Tag Archive: james bond

Operation Game Slam

He is the world’s most notorious super spy. Men want to be him and women want to be with him. And after 50 years of books, movies, and games being set in his universe, the folks at Activision and Eurocom thought they should get in on his golden anniversary by giving us a game that lets us relive some of his greatest adventures while also setting up his upcoming movie romp, Skyfall.

Starting with Goldfinger and working its way through On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day, and finally Moonraker, the game gives us a brief glimpse at definitive movies of all the men to have played Bond before current actor Daniel Craig. Somewhere along the lines though, someone decided to remove the classic actors from these great movies and insert Craig’s likeness with a pitiful replacement voice in their place as the developers tried to tie together a very loose narrative about Bond’s history.

And unless you are the most diehard of Bond fans you may have trouble understanding just what is going on around you as this plot fails to set any sort of a stage around you. If you’ve never seen Goldfinger, you might miss out on why Auric Goldfinger, originally played by Gert Frobe and whose likeness returns from the grave, but his voice is done by the same shmuck who replaces Daniel Craig’s, wants to irradiate the USA’s supply of gold at Fort Knox. Or just who exactly is Ernst Starvro Blofeld as SPECTRE is never even mentioned throughout the entirety of the On Her Majesty’s Secret Service missions or why Theresa Draco is so damn important to James.

However, there is a perfectly logical reason why it may be easy for you to miss these important plot details. You’ll be too busy writhing in pain as you try to look past the last generation quality visuals to pay any attention to the actual dialogue. Although many of the environments have been re-imagined in order to better suit a modern vibe, the lack of detail in many instances makes the levels feel like lifeless, bland looking shells. When you combine this with some of the worst ragdoll physics I’ve ever seen in a first-person shooter and quite honestly it doesn’t even look like Eurocom tried to do Bond justice.

But even worse than poor visuals and story is that the game play is damn near atrocious. Exceedingly boring and mundane, you might wish you could turn your Walther P99 back on your own head at points. The boss battles have been trivialized into sloppy quicktime events, the stealth aspects are pitifully frustrating as you can’t even drag dead bodies into corners and are far too often discovered for it, and the guns are poorly balanced where it often takes as many as seven bullets to the torso to down enemies who are not wearing any sort of body armor.

And aside from poor visuals, game play, and plot, the game is also ridiculously short. The entire single player campaign is only five to six hours long as there are only so many scenes you can take from each movie and turn into a video game level. And even with the promised free Skyfall missions DLC, I don’t see them adding enough value nearly a month after the game’s release to be worth a $60 purchase. With Activision’s history of spoiling movies though in their games (see The Amazing Spider-Man game from earlier in the summer), it’s surprising they didn’t just include the levels with the disc anyway, or wait to release the disc for another few weeks.

There are a few aspects of the game that weren’t complete wastes of time however. The challenges mode, giving you special objectives and win conditions for most of the single player game’s levels, offered some difficulty and replay value as the levels were too boring on their own for the most part. Also, the versus multiplayer and its corresponding modes, although they were a carbon copy of last year’s Goldeneye 007: Reloaded with just the current game’s character skins, worked well enough. The remixed music of the classic movie themes was also well done, but the complete absence of the classic James Bond theme is unforgivable.

All in all, there is nothing legendary about 007 Legends. In fact, it doesn’t even quantify itself as average. If you are a James Bond fan and are thinking about getting this game, you should just re-watch the corresponding movies instead. You’ll get far more enjoyment from them and they will also take up far more of your time.

SUMMARY: For something that was supposed to celebrate 50 years of the world’s favorite super spy, it sure seemed more like a slap in the face. Poor visuals, bland game play, and a generic multiplayer seem to have become the gaming standard for 007 with Legends just being the latest example.

  • THE GOOD: Bringing together great moments from Bond history on one disc
  • THE BAD: Looking like an N64 game while doing it
  • THE UGLY: The voice actor playing Gert Frobe in the Goldfinger missions

SCORE: 3.0

007 Legends is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.   

Nobody does it better…

THE BUZZ: After much time spent in limbo, the 23rd installment of the James Bond movie franchise has been given an official title and American release date. Fitting that it would come the same week as the release of Goldeneye: Reloaded for Xbox 360 and PS3, the new Bond movie is titled ‘Skyfall’ and will once again star Daniel Craig.

At the London press conference this morning, director Sam Mendes and producer Michael G. Wilson were both on hand to answer questions, but only revealed what they wished to at this time. One tidbit they let loose with though was they were aiming for a November 7th, 2012, release here in the States (although it may actually be November 9th since that’s a Friday), and likely two weeks earlier in England (it is where Bond is from after all). Wilson also scoffed at rumors that were circulating that they were cutting the budget, saying they would be “in the same budget range as the last film”, which was $230 million.

In terms of plot, the only bit of information that was revealed was that a ghost from M’s past will come back to haunt her, attack MI6 directly, and that Bond must quell this threat to national security and that he would likely travel to at least Istanbul and China to do that. Producer Barbara Broccoli, who basically inherited the franchise from her world renowned father and producer of many of the original Bond films, Albert Broccoli, also mentioned that ‘Skyfall’ would be a stand alone movie and not tie-in as much to the first two Daniel Craig films. She also mentioned she wasn’t thrilled with the title and that she would like to see Craig do a fourth Bond film after ‘Skyfall’ if he was up to it.

The biggest surprise to come from the event though may be the reveal of relatively unknown French actress Berenice Marlohe as the newest Bond girl. Along with this Javier Bardem was confirmed as the main villain, but what his name or connection to Bond, M, and MI6 is, is still unknown at this time. Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, and Naomie Harris were also confirmed to have roles in the film.

EGM’S TAKE: I cannot wait to see this new Bond movie and what it is all about. It will also be interesting to see if there is a corresponding game to go along with it. As for Barbara Broccoli wanting Craig to do a fourth Bond film, I think we should worry about getting his third in the can first. And as for the new Bond girl, well, she at least has the figure for it, that’s for sure.

What do you folks think? Are you excited for a new James Bond movie? Are you fans of the James Bond films and which is your favorite? Who is your favorite actor to have played Bond? Where does Daniel Craig stand on the Bond actor list? Who is your favorite Bond girl?

Originally Published: November 20, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, Derek and I reviewed the multiplayer experience on Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo Wii.

Originally Published: November 20, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed the Limited Edition Goldeneye 007 Wii Classic Controller.

Originally Published: November 19, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed the latest original video game chapter of James Bond. This time, we looked at Blood Stone, starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Joss Stone.

Originally Published: October 22, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com and NationalLampoon.com

At NYCC 2010, I had a chance to talk to Activision/Bizarre Creations’ Sandy Lockie about the new James Bond game, Blood Stone, coming out in November.

Originally Published: October 22, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com and NationalLampoon.com

At NYCC 2010, I had a chance to talk to Graham Hagmaier about the Goldeneye remake coming out later this year.

Originally Published: October 19, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed Quantum of Solace 007 for the Xbox 360.

Double Review for Double 0-7

Originally Published: November 16, 2008, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

With the release of the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, I’ve decided to review not only the movie, but the video game as well. We’ll begin with the movie.

Many people were worried that the series was on its last legs after the egg that Die Another Day laid and the lack of action in Casino Royale , but Quantum of Solace proves that Casino Royale was simply setting the stage for something much bigger and better than we could have hoped for. Quantum of Solace slams you against the back of your seat from the very get-go with its fast-paced, action-packed, sequences and a plot deeper than the Atlantic Ocean.

The movie picks up right where Casino Royale left off with Bond transporting “Mr. White” to a MI-6 safe house for interrogation. This also marks the first time in the series that a Bond movie picks up so closely on the heels of the previous movie, helping with the continuity of the story and insinuating that, if you didn’t get the feeling from Casino Royale, this isn’t your daddy’s James Bond.

Once the interrogation starts, you find out quickly that Mr. White and his unknown organization have people everywhere, as demonstrated by one of MI-6’s agents going rouge and freeing Mr. White. Thus begins another action packed chase sequence on the roofs of Siena, Italy.

I won’t give away any more of the plot except that Bond will find himself unable to trust anyone as it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe from the reach of this mystery organization and Bond will have to go rogue to get to the bottom of how far this mystery organization’s reach is. Along the way, he will question himself as he realizes that many of whom he holds near and dear begin to suffer in the wake of his path of destruction as he travels across oceans to corner solid leads and stop a diabolical plot or two along the way.

Bottom line is that this was an awesome Bond movie and it will rejuvenate the series. With the continuation of the story directly from movie to movie, it’s easier to follow the characters and their changes and really get engrossed in the mythos. Everyone gives great performances and Daniel Craig really puts his own touch on Bond by acting so blatantly defiant at times that it’s almost funny while still being a bad ass.

The plot and action sequences were really well thought out, played beautifully on the screen, and will keep your attention for the entire 1 hour and 45 minutes to the point you’ll be asking for more. Add in classic elements like tons of beautiful women with some…interesting character names like Miss Strawberry Fields and you’ll really enjoy the experience.

There were only two things with the movie that bothered me. The first was in some scenes, you could tell that someone wasn’t watching the continuity as certain characters were out of place from cut to cut and it didn’t make sense. To the untrained eye it could probably get by, but for someone like me, it got under my skin a little.

The other thing was that this movie basically confirms the cutting of “Q Branch”, the R&D gurus who outfitted Bond with his many wonderful gadgets. Although there was some cutting edge tech, there was nothing so outlandish like a grenade-pen or tracking beacons in his shoes. The most extensive piece of tech for Bond was his cell phone, which really helps solidify the new, more realistic, direction the Bond movies are going in. I miss John Cleese though. Aside from these minor complaints, never mind one of the better Bond movies, this was one of the straight up better action movies I’ve seen in a long time.

Quantum of Solace gets a solid 4.5 out of 5.

Moving from the theatre to the home, I picked up the Quantum of Solace video game, looking forward to boat, plane, and car chases across three continents and more chase scenes on foot than I could shake my controller at. Unlike the movie though, the game fails to deliver on many accounts.

Although the levels based on the movie are well thought out and stealth is highly encouraged, there were no vehicle chase scenes to speak of and this really took away from the length of the game. In order to compensate, they flashed back to Casino Royale and had half the game revolve around these flashbacks.

Now, these levels were enjoyable, but the fact that they felt they needed to virtually include both movies in the game to make this worthwhile simply speaks to the fact that there probably wasn’t enough here to make a game with to begin with and that disappointed me because from watching the movie there was, which means the developers got lazy.

Now, in fairness, all James Bond games will be compared to the smash hit, Goldeneye, from the N64. One of the things from that game was that the gameplay came straight out of the movie to the point that you had the entire plot without even having to see the movie. This game changed a few things around; some were good, some not so much.

One of the good things was that it explained the situations a lot more thoroughly so that you had a better understanding. Example, the chase scene in Siena, Italy. The scene takes place on the day of the Polio, one of the most famous horse races in the world held in the town square. If you are unfamiliar with Italian traditions though, you might be a little confused watching a horse race in a town square while watching the movie, whereas it is explained in great detail in the game.

Another good thing was that enemy physics system. Enemies falling down when you shot them in the legs, but not necessarily passing away, or falling over a hand rail into boxes below if their momentum was taking them towards the rail were nice touches. This gave the game a solid sense of realism and was one of the bright spots.

One other great thing was hand to hand combat. Sneaking up on enemies and stealthily putting them down by pressing a corresponding button was great stuff. Add in the boss and lock pick mini-games and of having to push the right button at the right time in order to pass and the game does try to keep you on your toes by mixing things up a bit.

One of the bad things is that the game basically changed a great deal of the plot, especially towards the end of the game, to fit where they were going with it more and showed us things from the villain’s points of view, which was interesting, but completely unnecessary since the game is supposed to revolve around James Bond.

Add in that the enemy A.I. was poor at best and that it began to feel like you were playing a shooting gallery down at the boardwalk, simply hiding behind cover and waiting to pick off enemies when they popped up to shoot at you, and you have a game barely worthy of a rental. If you are a fan of James Bond and the mythos, then rent the game to get a couple extra plot details you may have missed from the movie, otherwise, there are plenty of better 1st person shooters out there.

Ratings are based on a system of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest.

Graphics: 9.0: The game looked pretty solid. The fire graphics were alright, and the light effects were well done. Everyone’s faces and movements were smooth and everything looked as it should. It was difficult to tell exactly where to go sometimes because sometimes exits blended in a little too well to the darkness, but aside from this, the game looked pretty good.

Audio: 10.0: Voice acting was really well done and having a long list of enemy phrases to choose from prevented the A.I. from ever repeating itself. If Bond was spotted, enemies never called it in the same way twice, which was a nice touch. Explosions and gun fire sounded solid and the music was solid as is always expected from a James Bond game. Just play the opera level to get a sense of how good this game was sound-wise.

Plot/Plot Development: 6.5: The plot was only passable because if you didn’t see the movie, not everything made sense to you. And if you didn’t see Casino Royale, you were definitely in trouble. If a James Bond game is based on a movie, it should follow the movie as closely as possible, and this didn’t do that. Lots of holes in the plot make the movie a must see and the game a rental at best.

Gameplay: 7.5: A lack of levels based on the vehicle chases really took something away from the game. The enemy physics was solid, but their A.I. was subpar and it made it feel like a shooting gallery half the time. Even when they tried to flank you, it was so blatantly obvious that it was no difficulty at all picking them off. All you had to do was hide behind cover and that made it feel like the shootouts were cheap knockoffs from the Gears of War series. I liked the addition of a hand to hand combat system and that many “boss” fights and the lock picking system was basically a mini-game. It kept the feel of the game different and tested your reflexes a bit more. Overall, the gameplay passes, but was nothing special.

Replay Value: 7.0: There isn’t a lot to replay the story mode. You could go back to try to find the entire cache of cell phones with extra intel on the mission to unlock things for multi-player, but that’s it. The multi-player itself isn’t anything special and feels like something that was added because it is expected nowadays. I would rather have had more levels and a better enemy A.I. than an average multi-player mode.

Overall (not an average): 7.0: Although the game looks and sounds great, it is not. The gameplay is lacking and a lack of overall game to actually play is disappointing. Add in an average multi-player that looked slapped together because it is expected to be in every shooter out there and this game is a rental at best, even for the most die-hard of James Bond fans. Quantum of Solace is out now for all systems.

-Ray Carsillo