007 Legends Review: A Legendary Cash Grab
007 Legends is an embarrassment, and the lack of attention to detail is horrific for Bond fans.
James bond has been a source of entertainment for years. Games based off some of the most popular 007 movies are nothing new, and some of the most memorable games have been Bond themed. This generation hasn’t been too kind to 007, and gamers are still waiting for that killer game based on the worlds coolest secret agent. Enter 007 Legends, a title that hopes to combine the latest Bond, Daniel Craig, with some of the classic Bond movies that never had the chance to be featured in their own game.
007 Legends takes place at the start of Skyfall. Daniel Craig plays Bond, and ends up being accidentally shot by a fellow agent. The bullet wound causes Bond to go into shock and he then finds himself remembering some of the most important missions of his career. Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, License to Kill and Die Another Day are the movies of choice, and each feature their own set of missions. A Skyfall mission pack will also be available once the movie has been released in theaters, on November 9th, 2012.
Each of the playable stories lasts anywhere between sixty to ninety minutes, and usually consists of a mission or two. The incredibly sad part is that each movie is poorly portrayed, and elements have been added that make each story seem like a brainless shooter, instead of a secret mission. Previously in Bond titles, it made sense to insert in additional content. Games like Goldeneye had to have missions extended since the movie counterpart is only about 2 hours, but the added content in 007 Legends serves no purpose. I understand that some Bond movies are superior than others, and that some titles have better action scenes, but the content added in Moonraker makes me question if the developers have ever seen the actual movie.
007 Legends literally has no ending.
007 Legends also suffer from one horrendous mistake in design. There is literally no ending to the game that is on the disc. Once you finish the last mission you are greeted with a screen that says stayed tuned for the Skyfall DLC. I an completely puzzled to why this decision was made. Sure the Skyfall DLC will be free, but what if somebody doesn’t have access to Xbox Live or PSN? That number of players might be low, but the decision to possibly alienate consumers completely is simply preposterous.
I usually like to break down game play and presentation elements in reviews, but with 007 Legends both elements have to be discussed in the same context. Sadly, this is because the game play is seriously affected by the poor presentation. The engine powering 007 Legends is a modified version of the same engine that powered last year’s Goldeneye 007: Reloaded, which was also a modification of the engine powering Dead Space: Extraction. You would think with the power advantages that the Xbox 360 and PS3 have over the Wii, would mean that an engine developed for the Wii would run very efficiently, that is entirely the opposite of what 007 Legends achieves.
Texture quality is astonishingly horrific, and will make players look at their console to make sure they are indeed playing a current gen console. There are some areas that literally break apart before your eyes. There were instances where I could see the wire framing popping in and out through the walls, and others areas were victim of disappearing objects and characters. There have been beta versions of titles that run better than 007 Legends, and the lack of polish is inexcusable.
007 Legends’ biggest problem is keeping the frame rate at a playable level. As soon as any action starts in screen the frame rate drops from sixty to twenty, and it fluctuates constantly from high to low. The changing frame rate makes lining up shots on enemies nearly impossible, and if it wasn’t for the lock on aiming system similar to Call of Duty, it would be impossible to play. In fact, 007 Legends screams Call of Duty the entire time you are playing it.
Actually playing 007 Legends feels identical to Call of Duty. The explosions, loud yelling and slow motion shooting is all here. In fact, I would dare to even say that 007 Legends feels like a Call of Duty conversion mod. Seriously, if it wasn’t for the fact Daniel Craig was holding a gun in cut scenes, players could easily mistake 007 Legends for Call of Duty.
Making a Call of Duty clone would at least provide some entertainment, but the bugs that litter the entirety of 007 Legends make it extremely frustrating. Being shot through walls, getting stuck on corners, and being shot by enemies with insanely high accuracy all make for an experience that is tough to play. One area in particular has Bond running form one side of a courtyard to another shooting enemies as he goes. The problem is if you take cover behind certain objects, it seems that enemies are still able to get you. Killing these enemies should be an easy task, but the horrendous engine makes it so difficult to lock on and shoot enemies without getting killed yourself. The reason behind making 007 Legends a Call of Duty clone, but not using the engine that powers Call of Duty, which was previously done for 007 titles like Quantum of Solace, simply doesn’t make sense. If the engine was stable, the game would at least be playable.
Even in the areas where stealth is needed 007 Legends falls apart. Players must sneak around in effort to not be seen, but the same bug that allows enemies to shoot you through walls, also allows them to have x ray vision. Friendly AI also gets you into trouble since they sometimes forget that stealth means to not be seen, but instead run into enemies trying to get their attention.
In a world where a new shooter seems to be released every week, you would think the whole secret agent aspect would have a larger role like in previous bond titles. Once again, 007 Legends does the complete opposite. There a few parts where Bond will pull out his smart phone to scan something or to solve a puzzle, but these few segments are boring and only offer a mere 10 second distraction. The rest of the game is point and shoot, with a few terrible vehicle segments sprinkled in to frustrate you.
007 Legends is a Call of Duty clone featuring nothing good from Call of Duty titles.
Another area where 007 Legends screams Call of Duty is the Multiplayer. Remember that overused ranking system that was made famous by Call of Duty 4, well that makes a triumphant return in 007 Legends. There is literally nothing unique about the offerings in Multiplayer. You have your traditional style of matches like Death match and Team Death Match, along with the classic objective style matches. Players level up to earn to new characters and weapons, with the goal to become the highest level possible. It has been done a thousand times, and lacks any creativity.
The lag that plagued Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is still an issue in 007 Legends. In small death match games I was hit with lag a few times during a game, but In games that require more players, I found myself lagging so bad that the frame rate started to suffer. Fire fights would be going fine, but suddenly my character just couldn’t aim properly. I am not sure if this was the aim assist trying to lock onto a different character, or if the lag combined with frame rate issues caused weird effects.
I am a huge fan of James Bond, and I just can’t wrap my head around why the quality of 007 Legends is so appalling. I try my best to find the good in games, and that was why I always enjoyed 007 titles. Previous titles this generation were not amazing games, but I was always able to enjoy them simply because I love James Bond. 007 Legends never even felt like a playable game, and making a Call of Duty clone this bad is simply inexcusable.
It is just sad how unoriginal 007 Legends is. The source material for James Bond is fantastic, and the lack of attention to detail in this title is downright criminal. A terrible engine, mixed with uninspired game play, and boring multiplayer make 007 Legends the biggest cash grab in video game history. A game this unpolished just doesn’t cut it in the year 2012. James Bond doesn’t deserve to have his name plastered all over this terrible title.