I was sitting at home playing 007 Legends when a friend stopped over to watch me shoot my way through one of the missions. I was ducking behind a car, trying to knock out an RPG nest, while indicators warned me that enemies were throwing grenades in my vicinity. “Is this Call of Duty?” I was asked, which really is a fair question.
Truth is 007 Legends is allegedly a James Bond title, though the game is little more than a poorly crafted military shooter. The cast from MI6 is thrown in here aimlessly, seemingly for no reason.
I'll concede to you that Legends isn't the worst shooter I've ever played. However, when I think of James Bond, I don't imagine him taking down machine gun emplacements, or leading an army of soldiers into battle. It's so inappropriate, so absolutely ridiculous, that it makes you wonder if this was ever intended to be a 007 title in the first place.
You play Bond throughout the game – at least that's the character's name. The suave spy is nowhere to be found, despite having the likeness of Daniel Craig. There are moments during missions where you do some spy related things, like search for evidence or hack into computers. The problem is that all of this involves a mini-game, and most of the time I felt like I was being taken hostage.
Cracking into a safe, looking for fingerprints, following a trail of gas – none of it is fun in the least. More than once I had to go up to a door panel, scan for fingerprints on the keypad, then slowly move Bond's finger over every single button, screwing up the code once or twice before, finally, the door would open. Additions like this don't change up the game at all and are merely a terrible aside from what is otherwise just a generic military shooter.
As you'd expect there is a stealth system in place; however, from the very first in-game tutorial it's obvious that the damn thing is completely broken. It may seem hyperbolic for me to say that Nintendo 64's Goldeneye was able to produce a more successful stealth game. Yet, despite what you'd expect, that statement is absolutely fact.
We're told to hide in shadows and use our silenced weapons to eliminate our enemies, but I recommend you just enter each level guns blazing. Your enemies will always see you, no matter how careful you are – every single time. Stealth areas will end with you taking cover, gunning down enemies that, just like Call of Duty, endlessly spawn until you advance to the next area. The amount of frustration I felt each time I'd try to hide a body, only to be seen by a guy across the map, was enough to make me need an extra beer or two, just to numb my brain enough to finish my mission.
The only redeeming feature is the multiplayer, which is just more of what we saw in Goldeneye Reloaded. There's nothing new in place here, but if you didn't play the multiplayer last time around, you'll probably like what you find. Online 12 players can shoot it out in multiple game modes, complete with lots of cool weapons and characters to chose from.
If you ask me, the real appeal of the multiplayer is the split-screen deathmatch. That great old feeling of sitting around with your friends, playing Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 can be resurrected in Legends. Sadly, this feature isn't enough to carry the game on its own.
On paper 007 Legends doesn't sound like a terrible idea, if the developer's could come up with a clever way to handle the presentation. 007 Legends combines each era of the Bond franchise together into one package: Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, License to Kill, and Die Another Day, with Skyfall to be added as free DLC. The game attempts to tie all these films together using a scene from Skyfall where Bond is shot from a train, and his life begins flashing before his eyes. It's actually fairly clever, though some animation, beyond Bond just floating in the water between each segment, would have been nice to see.
Only the loose plot elements from each of these Bond films makes it into Legends, and a whole lot of crap has been added in order to justify the shooter-heavy gameplay. To claim that Eurocom has taken some liberties with the Bond franchise would be a generous stretching of the truth. The reality is that they've turned classics like Goldfinger into just another crappie movie-to-game adaptation.
Small details that could have gone a long way in making this game more cohesive are absent, such as Daniel Craig's voice. Why make a big deal about revisiting classic Bond films with the latest star if you aren't even going to use his voice? It's ridiculous. The opening credits hide the fact that Craig is absent from the game, but anyone with ears will soon figure it out for themselves.
What's sad about 007 Legends is that the game had potential, but developer Eurocom squandered it all on what is just a poorly conceived, generic shooter. Fans of military FPSs can easily find something better to play than this rubbish, and fans of James Bond will be offended by nearly every aspect of Legends. The 007 video game franchise has had its ups and downs, but this very well could be the worst one yet.
This review is based on a retail copy of the 360 version of 007 Legends.