With the 50th anniversary of James Bond this year, Eurocom and Activision released 007 Legends. Taking a cue from Goldeneye Reloaded, 007 Legends brings 5 classic Bond films to the gaming world. Those films being Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day and Moonraker. A 6th film is also in the works via DLC, which is set to be Skyfall. The Skyfall DLC however, won’t be released until mid-November. One key aspect that Bond fans will immediately notice, is that Eurocom took one film from each Bond actor. Sadly though, instead of being portrayed by their respective actors, they are all portrayed by a 3D model of Daniel Craig. While I am a huge fan of Craig’s Bond, not everybody seems to agree and it is incredibly odd to see Craig in the place of Sean Connery during the iconic scene in Goldfinger.
As stated before, 007 Legends brings the classic films together on one disc, however this is where the game ultimately fails. Legends fails to string all the films stories together into one cohesive arc, but rather juggles them around in a huge mess. The story begins with the beginning of Skyfall (which is noted from the trailers) with Bond being in a botched mission that goes straight to hell. With Bond barely clinging to life, he begins to remember his past missions in a rather strange way. There really is no rhyme or reason as to which film goes next in the story, especially when players are literally thrown into each film. Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are the only two missions that start at the beginning of the film. The other three, start right before the climactic third acts which leaves players in confusion as they try to pick up the pieces of the so called story.
The campaign will only last you around 5-6 hours on average. Each film is broken down by 2 or 3 missions, with about 30 minutes of playtime in each mission. The missions follow an incredibly linear path, with no encouragement for exploration or separate paths. There is a rather sad attempt at exploration, when the game pushes you to find dossiers on each villain in order to unlock them for multiplayer use. I found myself being pushed forward through the level without any say in the matter as I was trying to find the extras splattered though the rather boring level design. Each corridor and wrap around staircase looked exactly the same as the one I trekked through 5 minutes ago. This is where the game sets itself apart from Goldeneye Reloaded, a game which encouraged taking multiple paths.
The gameplay itself is, at best, boring and not very new. The pace of gunplay is set between the dry staleness of Quantum of Solace and the exciting quickness of Goldeneye Reloaded. At times, I swore I was playing Call of Duty 4 and not a James Bond game. Enemies even had the same run and gun animations from CoD4. Enemies felt similar right down to infinite spawning and literally appearing out of thin air just to spite me. The cover system was also incredibly broken and the only purpose it served was to get in Bond’s pathway. There were times where I was hugging cover and somehow enemies were still able to shoot right through metal and kill me. The health of enemies was also incredibly inconsistent at times. Guards with body armor took two shots of my PPK to take down, but guards with a simple t-shirt on took three close range shotgun shells to take down. This became rather annoying and only added to the laundry list of problems that somehow made a Bond game boring.
The “stealth” mechanic this time around seems non-existent and crudely made. There were times where stealth was kind of encouraged but not really so. Characters would specifically tell Bond that stealth is critical to the mission, yet I would somehow get caught by means out of my control and all hell broke loose. Once I took care of every guard (with way too many bodies spread across the floor mind you), I started to realize that there was no penalty for not taking the stealth route. In Goldeneye Reloaded, if players didn’t take the stealth route, doors would go into lockdown and almost every enemy left in the level would be twice as aware. This time around, they just send every guard in the level at you should you fail, leaving little to no guards left for the rest of the level. There were about two or three parts of the game where there were critical stealth areas in which the mission would fail if you were seen, which took way longer than expected with a mechanic that straight up doesn’t work.
One of the fun things I can say about 007 Legends, is something that shouldn’t be fun. I spent most of gameplay running straight up to guards and seeing Bond punch them out in the same stale animation. For some reason, that proved more satisfying than simply shooting them over and over until they died. Mainly because the melee attacks were always an instant kill. One key thing they added to Legends, however, was a new Punch-Out! style of combat. Certain enemies would attack Bond which would prompt the said quick-time event. This would be fun if the game didn’t throw this at you every single level. I swear, every villain or his right hand man was taken care of with this mechanic. It proved (again) to be rather boring, as the game held my hand every single time. It would prompt me to push a certain direction on the stick to deal damage every single time I had one of these fights, which takes away from the challenge of it and the game in general.
Along with the rather short and boring campaign, several challenge maps were added, much like Goldeneye Reloaded. The challenge maps implement several different elements of gameplay per level. Either escaping via stealth or guns blazing, defending a certain area within the allotted time or simply eliminating every enemy on the map. However, the same elements that made the campaign boring, are only amplified here, and the mode isn’t worth the time and effort to even try to complete. The only fun addition to both the challenge maps and campaign were the XP Goals. The XP Goals reward you for killing enemies with certain weapons or certain equipment, which made me spice up the variety in terms of gunplay. The XP can then be used to buy upgrades for weapons or gadgets and even buy training modules that support Bond through the missions. If one element can be taken from 007 Legends and added to future Bond games, it should be this one.
Also returning from Goldeneye Reloaded, is the fan favorite online and split screen multiplayer. Every game mode from Reloaded returns, in addition to a few minuscule ones exclusive to Legends. There are a good variety of maps taken straight from the campaign and actually help the multiplayer be just a bit more fun. Players can level up to 50 and unlock customization weapons, equipment, etc. along the way. Again, similar to Call of Duty 4, players can also prestige and reset their levels if they choose to do so. Once I found a match, multiplayer was an absolute blast to play. However, I don’t see this game’s online life span being very long. Sadly, I had more fun playing 30 minutes of multiplayer than 6 hours of the campaign.
One tiny plus from 007 Legends, was seeing all the classic villains and Bond girls again. Most characters had the likeness of their original actors, but sadly most of the original actors did not return to voice them again. Daniel Craig, was also not providing the voice of Bond, which felt strange at times. I couldn’t tell if this voice actor was trying to imitate either Craig or Timothy Dalton, especially during key scenes in the License to Kill missions. The initial aspect of 007 Legends was to be a celebration of James Bond’s classic moments, but the game failed to capture them. Rather than being exciting and fun, these key moments tend to be rather boring and leave players wanting more. Especially the ending of the game, as it leaves players hanging on a thread. In order to experience the full ending, players have to wait until the Skyfall DLC is released later in November, which sadly alienates fans who don’t have internet connections set up to their consoles.
In the end, 007 Legends is a sad cash in attempt to capitalize on James Bond fans. The game felt rushed and incredibly incomplete, with glitches and hiccups galore. Legends had a deadline of being released sometime this year for the release of Bond’s 50th anniversary. If the game had more time to be polished and had a longer length, the game could have been a lot better. 007 Legends had great potential, but couldn’t live up to the legacy of past Bond games. There is some small fun to be had with this game, but only if one shies away from the campaign and sticks solely to online play. 007 Legends needs it’s license to kill, revoked.
I gave 007 Legends a 2/5.