When I put in Quantum of Solace into my 360 I tried to remember the last time I played a good Bond game. I found myself going all the way back to the N64 with Goldeneye, easily one of the most influential first person shooters ever released. Almost 11 years after Goldeneye, Activision has released Quantum of Solace. Let’s go shoot ‘em up Bond.
Like I mentioned it’s been quite some time since Goldeneye was released for the N64 and Bond games have come such a long way. Quantum of Solace bases itself on the two most recent Bond movies, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. You find yourself as the ever so popular special agent 007 playing through certain movie scenes from both these flicks. Quantum of solace is the first Bond game to run on the 'Call of Duty 4' engine and will be released on multiple platforms. Some platforms will not run like others and there will be significant differences depending on the system.
Quantum is a first/third person shooter, kind of like 'Ghost Recon 2'. When running around a level everything will be seen in a first person perspective, once you take cover it goes into third person, making it easier to see any enemies advancing. Of course with these mechanics blind fire, quick cover and switch cover. This works in most games and it works in Quantum, unfortunately it lacks a few things. For one Gears of War brought us the ability to slide into cover, which can become very useful, unfortunately this is left out of Quantum. Also sometimes it can be mildly frustrating when you need immediate cover since you have to pretty much be facing cover and right up against it to use it.
The game starts you off with an action packed opening sequence in which you take over not too long after. You find yourself as 007, who is voiced by Daniel Craig himself. Bond has the ability to carry three weapons on him at once usually one or two hand guns along with a automatic usually does the trick. Along with your weapons you also get ever so wonderful grenades and a take-down move. When your close to an enemy a simple click of the right joystick will show a button to push. If the button is pushed correctly the enemy is taken down in a cutscene, if the wrong button is pushed though be prepared for a hurtin. Along the way Bond will also have to hack doors, cameras etc. To hack doors it brings you to a screen with flashing arrows and a certain button has to be pushed to properly advance. Unfortunately this could have been done without since it can become a nuisance; nonetheless it still gives you that special agent feel. The great thing about Quantum of Solace is that you really feel like Bond. With the cover system, you get to see yourself, and 007 looks a lot like Daniel Craig himself.
The levels themselves look pretty nice. Some of them are very similar to movies scenes from Casino Royale. For example, when 007 is chasing the bomb maker through the construction yard it looks similar and gives you the feel of the movie. Also with
quick-time events put into play you get a great sense of what your up against. In the bomb maker level, you’re caught chasing him along high beams and cranes, when you get to the top of the crane the camera zooms out and shows you how far you’ll be falling when you hit that joystick the wrong way. The environments are still very 007 like. Each level has plenty of openings for enemies to attack from and they pour in when an alarm sounds. The lighting and effects work well in sequence and offer a great feel to the game. Destructible objects make it enjoyable to strategically plan an attack and much more fun to blow enemies up. Something which really adds to the feel of the game is laser sights on weapons. In a nighttime shootout in the opera house when your pressed up against cover and all you see is lasers flashing by you it makes popping out from cover pretty nerve wracking.
The weapons in Bond are plentiful and all look amazing. As mentioned Bond runs off the COD 4 engine, and if anyone remembers 'Call of Duty 4' had some of the most impressive looking weapons to date on a console. Most weapons have the ability to be silenced which makes stealth kills very easy to execute. If shooting someone quietly isn’t your cup of tea then you can always sneak around and stealth kill someone with a melee attack. The grenades are decent, nothing spectacular; so don’t expect explosions of the century or anything. As for the AI, well, typical 007 AI, that’s all I can say. If you can manage to stealth kill one then you will get away with no problems. Once you take to many shots or are too loud about a kill several enemies will be alerted and then you have a classic Bond shootout on your hands. The easier the difficulty the easier it will be to run and gun, but when the difficulty is higher you’ll be stuck using the cover system to get yourself out of sticky situations. But when it all comes down to it the AI is just like it always used to be.
The story mode in 007 is a little short, unfortunately, but it’s still a bunch of fun to run through the game once or twice trying out different strategies. Although the one complaint is that the plot doesn’t really follow one specific line. With the flashbacks and flashforths and flash this and that, it can be hard to follow what part of the story your on. Multiplayer offers some classic good old Bond modes along with new ones. Some examples is Bond Evasion; which is two teams (MI6 and The Organization), one player takes control of Bond with MI6 and the goal is to stay alive as Bond, while your team protects you. As for the classic mode, drum roll, Golden Gun! For anyone who’s played any Bond game before this is a free for all, but the catch is that there’s a golden gun hidden within the level and whoever finds it will get to dominate for a while.
As for the graphics and sound, well unfortunately this game isn’t all that satisfying or pleasing. The games graphics are sub-par in today’s standards. Movement is very simple and bland offering nothing special when all the resources to do so are out there. Gunfire is very arcadish and feels almost like the first Mercenaries. Although not everything is terrible, the environment is fairly impressive offering a mix of everything. Mind you it’s not perfect, trees move very awkwardly when helicopters fly close and they break like they’re made of cardboard.
The explosions are decent, but unfortunately become very repetitive, almost like one design was used and that’s it. As for the sound it’s also pretty unfortunate. Gunfire feels the same, all having a toy gun sound to them. Even the sniper rifle doesn’t feel like it could take out someone with a headshot. On the plus side unlike Mercs 1, Mercs 2 actually has gears in the cars. If you remember Mercenaries, when driving the cars had endless gears, well they finally changed that and now the cars have about 6 gears. The best part of the sound is the explosions which makes blowing stuff up so satisfying.
Unfortunate for Quantum of Solace, had it not been for a slightly confusing “story” and a slightly annoying cover system it could have been a great competitor. Although it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table of an already crowded genre, it still holds it’s own. With some positives like great looking weapons, voice acting from the actors themselves and fun multiplayer modes, Bond can make for a fun weekend game. But it’s negatives like a shorter than usual story, confusing story and repetitive gunplay that hold it back from competing with the likes of Ghost Recon and Gears. Don’t let this stop you from making Quantum a weekend rental, and by all means, if you’re a Bond fan you’ll probably want to pick this up since this is the first Bond game to give you the most authentic Bond experience. The 007 series has come a long way since Goldeneye, even though in my eyes Goldeneye is still the best one, and will always be one of the most influential games in the shooter genre.
Gameplay: 7.5, Graphics:8, Sound:8, Innovation:5, Mojo:7 Final: 7.1 / 10
Reviewed by Chris Gagne | 11.19.08