Quantum of Solace: The Game Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Quantum of Solace: The Game is actually a very illogical name. Don’t worry, the current real life Bond is in there and the levels are inspired by scenes from the action packed movie. But, staying on the subject of levels, oddly enough it’s actually more Casino Royale than it is Quantum of Solace, with 10 levels for the former and 5 for the latter. In a couple of ways this is a very good thing, as Casino Royale wasn’t actually made into a game, and not forgetting that both Daniel Craig’s Bond movies are very much connected, but regardless of these observations, the name is still a rather big lie.

As a Bond fan I’m just glad to be playing as 007 once again, with the last game being that of EA’s flashback to the original 60’s Bond, Sean Connery in From Russia with Love. Since the 2006 release of EA’s final Bond game, Daniel Craig has debuted in the role, Activision have acquired the licence to make games based on the character, and now, developer, Treyarch have taken Bond back into GoldenEye’s FPS territory, with the help of Infinity Ward’s fantastic Call of Duty 4 engine.

What I always want in a Bond game is for it to create the illusion that I am actually playing as the cinematic super spy, thus I have always thought that a truly authentic game, based on the character, should make you aware that you are actually 007, not only with the iconic theme music but also by allowing the game to show the virtual faces of any of the real life Bond’s. Being third person games, EA obviously succeeded with Everything or Nothing and From Russia with Love, whilst Treyarch are also constantly reminding you that, outside the cut-scenes, you are actually controlling Bond. Indeed, Quantum of Solace is a FPS, but a third person cover and takedown system assures that Daniel Craig’s tough guy features are regularly visible, thanks to a fantastic mirror image model of the actor, a model that is only let down by lack of facial expression, which would have surely made him appear to be a little more amongst the land of the living.

So, the Daniel Craig model is mostly fantastic, and whilst you may not be holding your breath for the visuals as a whole, please feel to do so as, barring a few overly bland areas, Quantum of Solace is actually a very good looking game. I haven’t seen the Quantum of Solace movie so cannot comment on the levels that have been inspired by it, although the Casino Royale levels certainly look the part and bring to mind the scenes that they are based on. I also can’t remember experiencing any slowdown and glitches have been kept to a minimum, so rest easy, this is one film licence that has been polished as passionately as a diamond.

As for the game itself, those expecting to be doing things that Bond often does, such as getting involved in car chases, will be disappointed as Treyarch’s focus has been on the shooting, and the shooting mainly. No, you won’t be taking part in a big budget car chase or anything of the sort, although there‘s the option to be more discreet on some levels, and fortunately the shooting is really slick, whilst those who like some tactical elements thrown into their shooters will be delighted to learn that this is no run and gun game that has bullets bouncing off you as if they’re made of mere rubber.

Treyarch have implemented a cover system, and my intellectual guess is that they wanted us to make full use it. If you don’t shield yourself with your surroundings you won’t even last as long as George Lazenby lasted in the Bond role, as not being able to take too many bullets (particularly on the hardest 007 difficulty which offers a pretty stiff challenge) is yet another reminder that Bond is only human, albeit one that has survived many impossible things, saved the world lots of times, and has had passionate flings with more women than the worldwide male population combined. The cover system works very well indeed, flitting to third person, allowing you to pop out and shoot, use an overly accurate blind fire tactic, and advance by aiming at any forward cover and holding a single button to dash towards it, a method that is useful for moving from cover to cover, or just to rush to somewhere safe to avoid all that flying lead.

Enemies are also smart enough to make full use of cover, in fact (despite feeling a little too scripted on occasion) they’re smart full stop. They react to each situation and will attempt to outsmart you by flanking you. There’s often so many enemies that keeping tabs on the lot of them can be a rather difficult task, thus it was quite a regular thing that I found myself being shot down by an enemy that has been, unknowingly to me, advancing on my position, whilst I was busy dealing with his buddies.

As Daniel Craig’s Bond is such a mean and ruthless killing machine, all areas have been covered, meaning that, just like in Craig’s movies, this Bond is as good with his fists as he is with a gun in his hand. Close quarters combat only requires you to press the right stick inwards and then to press the corresponding button on the screen, which results in a nicely animated third person takedown move. Some may scoff at how easy this is to execute, although this is no fighting game. Scripted fighting scenes meanwhile involve the much maligned QTE’s which differ in toughness depending on your selected difficulty level.

Quantum of Solace is a pretty short game, clocking in around the 6 hour mark, although when you’ve exhausted the single player campaign, a system link and online multiplayer mode gives the game longer legs. There’s a couple of modes where you play as Bond himself (protecting explosives in one and escaping in another), although the lack of other characters from 007’s universe is a real shame. Modes include everything from the murderous Deathmatch, the popular Golden Gun mode that has players fighting over a single and “one shot kills” gun that earns you a generous five points with each kill, finally, Territory Control has teams aiming to take control of particular points on each map. Similar to Call of Duty, you can earn perks, although here you earn money in the multiplayer that can be spent on whichever upgrade or weapon (speaking of weapons, the shotgun is way overpowered and is as useful from long range as it is in someone’s face) takes your fancy, depending on your current cash resources of course.

Quantum of Solace: The Game is as explosive as you’d expect from a Bond game and is definitely one of the best that has been based on Ian Fleming’s immortal super spy. The familiar music and Bond’s occasional tuxedo sleeve was almost enough to make me feel as if I was 007 himself, although add in the well thought out third person and, with the character in view, it truly becomes a Bond game. If only the campaign had been a little longer and offered a little more Bond like variety, adding to the below score could have been a reality. In spite of this, Quantum of Solace is a great Bond debut game from Activision.