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ESRB RATING: Teen
(This is a review of the the Xbox 360 version, which is identical to the PS3 one)
“People like Bond games! Want to make some money?”
The title is actually somewhat misleading, as there’s only a brief portion of the game that is from Quantum of Solace. The story jumps around a bit, actually beginning with you shooting White at the end of Casino Royale and then jumping back and forth quite a bit. You’ll control a bunch of portions from Casino Royale, such as the construction free-running chase, the sinking house in Venice, hell, even Bond’s poisoned stumble back to his car during the card game.
There won’t be too many secrets revealed from the new film, but why would you want that anyway?
CHUDTIP- Just because you can prove Quantum Immortality doesn’t mean you should.
Treyarch is behind this, and they’re the guys that created the just-released Call of Duty World At War, so they know how to make a fun game. It’s also indicative of how the game plays, because this is Call of Duty with a James Bond wrapper. The controls are mostly the same, with the right trigger for shooting, the left to aim down the barrel, etc.
But they’ve done a great job of somehow making you feel like you’re playing as James Bond, despite it being a first person shooter. There’s a cover system in place that gives the game much more of a stop n’ pop Gears of War feel. When you hit the A button to get into cover the camera pulls out to a 3rd person perspective to show off Daniel Craig’s chiseled face. The cover system works damn good, although it’s a little hard to scramble up over cover… and when you come across a big room with cover you just know there’s going to be dozens of enemies arriving soon.
See an enemy standing next to something that’s glowing? Shoot that sucker. If the explosion doesn’t take him out it’ll at least stun him and make him stumble right into your gun sights.
There’s also a takedown system in place. If you click in the left analog stick to run right into an enemy, it’ll initiate a takedown that requires a quick press of one of the face buttons. You’ll then watch as Bond beats the hell out of him in delightful style. It’s just a small example of how cinematic the game is… lots of times during the game big huge events will take place, and it’s actually a ton of fun to play through them. They’re scripted, sure, but they feel real, like you’re experiencing them. The camera is pretty dynamic at times like this as well, and sometimes even the screen splits to show you what the enemies are doing. There are also a bunch of quick time events, mostly during some of the more climactic fights from the films. They’re fairly easy.
CHUDTIP- Crouch and sneak up on people for an easy and silent takedown, but try not to break your foot off in their ass.
The game also somehow manages to include stealth missions that aren’t incredibly boring and irritating. This may be because most enemies have their backs to you on your route and are quickly taken out. It’s just an example of how easy the game- everything dies pretty quickly and the checkpoints come fast, ensuring that you’re never more than a few enemies from respawning. The AI is decent enough, with enemies taking cover and trying to flank you, but just grab some cover and you’ll make quick work out of all of them. It’s funny to note that enemies get blasted through windows and up and over railings fairly easily and in entertaining fashion. It’s not ragdoll physics, it’s movie physics, and it makes it feel more like you’re playing through the film…. although Bond in the films didn’t have nearly as many explosive barrels and crates to shoot (he did have a few, though).
Altogether, a much more polished and fun game than you’d expect from a movie property. It’s no Goldeneye (what is?) but it’s a very competent shooter.
The game uses the Call of Duty 4 engine, so how do you think it looks? Gorgeous, of course. The fire and water effects are beautiful, and it uses some great particle effects to make a few locations look dusty and old. Bond looks just like he does in the movies, although Craig sometimes has that strange alien look that most characters get (how come no one animates looks of pain or tension on character’s faces?)
CHUDTIP- Every gun has a silencer. If you want to keep things quiet, use it. And wear a snappy dinner suit.
The music of course heavily relies on the Bond theme, as well as what sounds like some more stuff from the films. It’s good enough but gets a little tiresome. You’ll get that damn theme song stuck in your head for days…
There are some fun achievements to net along the way in the game, as well as special weapons and collectible cell phones, but for the most part this is as linear and straightforward as you can get.
The replay value lies within the multiplayer, which is ripped straight out of Call of Duty 4. The matchmaking system is almost exactly the same, and there are a ton of game modes and options. You get cash for each match that you can use to purchase new weapons and attachments and such. It’s fun enough, but I just can’t see myself playing it too much, what with all of the other (better) games sapping my time.
It’s interesting to note that the games I’ve played have been filled with noobs- I went on a killing spree that would make Julio Gonzalez jealous, somehow grabbing first place in my first two matches. Guess all the hardcore gamers are off playing COD and Gears of War.
CHUDTIP- Don’t go in guns a’blazing in this game, you’ll just get killed. When you come across a big room get ready to take some cover and keep an eye on enemies trying to flank you.
A truly enjoyable game, but not one with a lot of meat on it. Of course, in this saturated time a decent shooter unfortunately doesn’t amount to much, since there are so many more options out there. But it’s easily the best Bond game in years, a fun and entertaining time that’s most definitely worth a rent.
8.0 out of 10