An In-Depth Look at 007 Legends @ E3 2012
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 10th Aug 2012
You did not have to be a child of the 60's and 70's -- and the 80's and, come to think on it, the 90's too -- to be a fan of James Bond, as the impact of 007 transcends eras... Chances are good that if you were around in the 60's your first experience with the Bondster was through the books, but towards the late 60's and pretty much thereafter the movies were often the first media for most fans, so it is no real surprise that 007 Legends is based more upon the movies than the books -- as Legends reboots the classic Bond films to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 007 franchise. The game chains together five classic Bond films as its individual multi-objective missions, casting the Bond created by actor Daniel Craig in the lead role.
The brainchild of developer Eurocom, Legends is intended to both celebrate the anniversary and serve as a reboot of the franchise -- using a clever premise: as the game begins Agent 007 is floating half-dead in the water, fading in and out of consciousness, and as he struggles with maintaining his link to the real world, he experiences memory flashbacks that take the player through the five movie-based adventures. We cannot tell you why he is floating in the water having flashbacks -- perhaps that information is delivered later in the game in the parts we did not see, but as a premise it works well, and once you work your way through the time-structured movie missions James Bond finds himself in the present day, at which point presumably the adventure continues via DLC.
The game includes a split-screen multi-player mode that supports up to four players and, as in the previous offerings in the series, allows for play on the different teams. While there was no official statement with respect to how many of the more recent films will be supported as DLC, the reps from Eurocom hinted that this would be the case starting with Skyfall, which will be released as free DLC shortly following the game's launch on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on Oct. 16th.
The E3 Preview
The preview level that was shown off at E3 is based upon one of the stand-out movies (and books) from the 70's -- Moonraker -- complete with the arch-menace Jaws and the irresistible Holly Goodhead. While the game sported a general demo for the public, games journos got a behind-closed doors demo from publisher Activision that had associate producer Dino Verana walking us through the first mission, the Moonraker level in which Bond takes on arch-villain Hugo Drax. Using the rare skills and panache that he is famous for, 007 made his way through the base in the Amazon rain forest in a stealth-focused sneakfest that saw him smoothly slipping past a pretty significant security presence...
The hand's-off demo illustrated the variety of cover-and-fire and stealth techniques, showcasing the special weapons and gadgets that we have come to expect from a James Bond adventure -- there were the standard silenced handguns (actually that is mostly old had today), a tranquilizer gun, and an EMP scanner that is built into his smartphone! It goes without saying that Bond can pick up and use the weapons that are dropped by the enemy that he takes out, of course. Using his wristwatch, Bond was able to track the enemy from a distance thanks to its sensor circuitry, which placed markers on the map that allowed the agent who is licensed to kill to bring the fight to the enemy or avoid battle, as he liked.
The missions in the game are all objective-based, but ultimately how they play out has more to do with how much fighting the gamer wants to experience as they play... In single-player mode it is possible to use the XP gained from completing objectives to upgrade 007's kit.
While the bulk of the mission could be completed by stealth, the script eventually turned overt, with the final segment of the mission being a high-action run-and-gun race to the helicopter to escape, during which Bond has the opportunity to be a hero (we won't spoil that bit for you) before joining Holly Goodhead for the quest to save the world and keep the Shuttle from launching -- and if you have seen the movie you know how that worked out...
From what we saw and experienced this game is a cut above the best of the past games in the series and nowhere near the disaster that a certain offering was... The strengths of the title include the ability to play Bond the way that Bond was meant to be played, though strictly speaking this is not an open-world game but rather is a closed-world game-on-a-rail, but still challenging and entertaining, with a quick immersive quality to it that will easily keep you playing.