James Bond should be the perfect gaming protagonist. He’s a gun-slinging action hero, with a pre-built character who can do plenty more than just run and gun. He can visit casinos, drink Martinis, get off with women and drive bombastically fancy cars.
Unfortunately, in the many iterations of Britain’s top secret agent, he never seems to be done quite right. Don’t get me wrong, GoldenEye defined first person shooting and Everything or Nothing almost got the feel of Bond, but more often than not it all goes a bit pear shaped. So arrives 007 Legends, a game that falls at the first hurdle of making a Bond game: it doesn’t make you feel like you are playing him.
The concept of the game is a strong one; it takes the Skyfall era Bond and leads him back through many of his “previous” missions. Being able to play as Craig through On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and Die Another Day is an exciting prospect. Then you quickly realise this makes no sense as Daniel Craig’s Bond is supposed to be a young one who is yet to tussle with Goldfinger or Jaws. This could have been forgiven had they stayed loyal to the original films. Of course, this was a fools hope; the game brings in modern gadgetry, including a pimped out smart phone and a radar wristwatch – this not only isn’t loyal to the original source material but isn’t even loyal to the Craig era Bond films, which shun fancy gadgetry for a more edgy tone.
This issue is compounded by the gameplay itself. The game plays like a cheap COD knock-off, with regenerating health, shakey-cam aiming and pretty much identical controls. This isn’t what Bond is about: he has far more class than that and laughs in the face of cover based shooting. This all goes along with graphics that look like they haven’t changed one jot since GoldenEye.
Bond could be the subject of a gaming masterpiece, but it is not this game. Bond is portrayed with a lack of grace, consideration or tone. This neuters the character and in turn the game. I don’t expect this game to explain itself, I expect it to die.