Review by Steve Nick

Reviewed: 11/26/08

Short and easy, but entertaining.

James Bond: Quantum of Solace is the newest game in the long line of James Bond games. It was developed by Treyarch, and is an FPS/action/adventure game, much like the others of the series.

Storywise, the game is an odd mix of the movie Quantum of Solace, and Casino Royale. It seems to follow both plot lines, meshing them together. I have personally seen the movie Casino Royale, but not Quantum of Solace, so I am unsure how closely the game stays true to this plot line. Either way, the plot in this game is a very low-key mechanism built to lead into what really matters, the action gameplay. Most of the gameplay has little to do with things that actually happened in the movie, though there are a few consistencies that you may enjoy as a James Bond fan.

The gameplay in Quantum of Solace is very straightforward, and action-packed. There are fifteen total missions, and the goals of each do not vary much. You will move forward and progress through levels, while being required to engage in typically large firefights. In some missions, you will be ‘advised’ to use stealth, but it is not a requirement, though it does make most missions easier. You can equip any weapon with a silencer, and use it to quietly kill enemies. You will also be tasked to avoid/disable camera systems now and again, to avoid having to engage in firefights against numerous guards. You’ll start all missions with the typical James Bond P99 pistol, and be able to pick up any weapons enemies drop. The game features regenerating health, which means that your health will start to regenerate a couple of seconds after you stop taking fire, if you’re hurt. It’s a bit overdone, and really makes the game too easy, at points, as the health regenerates so quickly. There are a few minor “mini-games”, where you have to hack terminals, or run through obstacle courses while balancing on beams and such. I didn’t really understand the point of having to hack doors, considering if you fail to hack it, nothing happens, no guards come, nothing – You just try again. Most boss fights in the game require a sequence of button presses to defeat, with on screen queues. It doesn’t make for exciting gameplay, but it’s fairly obvious that this is not designed as one of the games core aspects. Most of the game seems to be fairly trial and error. Enemies are mostly triggered to spawn by spots that you walk to, and once you learn these spots, you can manipulate them easy, while you may die on your first try, simply because the game ambushes you at inopportune moments. Not much in the game requires real “skill” to play, but rather just playing and dying repeatedly until you learn the patterns of the enemies, and etc. There are elements of adventure gameplay throughout, which can be fun when thrown into the mix of the game. The game is rather realistic. Most enemies die in two shots, and if playing on high difficulty, you will die in around four shots, as well. It is a bit of a mix between a realistic and arcade shooter.

The cover system of this game allows you to move to any decent sized object and hit the cover button to take cover behind the object. This feature is almost mandatory to getting anywhere in the game, as you will die in a hail of gunfire otherwise. It is very difficult to fight against enemies in the open field, so cover is a must. Your aim and health regeneration will also be highly increased while in cover. The cover is a bit glitchy, as it seems like when you’re basically “stuck” to the cover, the enemies have no chance of hitting you, unless they’re actually beside or behind you, even if it looks like you may be exposed. While in cover, as typical in most games, you can lean out from cover to shoot accurately, or blindfire, which will allow you to shoot out from cover without endangering yourself, but be less accurate. Overall, the cover system is good, but far from the best cover system I’ve seen. I would have liked for it to be more finely polished, considering the cover system is such a huge part of the gameplay.

One particularly disappointing part about the game is that there are none of the typical bond gadgets, or car chases. Each level is just another shoot out. No car chases, any gadgets, nothing really interesting to perk things up, if you get bored of just mowing over bad guys for 15 levels. However, this isn’t all bad, because the core gameplay is fun and exciting, even if it is a little dull at times.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of the game was how utterly short it is. I played it on the highest difficulty setting, and beat the game in about 8 hours or so, playing at a casual pace. This would be okay if there was any particular replayability to it, but there really isn’t, nor was there much innovative gameplay in general. The multiplayer also isn’t very well done, which just makes this a more crippling aspect of the game. However, it’s still fun for the 5-10 hours that you will play it for.

The controls are well done. They are the standard FPS controls, with little variation. The default settings are for the control sticks to move and point your aim reticule, the left trigger to zoom(aim), the right trigger to shoot, the right bumper for grenades, the left bumper for weapon switches, A to find cover, B to crouch, Y to jump, X to reload, select to open up a mini-map with objectives, and the control pad to apply rate of fire changes or to add/remove silencers.

The graphics and sound of the game are fairly good. They won’t ‘wow’ you, but they are fine enough, and I actually rather enjoyed looking at the gun models on this game. Overall, the game is average in this department, being a clear step below some of the top end Xbox360 games.

The multiplayer of this game isn’t particularly interesting or fun. There’s nothing neat or interesting about it. You basically just run around with your weapons, and shoot people. Sometimes you can shoot people in different game modes, but it doesn’t really make much of a difference what game mode you’re playing, that I can tell. In my opinion, it’s not as good as games like Call of Duty 4 or Halo 3, multiplayer wise. It is simply mediocre.

Overall, I had fun playing James Bond: Quantum of Solace over the period of about two days, but after you beat the game, there really isn’t much left to do, and unfortunately, since it is so short, you will beat it rather quickly. If you play the game and find the multiplayer impressive, then it may be worth buying. I recommend renting the game, and if you are an FPS fan, or James Bond fan, you will most likely enjoy it. If you buy the game, you will most likely regret it, since it does not last for very long.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: 007: Quantum of Solace (US, 11/04/08)

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