Console: Xbox 360
Reviewer: Jon

Pros

* Some of the best Bond moments in history make an appearance

* Multiplayer provides the player with a lot of options, customization and does a great job of creating an addictive experience

* MI6 Challenges returns from Goldeneye: Reloaded

Cons

* First impressions of 007 Legends felt very mediocre

* Presentation is very inconsistent

* Boss Fights become very repetitive and lack challenge

It’s that time again….. another James Bond game has hit the shelves.  After a stellar effort with Goldeneye: Reloaded I was very excited to give 007 Legends a try.  Taking advantage of the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise, this release looks to include some of the great moments in Bond history.  Picture this one as a “Best Of” kind of product.  Including levels inspired by GoldfingerOn Her Majesty’s Secret ServiceMoonrakerLicence to Kill, Die Another Day, and the “I can’t wait to see Daniel Craig kick more ass as James Bond Feature” Skyfall.  How exactly does Eurocom pull this one off?  Does 007 Legends live up to its predecessor?  Grab a Martini, Pull up a chair and Let’s take a look…..

Presentation: C

Given the above statement, I was really looking forward to diving head first into this game.  I expected to be launched into a digital recreation of one of the greatest franchises ever to hit the big screen.  The fanfare, the iconic barrel intro, the explosive opening sequence that starts a path into the next greatest espionage action adventure.  These are the things that we all come to expect from a James Bond adventure.  Unfortunately 007 Legends fails to deliver on a few of these aspects.  My heart took a hit when ( in the opening cut scene ), I was treated with perhaps the ugliest looking car model I have seen this generation of gaming.  Maybe that statement is a tad harsh, but it really caught me off guard.  The very first thing I got to see was a car that looked like my 3 Year Old Son built out of Mega Blocks?  “Was I in for a long ride?”  After a dreadful opening scene that led to Bond’s life flashing before his eyes, we start to jump into levels based on the classic films.  Yes….simple enough, but it works.

The first film that we are thrown into is Goldfinger.  There were aspects of this level that I hard time understanding.  Aiming down the sight of rifle, I couldn’t help but notice a slight blur to some of the distance areas.  I’m unsure if this was intentional, but it was definitely distracting.  Character models looked mediocre and my arsenal of weapons tended to sound like they were ported from the previous generation.   On the bright side, there were a few memorable moments that mirrored the film’s plot including having a laser threaten to perform an execution that would have made Kung Lao from Mortal Kombat II proud.  Needless to say, my first session failed to impress.

Was this game really going to be a disaster from start to finish?  Anyone scouring the internet for reviews on 007 Legends could tell you, this wasn’t impressing my fellow Journalists.  But of course, I can’t very well do a review off of the first level alone.  What was my next course of action?  I put the game into perspective and dove back in.  This is where things turned around for me. 

After my previous play through of Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was up next.  Thankfully, I was thrown into perhaps one of the best Snowmobile sequences I have ever played in a First Person Shooter.  It wasn’t revolutionary, I didn’t have complete freedom, but the level was challenging enough while providing a great deal of intensity that made me excited to give this title another chance.

Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, 007 Legends slowly started to gain my appreciation.  This wasn’t a major blockbuster like Call of Duty, I wasn’t blown away with texture quality or production values, but there is a fair amount of solid gameplay to be had here.  One thing that really surprised me however, was the broad range of visual quality.  One minute you find yourself complaining about the way a car looks, another you are mesmerized over the way water puddles on the floor when a set of sprinklers are going haywire.  The soundtrack is about what you expect and serves it’s purpose well.  Seeing some of the iconic characters like Franz Sanchez, or Auric Goldfinger make appearances throughout the campaign really is entertaining.   

Single Player: B

Facing the fact that I wasn’t playing the next game of the year, is really what saved the experience.  The bottom line is that the gunplay in 007 Legends is actually really fun.  Weapons feel great to shoot and every gun you pick up feels unique.  They don’t come close to the audio fidelity of weapons from Battlefield 3, but they do have weight to them and taking out large amounts of enemies never seems to get old.  Want to slap the “Call of Duty Clone” label on this one when discussing the gunplay mechanics?  What is so wrong about that?  We should only be so lucky, Call of Duty is the premiere shooter of this generation and I am happy to see any game take influence. 

With great shooting mechanics, the next note worthy mix to the gameplay is the mini-games.  Becoming James Bond not only requires one to have exceptional marksman skills, but to possess top of the line gadgets that always seem to be just the right things needed to get the job done.  Wifi Hacking, Fingerprint Scanning, and Safe Cracking all feature mini games to progress and I always enjoyed the implementation of these mechanics.  There is something about looking through a filter on your smart phone camera to see which numbers on a keypad have been touched and being able to determine what order the password should be entered that just screams Bond.  These elements are brief, but are included throughout the campaign giving a small sense of variety.

Stealth mechanics are present in certain areas, and some of which require you to proceed without setting off alarms.  This is the standard use of stealth, including being able to subdue an enemy from behind, using your tranquilizer pen, or causing distractions enabling you to slip by undetected.  This doesn’t become nearly as complex as Deus Ex, Splinter Cell, or Metal Gear Solid, but the option to play through an area without jumping out guns blazing is greatly appreciated.   

Driving segments are included, but feel somewhat like a missed opportunity.  Aside from the stellar snowmobile sequence I mentioned earlier, the rest of the vehicle levels encountered are basic and only feel included to progress the plot.  Having said that, it never really hurts the experience and what kind of James Bond game would not include driving sequences.  Another awkward mechanic introduced in this entry is the Quicktime boss sequences.  Goldeneye: Reloaded featured Quicktime events, but they seemed to have been done correctly and most importantly stayed exciting.  (At least from a cinematic point of view)  007 Legends simply defaults to hand to hand battles that require you to use the analog sticks in a boring Quicktime fashion.  These moments feel slightly more realistic than epic gun battles, but overall feel bland and repetitive. 

The MI6 Challenge levels are pretty much identical to Goldeneye: Reloaded.  Aside from new levels, the overall presentation and mechanics stay the same.  You can read more about what this mode has to offer in our Goldeneye: Reloaded Review.  This fun arcade style mode serves to introduce a break from the structured format of the campaign, and is a welcome to anyone looking to just hop in and take out some bad guys.

Multiplayer: A

The Multiplayer mode included is just as expansive as Goldeneye: Reloaded and features a ton of replay value.  Since the gunplay mirrors that of Call of Duty, the experience feels pretty solid throughout.  Loadouts, Perks, XP, Gadgets, not to mention the game features its own Prestige like mechanic, there is truly nothing to complain about when it comes to the Multiplayer.  With the ability to include 12 players in a match online or 4 player split screen offline, 007 Legends Multiplayer is likely to bring hours of enjoyment to anyone looking for a break from some of the more popular shooters on the market. 

The MI6 Challenges feature leaderboards to compete with your friends adding another small option for players to demonstrate their competitive nature.   

Replay Value: B

Face it, there is a ton of options in this game.  With the Single player Campaign, Multiplayer Experience and MI6 Challenges there is plenty here to do.  Yes this game has its faults, Yes the Campaign is presented in a fragmented form and fails to feature a proper ending.  (This is due to the Skyfall portion of the campaign being released November 9th via Free DLC)  But gameplay is truly where the heart of any video game thrives.  While this isn’t an experience that will revolutionize the industry, taken at face value this can be a fun experience. 

Bond fans will enjoy seeing moments inspired from these films come to life in digital form.  While they are fragmented moments that cast Daniel Craig and seemed to be updated for modern technology, I enjoyed seeing homages to some of my favorite moments.  If you take this game at face value and are looking for a fun shooter with a large amount of replay value, you should give this one a shot.

————

OVERALL: B-

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