007 Legends Xbox 360 Review

October 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Publisher – Activision – Developer – Eurocom – Genre – FPS – Players – 1-12 – Age Rating – 16+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3

The James Bond film series has, as of this year, been around for 50 years. Like the films, games featuring the famous fictional spy have had their highs and lows, with the N64’s GoldenEye being the one to beat in the eyes of many. Being that Bond films have been on the go for 50 years now, you’d hope that the latest game would be a memorable experience.

007 Legends is certainly a game that draws plenty from the half century that the film series has existed. As opposed to a single storyline, this latest Bond game take its inspiration from six films in the series: Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Licence to Kill, Die Another Day, Moonraker and Skyfall, the critically acclaimed latest film in the series. That’s one film from each of the six Bond actors, although you’ll have to wait until November for the Skyfall missions to come available for free download, of which will also end the story. Yes, the story currently has a beginning and a middle, but it doesn’t have an ending at the time of writing.

No, you don’t get to play as all the lead actors from the films, with the current cinematic Bond, Daniel Craig, being the only star. If you know little about 007 Legends, then you may be wondering how all these very different stories fit together. Well, basically, Bond is shot and left for dead in the pre-credits sequence, which results in him reliving his memories – a good reason for all the fan service, then, and if 007 Legends is anything, it’s certainly brilliant fan service.

Through earning experience, you can purchase add-ons as well as improve your weaponry and Bond's physical attributes in a number of ways.

We don’t get to hear Daniel Craig’s voice (instead there’s a rather poor sound-alike filling in), although we do have his likeness, while many of the other iconic characters look like who they are supposed to be in the game, and some even have the original actors on voice over duties. With all that said, the game hardly puts a foot wrong in attempting to please the Bond fan.

Being that it’s one of the most popular genres and the very fondly remembered GoldenEye game was one itself, 007 Legends is yet another FPS to star Ian Fleming’s British MI6 agent. There’s a cover system, which allows you to duck below lower objects and pop your head out to take shots at enemies. The actual shooting isn’t too bad at all, although, like Eurocom’s own GoldenEye remake, the animations aren’t all that wonderful, and pale in comparison to even Rare’s ancient GoldenEye game. Being Bond, there’s lots of shooting and explosions, but there’s also a fair bit of sneaking around to be done.

The stealth is executed to a satisfying enough degree, although it does have a number of things which will cause frustration for many. There’s an optional tutorial for the stealth, and I was certainly surprised at how long drawn out it is, for sneaking about is a game mechanic that isn’t all that complex in most games, as is the case here. Problem enemies can be subdued by getting up and close to them, while tranquilisers and silenced weapons can help you deal with them from afar. There are also security cameras to be cautious of and not being able to move and hide bodies can certainly prove to be a problem, as you are forced to dispose of them in secluded places, away from the eyes of other enemies. There are also some issues in which enemies seem to be able to see you from impossible positions, and, while this does annoy, it doesn’t happen enough to damage the stealth mechanic too much. Most of the time, being spotted won’t result in mission failure, although there’s a few stealh sections in which staying hidden is mandatory.

Developer Eurocom haven’t forgotten the gadgets in 007 Legends, and you’ll be able to play around with a number of spy toys. To name a few, Bond’s phone can hack devices and spot things that wouldn’t be possible with the naked eye, while his wristwatch reveals the position of enemies, which is handy during the stealth sections.

There’s sadly a feeling of predictability to the entire game, in which you often chase down the lynchpins or their cronies and then have an embarrassingly one-sided fight against them. Yes, the fighting is really that bad, with you pressing the sticks up or down when prompted to attack, and, well, that’s mostly it. If you can execute these very basic actions, most of the fights can be won with taking little damage yourself, and, seriously, I often felt as though I was taking my frustrations out on a mere training dummy. This is not the sort of fighting you expect from the modern day incarnation of Bond, as it’s just completely pathetic and shockingly dull. I suppose it breaks things up a little, but it doesn’t do anything more than that.

As a Bond game, there’s also a lack of truly memorable moments, and control is often taken out of your hands in moments where even some button prompts would have helped you feel a little more like the action man that is Bond. The music is fine for what it is, although the famous Bond theme can’t even be heard during these moments, which is a little shocking for a game released in the same year that the films are celebrating a milestone anniversary.

Finally, there are some driving sections which, give them their due, do prove to be a decent distraction. There’s not many of these to be found in the game but they certainly do the job, with lots of explosive action and a decent sensation of speed. These sections are Bond moments that put you in control, so why couldn’t you have been given more control in some of the other portions in the game which could have really benefitted from being much more hands-on?

Visually, 007 Legends is mixed, although visuals are servicable, it's certainly far from the best looking game on the market.

All in all, the campaign, while flawed, isn’t bad at all and has you visiting familiar locations from the Bond universe, but I did manage to finish all the missions on the disc in under five hours. Replay value does come in the form of additional trial objectives on the tougher difficulty levels. Of course, there are also the free Skyfall missions on the way to complete the campaign. 007 Legends also has a Challenge mode, in which levels from the campaign are presented to you in a new way with new objectives. It’s certainly a worthwhile mode outside of the main campaign itself.

There are also multiplayer options in the game. Multiplayer can be played by up to twelve players online (down from 16 in the last game) and four player split screen locally. Options and modes are pretty much like those of Eurocom’s own GoldenEye game, and, like many multiplayer FPS games of the modern age, you’ll earn XP and unlock additional options. The highly customisable multiplayer is once again one of the highlights, but sadly, at the time of writing, the online servers are rather quiet, and rarely have I seen any games fill up to full capacity (even when a mode allows for only 8 players to play at once). For those that can gather others to play in the same room, split screen multiplayer may prove to be a true godsend.

As a half century celebration this game was undoubtedly a great idea, but sadly 007 Legends isn’t the game it could and should have been, although it’s still a playable enough FPS. It’s a game mostly suited to the ardent Bond fan then, although it has to be said that there’s much better FPS games on the market, and, as a Bond experience, 007 Legends is also rather lacking in memorable set-pieces, which is a real shame.