and if you get caught… good luck surviving the rush of every enemy in the area and the firefight that brings on. This wouldn’t be too bad if you had a choice between stealth or “guns-a-blazing”, but you don’t. There are mandatory stealth sections in the game. And in these areas, it’s instant mission failure if you are spotted.
Let’s not forget the over complicated upgrade system, which I still haven’t figured out. The idea is that you can purchase upgrades at any time during the game, but you can only equip equipment upgrades at supply crates scattered through the levels. I bought a laser sight to attach to my pistol. When I got to the supply crate, it didn’t show it as part of my available attachments, despite it being showed as purchased in the store. So I thought, “let me try to purchase something through the supply crate and see how that works.” I only ended up with the same results. So I have just stuck with upgrading my attributes instead purchasing equipment upgrades.
The only good thing about 007 Legends, and I am sure (hoping) that many will agree is the multiplayer. While the player count was cut down to 12 from the 16 supported in last year’s GoldenEye reloaded, it’s the four-player split-screen mode that makes the game winning play. But this is only because this style of multiplayer (same-screen) has become so rare in modern gaming. This is perfect for me as I prefer to trash talk my friends from across the room, rather than through a headset.
Then there’s the yet unplayed Skyfall mission DLC. It’s important to note that this isn’t just an optional extra. It’s actually the end of the game. If you play through the five available missions right now, you finish Moonraker and immediately move to game credits. One can only make an assumption, but it looks like the Skyfall mission was not delivered with the released product so that the movie is not spoiled. Well, they’ve already destroyed five old movies, what’s sixth new one while they are at it.

The Final Say
Eurocom was not able to capture the greatness that they presented in GoldenEye: Reloaded and put into 007 Legends. This movie was supposed to be a tribute to the history of the dashing spy, but it fails in many aspects. It’s really too bad. The film versions have been at their greatest level since the Connery days (in my opinion), how come we can’t have the games coincide with the movies to make a complete franchise success? If you have GoldenEye: Reloaded, just stick with that one as you will not be missing much with 007 Legends. If you don’t have it… buy that one. It’s cheaper and will leave more money in your pocket for Black Ops II, which releases in a few short weeks.