One of the gifts I got from Christmas, from a good friend, was 007 Legends. Although I was planning on getting the game when it was on sale for 19.99 or less, used somewhere, I was happy to accept it for free. After all, it was a Bond game, and I could probably at least a small amount of joy in it, right? Right?
The game begins with scene from the opening of Skyfall, with Eve accidentally shooting Bond off of a moving train, instead of Patrice, her intended target. Bond falls off of the train and bridge, landing in a waterfall directly underneath. While unconscious and underwater, Bond has a flashbacks to previous missiona. The game’s missions features adaptations of movies from each Bond actor’s era, rewritten to take place in modern day (specifically, after Quantum of Solace but before Skyfall).
The game features five missions (and one DLC mission, released after the game’s launch). The first mission in Goldfinger, from the Sean Connery era. Bond must stop Auric Goldfinger from destroying the USA’s gold supply at Fort Knox. The second mission is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, from George Lazenby’s brief run as 007. Bond must stop Ernst Stavro Blofeld from poisoning the world’s supply of food (via hypnotized women at a health clinic), and save Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo. The third mission is Licence to Kill, from the Timothy Dalton era, which features Bond avenging the crippling of his best friend, Felix Leiter, and the rape and murder of his newly wed wife, Delia, by going up against a drug lord, Franz Sanchez. The fourth mission is based of Die Another Day, the last movie of the Pierce Brosnan era. Bond is out to stop Gustav Graves from invading South Korea, and reuniting North and South by destroying the demilitarized zone with a satellite death beam. The fifth mission (and final on the disc at launch) is Moonraker, from the Roger Moore era, where Bond must go into space to stop Hugo Drax from killing off the human race on Earth, and repopulating it with a “perfect race”, developed in space.
*Spoiler alert start*
After completing these “flashback missions”, the sixth and final mission is Skyfall, the latest Bond film. However, the game ends abruptly, with Bond facing off with Patrice in Shanghai. Bond ultimately eliminates Patrice, forgives M for ordering out the shot at the beginning of the game (which by the way, is the exact opposite of how Bond reacted in the actual film), and then precedes to get another mission, instead of going to Macau, and following the rest of the plot of the film.
*Spoiler alert end*
Overall, the game proves to be quite disappointing and frustrating. IGN described the game as: “drowning out the Bond series’ iconic moments by shoehorning them into a cheap and poorly-made Call of Duty clone”. I have to agree with this description. 007 Legends plays like your average COD game, only worse. The stealth system is complete garbage, basically guaranteeing that you’ll get caught by guards, and forced into yet another lengthy shoot out. The crappy stealth system also proves challenging in parts of the game that require you remain undetected. The gadget mini-games become very one dimensional quickly, especially when you have to do them several times in the game, with little to no change in their game play. What’s worse is that the game sometimes forces you to use gadgets to hack a computer or door, in the MIDDLE of a shoot out, making you basically and sitting duck for NPC abuse. The few moments that had the potential of being awesome, like the Fort Knox raid in the Goldfinger mission, battle at Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Aston Martin “Vanish” car chase of Die Another Day, and the space station battle in Moonraker, are quickly ruined with run ins with overpowered NPCs, complicated multitasking between gadget mini-games and eliminating enemies, or other goofiness. It’s also important to note there are minor programming errors bugs that occasionally cause a key cut-scene to not happen, or a checkpoint not to be loaded. These bugs are minimal and do not prevent you from completing the game, but do detract further from the already mediocre game play.
The storyline of the game is nothing spectacular either. The missions of the game have little to no connection at all, and there is little transitioning from mission to mission. The dialogue is pretty much verbatim from each film, with minor differences. In fact, Bond misses two perfectly good opportunities to say “Bond, James Bond”, to the point where it seems like the must have had a brain aneurysm or something while writing that particular scene’s dialogue. The game actually has no real ending, DLC or not. The Moonraker mission does not actually contain the original film’s ending, and the Skyfall mission does not contain the plot of the entire movie, nor it’s ending. The voice acting also did not seem very passionate or well directed either. For starts, although Daniel Craig’s likeness is used in the game, he does not voice Bond. Instead, a sound-a-like fills in for Daniel Craig. The voice acting, although not as bad as the early Pierce Brosnan games with a sound-a-like, is still noticeably off. Some actors (like Carey Lowell, Toby Stephens, and Rick Yune) returned to voice their roles and provide their likenesses, some characters (like Auric Goldfinger, Tracy Draco, or Franz Sanchez) retain their likeness, but feature different voices, and some characters have entirely new likenesses, like Jinx, who is now Hispanic, as opposed to African American, like in the film. In general, a lot of the voice acting feels bland, and it gets repetitive when characters like Pam or Dr. Goodhead are shouting the same lines over and over again.
Another issue I had with the game was its music. David Arnold, frequent composer of Bond scores since Tomorrow Never Dies, did not score the game’s soundtrack. The soundtrack, while incorporating elements of each of adapted Bond movies, seems rather lacklustre. Furthermore, the game also recycles music from a previous Bond game, Blood Stone. For a game that is suppose to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond, the score felt like a missed opportunity. Also, since the Skyfall mission was developed before the release of the film, the game does not have any music from or inspired by Skyfall either. Music from Die Another Day, recomposed, appears during the motorcycle chase of the last mission, for example.
In closing, 007 Legends is a rather mediocre, if not terrible game. While I wouldn’t call it the worst James Bond video game (other games like Tomorrow Never Dies, or the pre-Goldeneye 64 games are much worse), it is by far the most disappointing Bond game so far. It’s a shame, on the 50th anniversary of James Bond, and with the absolute success of Skyfall, that 007 Legends turned out so awful. Oh well, Eurocom paid the price for it’s rushed work. Now, I pray that Activision learns from this failure, and that they hopefully sell the Bond license to another, more suitable game company, or at least one that cares about the franchise. If you have any interest in this game, hold off for when it goes on clearance or less than 20 bucks, otherwise, it ain’t worth it.