This is the latest guest post from Lewis Gillingwater. Thank you for reading!
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007 Legends Review.
Recently it was revealed developer Eurocom began laying off its staff , going into administration soon after. As sad as I am to see so many people lose their jobs I can’t say I’m exactly sympathetic considering how badly their most recent project has turned out. Last year I played and actually rather enjoyed their previous take on James Bond in their HD remake of the N64’s Goldeneye. Badly reviewed I found it to be quite underrated and with some expansion and a little more polish it could have been a reasonably serviceable shooter. This opportunity has , alas , been squandered with the release of 007 Legends which makes far too many mistakes , has far too many technical issues and is so generic that it is close to impossible to find any redeeming features in it.
I suppose the game tries to be original in its story for one thing. In an attempt to celebrate the Bond franchise’s 50th anniversary this year the game consists of around 12 levels with 2 per Bond movie. There is one movie for each Bond here : Goldfinger ( Sean Connery ) , On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ( George Lazenby ) , Moonraker ( Roger Moore ) , License To Kill ( Timothy Dalton ) , Die Another Day ( Pierce Brosnan ) and Skyfall ( Daniel Craig ). Despite this trip through Bond’s history all of the missions star Daniel Craig’s Bond and Judi Dench’s M and this really looks odd at times. Don’t come here expecting a coherent narrative either as the story flits from one setting and villain to another with little to no explanation for how you got there. If you don’t have Xbox Live or PSN then expect to not get the entire story either since the Skyfall mission was released as DLC and is actually where the story ends so without an internet connection you cannot actually see the true ending of the game.
The missions themselves are uninspired corridor shooting galleries that you’ve seen a thousand times before. Forced stealth sections are included to try and break up the monotony and this would be fine if they were not completely broken. Your tools for taking out enemies silently are minimal at best and the hired mercenaries obviously have 20/20 vision since they can spot a dead body from a mile away Not that you can move the bodies of course , nor can you distract enemies whose lines of sight are so wide that you’d swear they have eyes on the sides of their faces.
Of course you could just open fire on these mystic hired guns but doing so will invoke their powers of clairvoyance. Once one guy is shot they become an all seeing hive mind who can find you and fire upon you with pinpoint accuracy no matter where you are and if they could realistically see you or not. Though there are a large assortment of weapons to kill off the clones , ( No , really. There’s about 2 models for each henchman , its spooky ) , they have little variety other than aesthetics. All of them feel like pea shooters and do around the same amount of damage aside from the obvious exceptions such as the sniper that kills in one shot , even if you hit them in the toenail , and the shotguns that mess about with physics and cause amazing displays of gymnastics from their recently produced corpses.
There is a little variety to be found in the traditional staple of Bond gadgets yet even here they aren’t pulled off correctly. Bond’s laser watch can now function as a minimap in the most awkward of places and a laser that can make speakers whine and nothing else at all so I suppose if Bond needed to take down a villainous puppy he’d be fine. Then you have his Smartphone which acts not only as product placement for the latest Sony model but also as a hacking mechanism , scanning mechanism and a camera. These activities consist of pressing X and doing a little minigame , holding X and tapping X respectively , all truly immersive features as you can see. Finally later in the game you are given a pen that can fire distraction ( alert causing ) darts , tranquilizer darts and another type of tranquilizer dart and all of these add precisely nothing to your arsenal in terms of wide use.
Missions here consist of holding X at some things , shooting a lot of identical henchmen in stealth or out loud and then holding X some more. Eventually you will reach a boss fight with a major Bond villain such as Oddjob or Jaw’s who you will engage in the dumbest hand to hand combat mechanic I have ever seen. Essentially you wait for an icon representing a direction and an analogue stick to appear and perform the corresponding action so what we have here is a quicktime event by any other name but using the most imprecise feature of the controller. Not only does it fail to function half of the time but even when it does it is shockingly boring as you work down a health bar that is far too large for you to not lose interest before it has been run down. These fights are both amazingly tiring but also not even significant half of the time either. Rather than make them solely against Bond villains you will occasionally have to engage henchman number 543 in a battle to the death for no adequately explained reason.
Fights such as these are totally unavoidable too on account of the game’s astounding linearity. Not content to merely restrict you to a path and make said path clear Eurocom decided to give players the illusion of freedom while simultaneously locking all but one route. This makes for a confusing layout and the sense that the game is totally on rails throughout.
Finally and fatally the game looks terrible. At first glance it would appear to be a title from the early stages of this generation as textures are of amazingly low quality and glitches and bugs are near constant. Character animations have taken far too many trips down the uncanny valley as mouths don’t sync up with speech and movements give the impression that the Disney animatronics have escaped and run amok. Animation in general is poor too as enemies drop dead the same way no matter where they stand and miscellaneous animations are jerky as well.
I will admit that I did not buy 007 Legends , I rented it since I had heard so much bad press surrounding it. Even the £6 I paid for the ‘pleasure’ of renting it was not worth it and I implore anybody reading to not waste their money , even out of morbid curiosity , as I did. When a game based on James Bond cannot even get his catchphrase right there is obviously a problem , when asked his name Bond replies with ‘James Bond’ omitting the usual ‘The names Bond ….’.The game is completely and utterly useless and should never have been released , I would be ashamed to have my name in the credits.
Rushed and broken 007 Legends is certainly not stirring but is visibly shaken.