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007 Legends

Release Date: 16 - 31 October 2012 (Xbox 360 and PS3) 2nd November 2012 (PC) 7th December (Wii U)

Console: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, Wii U

Starring: Timothy Watson as Daniel Craig in Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence To Kill, Die Another Day, Skyfall

Connery. Lazenby. Connery (again). Moore. Dalton. Brosnan. Connery (seriously mate …). Craig. Remember them? Only one played James Bond. There is literally no evidence of the first five of these people being 007. Let me just chuck these blu rays out of the window …

Yep, in 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of the first EON Produced film (Dr. No), the long discounted ‘James Bond is just a code name’ theory hated by all but casual fans and that one guy at university I lived with who thought he was a genius on everything reared its ugly head. In an official production.

It was a theory long discarded as utter rubbish and often in blunter terms by serious fans of the series such as perennial favourite Mark O’ Connell, James Bond Radio, numerous Bond savvy YouTubers such as Calvin M. Dyson (not the hoover guy) and myself in two dissertations.

It does this by presenting a wide variety of Bond movies as if they happened to the same person. Who is in his late 30s in both 1964 and 2012. It also doesn’t even get Daniel Craig’s voice, despite getting his likeness rights. But this is somewhat a metaphor for the game entirely.

Even Maggie Smith’s son should be ashamed

I have at times wondered ‘wouldn’t it be fun if first person shooters try fist fights too?’. Well apparently, the people behind 007 Legends heard me on that one. All I can say is sorry and it thankfully has not caught on in subsequent FPS games. It feels entirely like the programming level which goes into making a DVD menu. It has all the depth of a teaspoon. The punches and blocks are entirely telegraphed each and every time, eliminating the sense of any challenge. You are very aware you are merely waiting for your chance to punch the opponent.

It’s a double shame to big Bond fans such as myself, the chance to see new depictions of long departed actors such as Gertrude Frobe, Harold Sakate and Richard Kiel. But the fact it is in such an underwhelming feature of a painfully dull game means this is perhaps best left forgotten.

The levels rarely depart from the approach of a bit of sneaky Bond then one man army Bond wielding his machine gun of justice. Not only is this completely missing the mark that is understanding the character (usually by the width of your average planet). But also, it is so eminently skippable. If you play through one level, you have really just played them all. Fortunately, there are only six. Six levels which are boring even to a big Bond fan like me, so I really would not recommend these to basically anybody.

Overall, while it is a very valid criticism of my review here that if I were a bigger fan of the code name theory or the interpretation of James Bond which Mr. Craig portrays, I would perhaps enjoy this game more (it is telling my favourite of his outings is Casino Royale, he very much is James Bond and not the 007 we know until the close of the film). Also any best of pick of Bond films which includes Die Another Day has gone pretty badly wrong somewhere (a view vehemently held by many Bond fans and especially James Bond Radio host Tom. Me too.)

However, I accept that for Pierce Brosnan’s film pick, as the first three films were already adapted into games (two ok shooters and one which rivals Quake for its influence on console first person shooters) so it had to be Die Another Day. Even if it did nearly kill this majesty of a series.

‘Yeah, my agent made a mistake!’

Also making the character all Daniel Craig makes sense. New fans might be confused why level to level, Bond looks radically different otherwise. Also, good luck getting the six likeness rights and the right to portray them shooting people too. Goldeneye Nintendo 64 had that problem too, that is why all the file selects in that game bear the likeness of Mr. Brosnan. Originally, they were to be Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

Ultimately though, the game feels very much ‘Call of Duty made simplistic’. The graphics are nothing to write home about, the gameplay is uninspiring usually and only rarely achieves the heights of mediocrity. The sound design is average at best, and the fact a Bond film was in production at the same time (2012’s Skyfall, a film I salivate over, it is just so fun) but it’s star never lends his voice for whatever reason, is quite frankly an unpardonable sin. I mean, Rory Kineer does lend his dulcet tones to the character of Bond’s best friend Bill Tanner while he was also shooting that film. So I’m somewhat at a loss to explain this omission.

But frankly, many wouldn’t notice Kineer or Craig, and even if they both were in the game, it would not change this game from being painfully dull and making you wish there was another game being played at the time.

Also at the time of writing, in the nine years since this was released, no Bond console games have followed it. A possible game equivalent of the turd that is Die Another Day. Details are thin on the ground on the newest game, it doesn’t even have a name yet and is merely referred to as ‘IO Interactive’s Project 007’ but given it looks like it won’t repeat this game’s approach of Bond as a one man army, I will bet all the money in my pockets that it will put James Bond gaming back on the map.

Sorry to be so negative, the game is just very not good and as I said, only occasionally mange’s to get to the heights of average. It is a hard pass for me, as a gamer and a huge Bond fan. Possibly not so in my next review. No names yet, but it will still be in my 007 September Season and is just a bit better.

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