“LIVE THE LEGEND.”
Those are the words that are boldly printed across the back of the game case for Activision’s 007 Legends. Bond games are often their most enjoyable when taking place in memorable Bond settings. Who could forget the GoldenEye days of yore on the N64? Recently an attempt to recapture the flame was made in GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. Unfortunately, the fire that was kindled in Reloaded is somewhat dampened in this followup.
This Ain’t Your Dad’s Bond
If you were expectiving to relive classic Bond moments be prepared for a shock. Legends does not follow the actual storylines from any of the films covered in the missions. I wasn’t immediately offput by this and was actually intrigued to see where they would go with it. The problem is that the alternative storylines put in place are rushed and make some bizarre substitutions. For one ― why in the world is Halle Berry’s persona replaced by someone who looks, acts, and sounds completely different?
Graphics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The graphical presentation of Legends is pretty legit. Most of the locales are gorgeous and lovely to take in. What accompanies them however are the occasional annoying frame jitters. I also do not appreciate how some of the indoor environments are overly darkened in the name of stealth. I understand those shadows are in place to help me but more often than not they hinder my vision.
You Expect Me to Talk?
Voice acting in the game runs on the inconsistent side. Some performances really live up to their movie personas while others fall flat. Craig is not my favorite Bond to be perfectly honest but he does have his moments. Craig’s voice actor doesn’t even manage to channel those stronger performances. Thankfully, a good majority of the cast is reprised by the original actors which makes it a treat to hear them in action again.
Cloak and Dagger? Nuh Uh.
Stealth has sadly taken a backseat in this installation. In the name of increasing difficulty, the game has set up even more guards and chokepoints than that of Reloaded. Due to this, it is near impossible to achieve 100% stealth on most maps. You could diligently spend precious minutes taking out half a room of guards during the mission, only to have one simpleton discover the bodies a moment or so later. At least you do get to sneak in some espionage and gadget goodness into the missions. It would be even more enjoyable if those segments lasted longer.
The FPS aspect of Legends is actually quite enjoyable. Most of it was smooth and on-the-fly even in the most hellish of encounters (which make up the grand majority of the game). I really appreciated that you could add additional attachments to your weaponry such as laser sights, higher capacity magazines, or silencers. I just wish the multiplayer mode could mimic what works in the singleplayer. Most matches were laggy and I could not even pick up guns that were laying on the ground.
007 Legends is a decent effort at holding up the Bond mantle. The history of the saga has such a weight to it however that it manages to crush most video game translations of it. Hopefully the more redeemable components of this title will be salvaged and improved upon in future releases to come.