|System: X360, PS3, PC, Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Treyarch||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
October 16, 2008 - Whenever a new Bond shooter makes its way to the market, it will undoubtedly be compared to what is widely regarded as the best Bond video game to date. I am, of course, speaking of GoldenEye for the N64. Although fans are always quick to draw these comparisons, a more valid measuring stick in the case of Quantum of Solace would be Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The reason for this is that this title borrows much from Infinity Wards stellar shooter, including its engine.
Using a version of the Call of Duty 4 engine likely made this game much easier to develop, and also helps make Quantum of Solace one of the best-looking first-person shooters soon to be on the market. The games environments, enemies, explosions, weather effects, and even Bond himself are visually stunning. The latter becomes even more evident when the camera pulls out to a third-person perspective during certain parts of the game. These mostly consist of times when you climb ladders, participate in quick time events, or need to take cover.
Cover plays a large role in Quantum of Solace, especially in the single-player campaign. The difficulty level seems to be dialed up fairly high, as it only takes a few shots to put Bond out of commission. This often forces players to seek cover early and often if they wish to survive. From cover, you can blind fire, peak your head out for more accurate and effective shots, or even sprint to another cover position. Having a first-person shooter that relies on cover is definitely different, but it manages to feel fairly natural after only a few minutes with the game.
Where the game started to get a little sticky for me was how the environment was used in combat in the level that I had a chance to play. This level took place on a speeding train, starting you out on top, eventually making your way inside and proceeding forward from there. Before dropping in, players are treated to an opportunity to relive something similar to the bathroom stall scene from GoldenEye, being able to shoot some unsuspecting foes through the trains sunroofs. It wasnt until I made it inside the train that certain things begin to catch my attention.
What Im referring to is the way the level was designed. It seemed like no matter where I was on the train, the game was encouraging me to shoot the environment and not my enemies. Any time I took cover, I always found countless gas drums, propane tanks, and fire extinguishers. The first two created large explosions that usually dispatched the enemies that just so happened to be right next to them, and the latter blinded foes so that I could get to a better position, or just sprint up and headshot them before its effects wore off. While I cant be certain if the entirety of Bonds single-player missions suffer from this same design choice, I sincerely hope not. If the games many other levels manage to escape this unnecessary shoot the tank and move gameplay, I believe the ability to take cover will make this a very unique and compelling single-player experience.
Next, I got to get my hands on some multiplayer and this is where the game began to truly shine. There are several modes to choose from, including standard death matches to more Bond-centric affairs like Golden Gun. Golden Gun has players competing to gain control of this classic weapon, scoring points when they dispatch enemies with it or their foes who are carrying it. The weapon itself gives the controlling player the most powerful weapon in the game but also makes them easier to spot on their enemies radars, which can make these matches very interesting.
The maps I had a chance to see were very well-designed and conducive to the games many different modes. One had players jumping around rooftops in Venice, shimmying up ladders for position, and finding countless dark corners with great lines of sight, perfect for hiding and sniping. This was a fairly small map, so conflicts were very action-packed, as it seemed like every time you spawned, you were either looking directly at a foe or being shot by one. Another, much larger map, had players shooting it out at a construction site. This map was also well equipped with multiple sniping perches but had a variety of vehicles and objects, providing players with a plethora of cover to help them gain the upper hand. Here the action was a little slower-paced but rewarded players for working as a team and being more intelligent about their movements and positioning.
Much like in Modern Warfares multiplayer, players will be able to create custom weapon load-outs and even upgrade their character with special abilities (perks). These abilities are what most would expect, ranging from allowing players to carry more ammo to having a noticeable upgrade in the health department. While we had the opportunity to try out fully leveled up and tricked out characters, players can likely expect these special abilities to be unlocked similarly to the perks in Call of Duty 4.
All in all, Quantum of Solace looks very promising. If the rest of the single-player campaign steers clear of the shoot the barrel and move on design I experienced in the train level, expect a beautiful and action-packed Bond experience full of frantic shootouts, strategic use of cover, and more style than you can shake a martini at. Add to this the excellent multiplayer offerings that will feel right at home for Modern Warfare fans and Quantum of Solace becomes a very complete package for Bond and shooter fans alike. Since the game is also launching more than a week before the films theatrical release, it provides eager fans with a welcome chance to check out the action before standing in the long lines during Quantum of Solaces opening weekend.
CCC Staff Contributor