Thursday, January 24, 2013

007 LEGENDS REVIEW: LET THE SKY FALL, LET IT CRUMBLE



There was some real opportunity in 007 Legends. The idea of merging a few 007 films into a game sounds like a great idea, considering that there is a whole back catalogue of movies to pull some ideas from. But this was a clear cash grab on Activision’s part to get a product out not only for the movie, Skyfall, but also for the 50th anniversary. 007 Legends is about as lazy of a licensed product you could get, and for fans of the 007 series, it’s a complete letdown.

007 Legends spans across five 007 films: Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Licence To Kill, Die Another Day and Moonraker. Each of those movies alone has varying degrees of quality (Goldfinger is a definite classic, while Moonraker and Die Another Day approach camp), and they don’t seem consistent enough to thread a similar narrative. The whole plot of why you’re playing these adventures is at once inspired and lazy at the same time. The game begins from the scene in Skyfall where Bond is in a fist fight on top of a train, and is then shot down from the train after a failed attempt to keep a man from running off with a drive with sensitive data. Where in the movie, Adele’s theme plays after Bond is shot down, but in the game, 007 has flashbacks of previous missions he has been in, which happen to be the five mentioned films above (there is a 6th playable mission from Skyfall, but you have to download a key to unlock it).

There is a major lack of consistency when it comes to the treatment of all these films. First of all, it’s hard not to ignore the fact that Daniel Craig is replacing the likes of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan from all the previous films (although Activision already did that once with the remake of GoldenEye, replacing Brosnan with Craig). It makes sense to do that, because switching over to five different actors would just be too jarring. But considering that Craig is this Bond for all previous movies, it’s hard to ignore the events of Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace in context with these other movies. Not only that, certain story events are made up just to extend the gameplay.

The whole problem with the game, though, is just how lazy it plays out. It’s clear that Eurocom re-used the engine for GoldenEye 007 Reloaded, but for some reason, the visual quality looks worse here than the previous game. There are also issues with the frame rate and issues with screen tearing (which for a game of this quality just shouldn’t happen). The game design does nothing particularly inventive, and as a whole seems like a generic first person shooter coated in the 007 license. If the best new thing to offer are fist-fights with enemies that try to somewhat ape Fight Night, you’ve got problems.  There might be a shining moment here or there where the game looks passable, or becomes somewhat fun, but there are so many moments within the game that just aren’t. I also have to wonder why they chose Goldfinger and Moonraker, since they have been used in some capacity in previous 007 games (Moonraker was used in an unlockable stage in the N64 version of GoldenEye, and Goldfinger was used in GoldenEye: Rouge Agent).

Activision really hasn’t done well with the 007 license since taking it over from EA, and after a game like this, I really wish EA would take over the franchise again. They actually had more hits than misses, and managed to come up with better original content (like Everything Or Nothing). 007 Legends is just another missed opportunity for a very strong license, and fans of the films are going to be very disappointed.

RATING : D+
It's not an abject failure, but the franchise sure as hell deserves better.

Version reviewed: Xbox 360. Also available on PlayStation 3 and Wii U.
Developed by Eurocom, Published by Activision

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