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Review: '007 Legends' is a "SkyFail"

Gamers can join in the celebration of 50

Gamers can join in the celebration of 50 years of James Bond with the release of 007 Legends from Activision Publishing, Inc. Photo Credit: Eurocom

"...developers dropped the 'Thunderball' in making a proper game for James Bond."  - Warp Pipe

This past weekend was the beginning of a celebration looking back on half a century of all things shaken, not stirred. While those portraying Agent 007 have varied throughout 23 feature films, almost as many video games have attempted to place gamers in the shoes of England's most recognizable fictional character. '007 Legends' is indeed a first-of-its-kind James Bond experience but it falls short of legendary. From Warp Pipe with love, here's some of the reasons why it may not be worth hitting the start button on '007 Legends.'

Ignoring the fact that the James Bond franchise went through a reboot when Daniel Craig stepped in, reliving six Bond films in a video game is a great idea. However, the 007 flick list did not impress us. While 'Goldfinger' and 'License to Kill' are excellent choices, we were surprised to see 'Moonraker', 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' and 'Die Another Day'. The sixth film based mission, 'SkyFall', is now downloadable in association with the latest film's theatrical release. All of the missions had one thing in common; we never felt like we were playing as James Bond. Instead, we feel as if we were playing just another shooter game,

Yes, 'Goldeneye' for the Nintendo 64 pioneered today's first-person shooters but players need the freedom and versatility that comes with being a super agent.  A stealth mechanic is given to players but it pales in comparison to other stealth action games.  Security devices can be melted using Bond's wrist watch but bodies cannot be dragged out of sight after subdued. Tranquizer, shock and distraction darts are not distributed until later in the game, leaving James' best option his trigger finger.

Weapon drops vary little in variety, but try and grab a shotgun if you can.  We were able to one-shot kill enemies from well beyond range that your average shotty could reach.  Hacking mini-games did a decent job distracting us from the repetitive gun fighting and the limited spy tools, allowing us to detect fingerprints and offering a little bit of intelligence to the otherwise simple-minded gameplay. Switching between weapons and gadgets can seem like a brief guessing game. When we were instructed to follow characters, they just stood there until we moved to an unspecified area along their path. Hair pulling moments continue when the game prevents you from hitting a switch on a wall, like on the 'Moonraker' missions.

Faces are heavily detailed and the environments look pretty good overall. Many of the characters in '007 Legends' are modeled after the actors who played them in the film series. Daniel Craig's likeness, voiced by Timothy Watson, comes off robotic in tone while Toby Stephen's reprising of Gustav Graves from 'Die Another Day' is equally theatrical as was his on screen performance.  As for Hale Berry, her absence in the game made the list of things we are most thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

There is a multiplayer mode that featuers local four-player split-screen and single-player online matches that can host 12 players at a time. Though it builds off of other successful multiplayer FPS modes, '007 Legends' may not be able to elicit interest due to forthcoming releases of popular FPS franchises. A 'Challenges' mode is also avialable, but is only for those who want to get more replay value from the campaign missions.

'007 Legends'  is worth buying only for hardcore fans who may happen to own an XBOX 360, PS3, PC or Wii U.  We do recommend giving the game a try just to experience the jetpack shootout in 'Moonraker.' Laser guns in space are just so much fun that they will temporarily make you forget just how much the developers dropped the 'Thunderball' in making a proper game for James Bond.


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