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Shaken and Stirred
Written by Jesse Seilhan
James Bond is one of the most beloved franchises in all of fiction, spawning a legion of diehard fans and sadly, only one classic videogame. Goldeneye for the Nintendo64 was almost more popular than any other title of its generation, creating a reason to skip school and shoot your friends for hours on end. Countless games have tried to follow-up on the success Rare’s title had, all failing to do so, mostly due to the fact that they were tied to a single movie. As the films started going downhill, so did the games, until Daniel Craig breathed some new life into Bond and a hope for a brilliant videogame along with it. With 007 Legends, Activision and MGM are hoping to capture nostalgia by not only giving gamers another solid Bond shooter, but by picking five classic movies for the hero to romp through. With the nearing release of Skyfall, potentially Bond’s final outing, this game is a sort of “make or break” for the franchise. Sadly, it breaks in almost every respect.
First off, you will be playing as Daniel Craig across all Bond movies, even those that came out before he was born. Secondly, you will be doing some cool spy stuff with cameras, explosive darts, hacking tool and the rest, but 99% of this game will be putting bullets into the head of your foe. You probably kill more people in the first mission than Bond has over his entire 50 year film career. Even worse, every single boss fight is a matter of moving the analog sticks either up or down to throw or dodge blows. Missions are broken down into stealth and action sequences, with the latter sometimes featuring some sort of vehicular chase. Both are straight-forward enough, but the part that should be amazing (the stealth sections) are by far the most frustrating. If you get caught or an alarm has been raised, there is no way to stop it and sometimes you have to reload a checkpoint. And since there is no way to hide bodies that you’ve quietly dispatched, there is little incentive to deal with them in such a way, other than to avoid the game’s simple and repetitive combat altogether.
In a redeeming twist, this game lives up to the now classic Goldeneye in one important aspect: the multi-player. Online gives players a whole new world to explore, with a dozen variants, 50 levels of XP gain, and customizable loadouts to tailor your Bond experience. Games are fast and fun, with the various gametypes allowing players to take control over heroes and villains from across the franchise. As much fun as the online deathmatches are, a lack of a real single-player ending is the most criminal offense. The game asks players to suspend disbelief and trust that Daniel Craig was involved in all of this insanity and then presents the player with a “Free DLC next month!” screen instead of any sort of FMV or even a text-wall of resolution. So does this mean that the game was to be released alongside the film and the true ending sits behind that final level, or, even worse, does this package literally not have a narrative? Either way, the answer is ugly. Throw in sluggish load times and imbecilic A.I. and you have one of the biggest flops of the year. Unless you really loved your time with Goldeneye and are willing to look past all of these issues for a new multiplayer experience, spend your money on the new movie instead.
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