007 Legends is a Bond-lover’s dream. It has taken all the awesome parts of being James Bond (sweet gadgets, cool weapons, kick-ass spy moves and suave attitude) and distilled them into one game. Developed by Eurocom Entertainment and published by Activision, 007 Legends could have easily been relegated to the “movie tie-in” genre and quietly forgotten. It is obvious Eurocom didn’t want that to happen and made a game that felt more complete.
Almost everything in the game is tailored to making you feel like James Bond. Your watch has a laser in it to take out sentry cameras and also provides radar for enemies in the vicinity. Your smartphone takes pictures, hacks computers and analyzes fingerprints. Lastly, your pen shoots tranquilizer, shock and distraction darts. You get all these gadgets fairly early on, giving you plenty of opportunities to try to play this more and more like the super spy we’ve loved for 50 years. I mean, when you sneak up on a bad guy, you subdue him by pulling him back and karate chopping him in the neck! I’ve always wanted to do that. (Kids, don’t try this at home)
The biggest game play feature is what a spy should do best: stealth. Eurocom has middling results developing stealth into the game. There are times when this works like a charm. For example, in Moonraker, I was able to take some alternate paths using duct work to subdue enemies and turn off alarm systems. I felt as if I had many paths lying before me from how to circumnavigate the level to going in guns blazing. Then I had the feeling the exact opposite was true in certain aspects of License of Kill. I had to plant bombs in Sanchez’s warehouse, and being detected only left me dead, so I had to sneak around. Not only that, with the ways the soldiers were moving, it was as if only one path truly existed for me. It was in these situations when I felt the walls of disbelief crumble around me.
Though they may have crumbled, nothing could have prepared me for the times when the walls shatter and I was in some heavy firefights. This was where Eurocom really lost me, because I never remember in License to Kill when James Bond was accidentally discovered in the temple ruins and he mowed down 25 to 30 bad guys with a machine gun in under 30 seconds. I have no idea where all these guys came from, but they just kept coming. I understand that Bond wouldn’t have been discovered, and that this is a video game, but too often, it felt like they were told there needed to be more action sequences and shooting and they happily obliged. The weapons themselves had a good sense of heft to them and the mechanics were fine, but I thought it to be unnecessary to the cinematic feeling you so often experience in the game otherwise.
That’s really where 007 Legends shines brightest. This is especially true in the cinematic fight sequences. Sure, the hand-to-hand combat isn’t particularly difficult (push the indicated analog stick up or down as shown), but it gave you the impression that you were really were James Bond, fighting off Oddjob or Jaws or random bad guy #4 in yellow jumpsuit. These fights, along with other action sequences pulled right from the movies give you an authentic Bond experience that simply makes you feel like you’re in the movie. That is a feat often tried by video games, but rarely achieved.
Overall, 007 Legends accomplishes what so few games have done in the past: capture what it feels like to be James Bond. While I’ll admit this may not capture the imagination of hardcore shooter or stealth game fans, this game will definitely appeal to devotees of a certain British super spy. Check out my game play and commentary for yourself and see if 007 Legends is for you. Be sure to stay tuned for COIN-OP TV’s coverage of 007 Legends when the free Skyfall DLC drops in early November.
007 Legends Moonraker Gameplay Commentary
007 Legends Official Opening Trailer
007 Legends Official Goldfinger Trailer
007 Legends Official On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Trailer
007 Legends Official Die Another Day and License to Kill Trailer
007 Legends Official Moonraker Trailer