007 Legends Review: Not How I Wanted To Celebrate 50 Years of James Bond
Playing On: PlayStation 3 (Also available on Xbox 360, Wii U, PC)
Game Type: Shooter
It’s the 50th anniversary of James Bond and 007 Legends is here to help celebrate by allowing us to live the legend. 007 Legends features missions from five previous Bond movies and will provide free downloadable content for Skyfall come mid-November. I must say, I was really looking forward to playing 007 Legends; I got caught up in the 50th anniversary hype. Plus, once I heard they were basing missions off of previous Bond movies – that was a big selling point for me. 007 Legends features missions from the movies Goldfinger, Moonraker, Die Another Day, License To Kill, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and of course the soon to be downloadable Skyfall.
My excitement about 007 Legends, however, was short lived. Diving into the game, I was quickly turned off by the experience. Goldfinger was the first movie that you would play and basically what the entire game does, is put you in the end sequences of each movie for you to fight your way to the bad guy and complete the mission. The missions are not exciting at all. You begin by facing-off with a hundred guards just to get to a deciding point, and it’s just not that fun. Basically, how it goes, shoot a hundred guards, use your phone to hack the computer, scan for other material at certain points in each movie campaign and then fight the bad guy in a very unsatisfying “boss battle.”
Maybe the developers were too focused on creating the background for each movie rather than giving us good gameplay, because, while each movie you play through is fun (it’s nice to see the recreation of the movie and those special characters), the gameplay is just not that good. To be honest, I hated pulling out my phone to hack and take photos, it was easy, but it felt like a waste of time. Not that I wanted to get involved into another firefight. To be honest, I was pretty much just cranky at the start of the game and certainly not satisfied. However, as I continued on, I did settle into the game and accept it for what it had to offer. By the way, each movie campaign is only 2 missions long and there is one that has three. On the hard difficulty level, it took me some time to get through some areas because of the relentless respawning out-of-nowhere enemies. Still, it took under an hour to complete each campaign, and if you were to play it on easy, I would imagine that it would take you a lot less time.
Thankfully, if you choose to do it, there is a lot more to the single player campaign that you might not complete the first time around, so you probably would find yourself going back through the levels in search of objects and also to complete certain trials. So, even though the missions are short, there is plenty to go back for if you choose to do so. Also, once you are done with the campaign, there is a challenge mode for you to play and while playing those missions you’ll earn a score that will be uploaded to online leaderboards. That also adds a little more to the rather short single player. Like I said, we still have Skyfall missions to come, but who knows how long those will be. There is also online multiplayer, but it was an incredibly lag filled experience during most games. Now, a week later, I can’t even find games to join.
The gameplay is where I was very disappointed. It’s a complete arcade shooter and that’s fine, but sometimes you may find yourself getting annoyed with putting half a clip into an enemy and having them still run away from you. Simple and probably obvious advice – shoot for the head! Arcade style shooters are fine, I like them and this does an ok job. However, playing out the missions and the firefights were just so completely unsatisfying. The game felt so very linier, shoot a ton of bad guys, get to an office and use your phone to find information and hack whatever database and then shoot your way to the boss guy and fight him in a totally boring joystick up and down battle. What I mean by thumb stick up and down is that when you fight in this game, you’ll be throwing a lot of punches and you do so by following the on screen instruction of which thumb stick to move up or down. Sometimes you’ll have to dodge by pressing L2 and R2, but wow, it was so disappointing. It was fun the first time, but when that’s what you do, over and over again, no thank you. At least there are some other final fights that play out better, including the final mission in Moonraker.
This is supposed to be James Bond and while the story, characters, and surroundings may be familiar, the game didn’t impress or give me much of a feeling that it was James Bond. There were only a couple of moments that stood out where it was a Bond moment, but there were no others. Like I said, it may look similar, but it’s lacking a good Bond feel for the player. I did appreciate the attempt in areas; I don’t want to completely sell out this game. I enjoyed skiing while shooting; I also enjoyed driving the car and firing missiles, but let me give you another example. The car chase in Die Another Day was fun, good to drive, but it’s a very short part of the game. Also, when you fire 10 missiles on the enemy car and it still doesn’t blow up, it feels kind of pointless. I know the laser is supposed to kill his vehicle, but what’s the point of being able to fire missiles on the car if it doesn’t do anything. I know they wanted to stick with the theme of the movies, but they could have enhanced the story just a bit to fit a video game and make it a lot more fun. At least give us multiple cars to blow up so we feel like we are firing missiles for some reason.
James Bond and arcade shooters can go really well together if done right. Unfortunately, this doesn’t play as great nor is it that fun outside of a few moments. Like I said, I appreciated the game a lot more as I got further along, but it’s still very far off from being a good game. Those who are Bond fans like I am will probably be able to appreciate it for what it offers and its playoff of the five classic movies, but don’t expect a great experience. Plus, one thing I must say, it can be pretty tough in areas, and if you are not careful and die, you will have to sit at a load screen for 30 seconds while it loads. Every time you need to restart, it takes 30 seconds on the load screen, it’s horrible. I can’t even remember the last time I dealt with loading times this bad. Visually the game isn’t anything to be impressed by either, though it does offer up some lovely Bond music.
007 Legends was a major disappointment for me, it does have moments you can enjoy, but more often than not you’ll get tired of the repetitiveness of another room to scan with your phone and more and more rooms full of bad guys to fight. You should want to engage into battle in order to complete your mission, not get tired of it. It does have moments where you can be stealth-like and moments where it is required and if you silently take down an enemy you will want to make sure no one see’s him and also shoot out a camera if one is nearby. Again, it has moments to appreciate, but it could have been executed so much better. I can go back to being hopeful that the Skyfall missions end up playing out a lot better. I will continue to hope that that is the case, but we’ll just have to wait and see.