007 Legends review
007 Legends doesn’t even get the name right. When Daniel Craig’s Bond is asked by Pussy Galore what his name is, without a beat Craig responds with a curt ‘James Bond’. Not ‘Bond, James Bond’ or even a witty comeback. Just ‘James Bond’. Plain old Jimmy Bond from MI6. It might seem an odd criticism to focus on, but this one moment, which occurs early on in Eurocom’s Bond travesty, is enough to convince that Legends is going to be a complete mess from start to finish.
It’s difficult to muster up excitement when even the premise of Legends is depressingly ill conceived. Instead of creating a game that follows the events of the new movie (and we can’t believe we’re advocating that as a superior alternative) Legends instead decides to go back through five of Bond’s older adventures and retell those stories as if modern Daniel Craig’s Bond was reliving them. In total, Craig is forced into Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Licence To Kill, Die Another Day and Moonraker – clearly, the cream of the Bond crop, then.
A level set during Skyfall is also included, but by the time you get to it, we’d be surprised if you ever wanted to play it. Legends’ attempts to frame its action as a weird dream modern Bond has after being shot and falling off a train during one of Skyfall’s set pieces (if you’ve seen the movie or even just the trailer, you’ll know the moment). The problem is, leaping between Bond films in this manner does neither the old films any service or Craig’s Bond, who sounds like he’d rather be doing anything else other than reading lines from old Bond films which sounded outdated as soon as they were uttered.
If the awful premise wasn’t bad enough, the gameplay you’re presented with really makes the whole experience feel like an enormous waste of time. Each Bond film is forced through the Call Of Duty filter and Legends’ shuddering framerate, truly horrendous AI and boring level design create some of the worst sections of gameplay we’ve seen in some time. Legends flits from shootout to stealth to ‘set piece’ (and we use the term lightly) at a moment’s notice in the hope that you won’t notice how poorly conceived each one is.
Stealth sections laughably descend into run-and-gun affairs as the AI invariably spot you. You can’t hide the bodies of guards you’ve sneakily shot anyway, so it’s only a matter of time before you’re discovered. Puzzles range from exploring different rooms with Bond’s smartphone and discovering clues to working out the most rudimentary puzzles. A special shout-out has to go to the fistfights with leading bad guys and occasional henchmen – QTEs are dull at the best of times, but Legends goes out of its way to make these truly non-interactive and easy to win.
Nothing in Legends is particularly well thought through (and that’s ignoring the general lack of technical polish that marks the game out as unfinished). You’ll occasionally be forced into a car, or skis, as in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but Legends never explains what you’re doing. Knowing that you’re supposed to ski down the mountain at the speed of light, or its game over, can often mean you find yourself stuck at the most inopportune junctions. It wouldn’t be so bad if Legends’ genuinely awful engine and controls didn’t bog you down in a mire of awkward moments. It gets so bad at times we began questioning whether we’d genuinely misunderstood what was going on.
Even XP and weapon attachments are implemented without a second thought. They’re used in COD, so why not here, right? Levels have secondary objectives for you to meet that grant you extra XP for new abilities, such as increased health. But, these make absolutely no noticeable difference to the gameplay whatsoever and it’s a wonder why Eurocom included them at all. You move from random fight to random fight at the drop of a hat (and Oddjob does actually drop his hat at one point) and forced into playing what feel like unfinished levels from a poor COD mod that uses old Bond films as its inspiration.
None of it makes any real sense, but the real disappointment comes through the use of such amazing actors and the Bond licence itself. There’s just no reason this quality level is acceptable for such an enormous franchise. With Sykyfall, Bond is back in a big way and there are enough examples of spies working in gaming that knocking together a few levels, pretending to ape Call Of Duty and hoping the name will be enough to carry you through, should really be condemned as the worst kind of gaming cash-in there is.