Note: This review is for the original 5 missions on the game, and does not include the now-released Skyfall segment of the game.
007 Legends for the PlayStation 3 is a first person shooter based on the popular James Bond Movie franchise. It sees you playing through a couple of missions from each of five different films (one for each of the previous Bonds). The films included are: Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Licence to Kill, Die Another Day and Moonraker.
Overall, the game plays like any other first-person-shooter. The FPS-market is currently completely saturated. With the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Borderlands, etc. all on the bestsellers lists, you have to ask the question: "What does 007 Legends provide that none of the others do?" And unfortunately for 007 Legends, the answer to that question is: "Nothing at all".
Which is a huge shame, because 007 Legends is an all-round well made shooter, and a tremendously fun look back at the last 50 years of Bond in film. Sure, Licence to Kill and Die Another Day may not be highlights of the series for a lot of fans, but they nevertheless provide an exciting set of missions to play through. And as for the others; there's enough of the original plot to make any fan of the films smile (entering the vault area from Goldfinger is particularly impressive, if you know the film). But much of the scripting and order of events have been rearranged and cut to allow (a) the story to be brought up to date, and (b) the plot to be squeezed into a couple of missions.
And this leads me on to my first main gripe with the game; there aren't really enough chapters to each mission. I'm not even suggesting that the game should be much longer (the storyline will last maybe 8 hours). Instead, it would have been nice for the missions to be shortened or cut down, and spread across multiple chapters. O.H.M.S.S., for example, is split into two missions: The first sees you skiing down a mountain while shooting at men on snowmobiles for perhaps five minutes at most. Then the second mission sees you infiltrating Blofeld's mountain base, with very little explanation as to what you are supposed to be doing. This second mission lasts considerably longer than the first, but it seems that splitting the game into several more levels might allow the story to be explained more clearly. For Bond-fans, this won't be a problem. But if you're not familiar with the films, then you may want to do some research (ie, watch the films) before you play.
On a whole, however, the campaign mode is fairly enjoyable, and boasts some exciting moments, based on sections of the films. Unlike last year's 'GoldenEye 007 Reloaded', '007 Legends' has a great variety of environments, taking you from Goldfinger's assault on Fort Knox, to Grave's Biodome in Iceland, and finally into Space aboard Drax's spacestation. Occasionally, the regular FPS action is broken up by dull and repetitive fights that utilise a free-fighting game mechanic that is basically a glorified "hit the displayed button as fast as you can" cutscene. While it gives you the option to block with the shoulder buttons, this is never truly necessary. Nevertheless, there are certain mechanics in the game that are much more successful. The final mission in this game (set in space, of course), for example, has got to be one of my all-time favourite FPS missions, effectively utilising a very interesting and fun control scheme.
Speaking of control schemes, they've been slightly revamped since last year's 'GoldenEye Reloaded'. The most noticeable change is the addition of a jump button. While this doesn't sound particularly exciting in today's world, it is a great improvement from the previous game. Also added is the ability to complete different challenges, such as a certain number of kills with a certain weapon. Completing a challenge awards you with XP, which can be spent to upgrade your gadgets, enhance your weapons with certain add-ons (such as thermal scopes, grenade launchers and silencers), or upgrade Bond himself with certain training enhancers, improving your aim and health, etc.
Certain aspects of 'GoldenEye Reloaded' remain, however, and not least of all the menu system, which has barely been altered (except for a background video of famous Bond villains 'swanning' about while you make decisions). MI6 mode returns, although its been renamed "Challenges" to incorporate the range of missions available, half of which see you playing as one of the henchmen from the game, as you attempt to complete a part of the story from their point of view. While on a whole, the challenge mode is fun, fans of MI6 mode might be a little frustrated by some of the choices that have been made. For a start, the game modes have been changed around a bit, allowing you to have a greater choice over how you play the mission. This sounds great on paper, but after ten unsuccessful attempts at completing the first challenge (an escape mission) using stealth, I decided to attempt a quick run through the mission, ignoring the enemies who were shooting at me, and easily achieved the top, 5-star rating.
Multiplayer returns, of course, and players of 'GoldenEye Reloaded' will feel instantly at home. The game modes are very similar, and apart from a few extra gun and gadget options, nothing seems to have changed much. Only 8 multiplayer maps ship with the game (although I'm hoping some extra levels will arrive with the Skyfall DLC), and while some of these maps are quite fun, none of them really seem to top the best levels from 'Goldeneye Reloaded'. Split screen is of course present, but with a lack of AI bots (what a surprise!), many of the levels feel far too large. The three of us testing the game out found that it took at least 5 minutes before the kill count reached more than 5 on all levels except for the (relatively) small 'Biodome'.
Some of the gadgets have been reshuffled, preventing you from using "Minesweeper" (reveals enemy explosives) at the same time as equipping extra explosives yourself. This balances the gameplay a little more. Most gadgets have also been improved, with extra abilities, while completely new gadgets have been added which should encourage players to adopt a more tactical style of play.
On a whole, the game is enjoyable for any fan of the films. While on a whole, the game is an improvement on 'Goldeneye 007 Reloaded', there are certain things that are disappointing, such as the small choice of fairly similar multiplayer maps and the odd choice of changes that have been made to MI6 mode. It seems that between 'GoldenEye Reloaded' and '007 Legends', developer Eurocom have one fantastic game. It's just a shame that they spread it out across two better-than-average, but still fairly mediocre titles. All in all, it seems that Eurocom have done an entirely Odd-Job of this game. <GROAN!>
In many ways an improvement on 'Goldeneye Reloaded'. The addition of certain features are particularly welcome (XP challenges and 'jump'). There are still things to improve, but these things do not really take away from the overall gameplay, apart from the melee, free-fighting portions, which are repetitive and not particularly challenging.
Sure, some changes have been made to the original plots, but many of these are forgiveable. The storylines are still strong (albeit strung together by a currently inexplicable Skyfall theme. Yes, the whole gamme is basically Bond's life flashing before his eyes...), and while many have been complaining about the use of Daniel Craig's gritty, 21st Century Bond being thrown into these cheesy and clichéd scenarios, it doesn't really change how much you enjoy the game. As far as I know, the game is not intended to be canon, and while it might have been nice for every actor who played Bond to reprise the roles by allowing their likenesses to be used in the game, it probably wasn't feasible, or cost-effective.
Not great, but probably the best looking Bond game to date. The textures feel a little flat at times, and you never really lose the sensation of occupying a world created entirely out of flat surfaces, polygons and boxes, some of the long-distance shots are particularly impressive. In addition, the gun graphics have been much improved, and the level of detail is quite impressive in places. Apart from the main villains (all of whom are based on the original actors, with some even providing their voices for the roles), many of the character models (including Bond's) aren't anything impressive, but the movements are considerably more realistic than previously, with guards even tripping over the corpses of their fallen comrades.
This, in my opinion, is where the game really shines. The music for the game has been incredibly implemented. This is most noticeable during the first two missions (Goldfinger and On Her Majesty's Secret Service), where re-recorded versions of the theme tunes play during particularly intense portions of the gameplay, adding to the sense of genuine Bond-gameplay. When you hear a few bars of Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" playing in the background, you can't help but grin as you charge forwards towards the entrance to Fort Knox.
As mentioned before, some of the original cast have reprised their roles to provide voice-acting for the game. Most notably, Judi Dench has once again provided her iconic voice for the role of M, and (quite oddly), the cast of Moonraker have all reprised their roles (including Richard Kiel as Jaws, whose lines consist entirely of grunts). The only disadvantage of this is that it makes Hugo Drax sound a little older than he appears, but at least it is the genuine voice, rather than a poor impression (I'm looking at you, "No Mr. Read more ›