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Customer Review

41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last, a faithful movie tie-in that isn't a total bodge job., 5 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Quantum of Solace (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
"Quantum Of Solace" is the latest game in the Bond franchise. Despite the name, however, this actually also contains a selection of events from the previous movie "Casino Royale".

The game uses the "Call Of Duty 4" engine, but instead of it being COD4 in a Bond setting, there has actually been a lot of thought put into this. When not using the cover system (which works really well, almost as good as the one in "Gears Of War" but not quite up to that standard) it's in first-person, but you switch seamlessly to third-person when behind cover. It's when you see this that you realise what a pretty good graphical representation they have of latest James Bond actor Daniel Craig (who also lends his voice to the game, as does Judi Dench as M).

The first level or two plays pretty much like COD4, with similar controls (although you cannot go prone, you can still crouch), although you can now put silencers on many of the available guns in the game. When you take a hit you get a red mark showing where the shot came from and your energy depletes, and it recharges if you get to a safe spot, just like in COD4. One thing that I prefer about the on-screen visualisation of your energy depleting is that, unlike COD4 (in which the screen got gradually redder and you could barely see a thing), in QOS the screen goes gradually monochrome, then you get a border similar to the famous gun-barrel opening of the movies (so at least even when you're at death's door you can still see what the heck's going on well enough to be able to effectively defend yourself while you find a safe haven to revitalise yourself). When you die you get a load of blood dribble down the screen in the gun-barrel style, just like the sequence that opens the movies, before respawning at the previous checkpoint.

About that cover system. You press A to go to cover, and you can even point at an object behind which you can take cover and hold down A to dash towards it and press against cover, a bit like in GOW. You can fire from cover either by holding down the Left Trigger to aim and pressing Right Trigger to fire, or you can blindfire by just pressing the Right Trigger. If there is another bit of cover to the left or right of you you can switch from that part to the other by pressing the direction on the Left Stick and pressing A (a bit like the SWAT turn in GOW). Some cover is destructible, just as in COD4, so choose your cover wisely and make sure you are aware of your surroundings in case what you are currently hiding behind can no longer protect you!

You have three weapons slots in the game, one of which is always occupied by the Walther P99, Bond's signature weapon, but you can pick up other weapons either from downed enemies or you may even be lucky enough to stumble upon a case containing another weapon if you explore side-rooms or side-alleys etc on the way to your objective. You can refill the guns with ammo either by walking over similar guns dropped by downed enemies or by finding an ammo box (which will fill up every weapon in your stash). Some downed foes will even have grenades that you can take, and flashbangs also appear in this game.

As well as shooting foes, you can also often find highlighted items such as fire extinguishers, fuel tanks or other explosives that you can shoot in order to either blow up nearby foes, or (in the case of fire extinguishers, for instance) rain smoke down on them so that they cannot see clearly enough, meaning you can pick them off much more easily.

The AI of the foes is largely advanced -- they certainly know how to flank! One moment you can be shooting ahead of you, only to find that one or two that sneaked past the initial onslaught suddenly appear beside you or behind you! So keep an eye out for any sneaky foes trying to make their way down the sides, because it's comparatively rare that they will just run blindly towards you and be an easy target!

Remember how in COD4 you could click the Right Stick to do a melee attack on a nearby enemy? In this, instead of that, you enter close-quarters mode, in which you get a short time to press the on-screen button (A, B, X or Y) to enable Bond to do a CQ take-down, which not only conserves ammo, but also allows you to despatch a bad guy without giving your position away (which on later levels is a blessing).

Yes, stealth plays a part in many missions! Remember the level "All Ghillied Up" from COD4? Remember how you tried to get through that without being spotted or discovered? It's the same thing here, only on a grander scale. Some missions will greatly benefit from a stealthy approach so that you don't get a whole heap of baddies to cope with, and here you creep about doing CQ take-downs as I have just described, trying not to be seen by enemies (which often means learning their patrolling paths), using silencers on your guns and even trying to disable active CCTV cameras to make sure that nobody spots you (bear in mind that even a camera spotting a body of someone you've downed can set the alarms off!). Brilliant!

Other variations in the gameplay include bits where you are pressed up against a wall while shimmying along a narrow ledge, where you occasionally have to jump and in some cases avoid being seen (some bits actually require you to avoid being spotted by searchlights!) -- it is more important that you are not seen when doing this, as one hit will kill you instantly as you cannot defend yourself properly in such a restricted position! There are also bits where you must re-enact directions on the D-pad to enable you to enter a locked door by hacking it, and others where you must traverse a very narrow walkway whilst keeping your balance (while pushing forward on the Left Stick you must also keep this balance meter as close to the centre as possible by pressing left or right on this stick to counterbalance the swaying movements -- if the marker in this meter goes to the extreme left or right of the meter Bond falls off and dies.

Graphics and sound are amazing and add atmosphere, and many of the key characters look like their movie counterparts, be it Bond, M or even baddies like LeChiffre (one of the villains in Casino Royale). The gameplay is pretty good throughout, balancing what might otherwise have been a rudimentary shooter into something more involved and, more importantly, more like Bond.

Quibbles? It could be argued that the solo game isn't much longer than a COD game, but then if you're finding it too easy, set it to a more challenging difficulty setting! There are four to choose from, all readily available right from the beginning.

As I said, the first two levels or so are very COD-like, which nearly put me off until I got to levels where stealth played a part, and these are really worth the wait, because they add to the game.

I also would have preferred it if you could look down the sight of scoped guns from cover (when you look down the scope it usually automatically takes you out of cover); you never had that problem in GOW or RSV, so it's a bit of a shame that this is the case here (anyone who's played "Grand Theft Auto 4" and complained about this niggle will know exactly what I'm talking about). You also must come out of cover to climb over a low obstacle, which is annoying when in GOW you can do this directly from cover. And why, when you're crouched and taking cover, do you have to make yourself crouch again because otherwise you automatically stand up when leaving cover?

Another slight irritation is the choice of compass pointing your objectives out. Rather than go for the one that was in COD3 (a radar-style), they have opted for a COD4 flat compass-style, which has the same problem inasmuch as it does not go into enough detail about precisely where your objective is. You may be able to consult the map built into Bond's mobile phone (which I would have preferred if it focused more on Bond's location instead of that of your objective, although you can move it about with the left stick to find not only your location but those of enemies and CCTV cameras), but you shouldn't really feel impelled to do that just for this.

Online play (sadly online is the only way you can have multiplayer matches, which is a shame after COD3 and COD4 allowing up to four players split-screen) involves the usual free-for-all, team deathmatches and territory capture/guard modes (this latter one's not all that great, admittedly), but there are also some interesting ones such as one where one player controls Bond and the others have to try and kill him before he defuses two bombs littered around the map; in this one each player takes it in turns to be Bond and the one with the most points at the end wins. Another good one is one in which one team has a player randomly chosen to be Bond, and this player must get to an escape point without being killed to win the round. The Golden Gun also makes a return from its appearance in the N64 "Goldeneye" game in another mode!

Unlike COD4, where you have perks and unlock extra guns by getting a high-enough rank, here you get credits for every kill you make (amongst other actions, depending on the game mode), and these credits act as money that you can spend in the weapons store to either upgrade your existing weapons (such as with scopes or silencers), or to get new ones, as well as buy gadgets such as proximity mines, body armour and even the ability to automatically throw back enemy grenades while in cover (though there are many more).

The multiplayer mode does not quite have the slickness of COD4, and the cover system occasionally gets in a muddle, but it's different enough from COD4 while at the same time eerily familiar, and the maps are really good.

All in all, QOS is a triumph. Not only is it another licenced game that bucks the trend by not being a major screw-up, but is a faithful representation of what it feels like to be Daniel Craig's version of Bond. Enjoy!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Sep 2009 10:20:20 BDT
Mr. G. Moore says:
too log mate. trying to read this at work. like cheers and all but keep it short. i'll buy a mag if i want a full review.
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