|System: Xbox 360*, PS3|
|Release: October 16, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Drug Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence|
Though, for all the times you'll be failing them, cursing the screen wildly, the stealth is possibly the best part of 007 Legends. Before you've been detected, melee takedowns are a silent strike and silenced weapons won't alert enemies as long as they kill on the first shot. Enemies can spot you, hear you, or see your handiwork and raise the alarm if they're sufficiently aware (there's an onscreen visual indicator of just how alert any given enemy is). Corpses spotted by a level's cameras will also raise the alarm, though these also have visible cones of detection.
Really, 007 Legends does a lot that tries to offset the usual problems with first-person stealth. There are the aforementioned visual indicators of awareness, and Bond's wristwatch doubles as a radar device, which can lead to a satisfying rhythm of planning one's move followed by an exhilarating run across the room and out of the enemy's sight. In the end, these segments can't get over the inherent issues of first-person stealth—that being a lack of a direct, easily interpreted indicator of just how you're positioned. As such, most stealth segments devolve into hectic gun battles.
Except the forced stealth segments. Those devolve into dozens of alert-based restarts, because being spotted is instant failure. They're the worst part of the game, by far, which is surprising given how fun playing a crafty, well-hidden Bond can be.
Other than these, there are occasional variations in the gameplay, some of which are one-shots (such as a couple of driving sections and a skiing bit) while others are recurring. There's the pointlessly simple fisticuffs minigame, which consists of following onscreen prompts for about thirty seconds to put a character out of their misery in hand-to-hand combat. Investigation sequences involve using Bond's smartphone to hack electronics or unveil his quarry's fingerprints on key parts of the environment, exposing hidden switches and whatnot. It's usually busywork, but there's the occasional fuse box puzzle, which offers an enjoyable, color-coded challenge on the half-dozen occasions it crops up. Lastly, there's an extended sequence in Moonraker that takes place in zero gravity. The controls for this work surprisingly well and, as absurd as it is, it somehow manages to prove immensely enjoyable.
007 Legends also has a few elements designed to expand its longevity. Every mission has secondary objectives, more of which become available on higher difficulties. It's a throwback to GoldenEye, though the objectives this time out are wholly optional and are very easy to miss (often, I didn't even realize I had any secondary objectives to fulfill), to the point of seeming hopelessly out of the way. There are also challenge missions one can undertake, which are graded score-challenges based on altered versions of levels from the campaign. These are fairly interesting and very demanding. Lastly, there's the multiplayer.
I can't say too much about the multiplayer, though. It's all competitive, divided into free-for-all and team games. There are a few deathmatch modes and some capture the flag variants, which I'm sure would be very interesting, but finding someone playing anything other than basic deathmatch (which does come with the perk that one can play as iconic franchise characters) is next to impossible. So, yeah, the multiplayer is kind of a bust.
The other little touches in the game, such as the character and organization bios and the upgrade system, are kind of neat (and the weapon upgrades add a lot of customization options to the gameplay), but they don't do much to combat the somewhat stale core gameplay and the helter-skelter story. The game is certainly fun, mind, and having the Bond license in there will make it all the more pleasurable for those who are longtime fans of the character, but I can't help feeling that, in the end, the game is a mass of wasted potential.
Date: October 18, 2012