It's been 50 years since James Bond had become the astrological phenomenon he is today, with fourteen official novels, twenty-three films, and twenty-three video games. With that being said, there is so much material to work with, so much influence to be had, and so much brilliance to build upon...and yet, 007 Legends falls flat on its theoretical arse. As Tristan Ogilvie over at IGN worded so brilliantly, "...it seems like the development team has merely skimmed the back covers of a few of the DVDs in the James Bond box set and then decided to interpret them in the form of a poor man’s Call of Duty."
From the beginning of the game, as a true Bond fan, the opening sequence was incredibly and painfully weak, and lacked any kind of debonair flair that Bond himself would be proud of. With a rather disappointing rendition of a scene from the upcoming film, Skyfall, 007 suffers an accidental shot from his fellow MI6 operative, Eve, whilst fighting an enemy on the roof of a speeding train. As he plummets into the waters below, he's struck by a series of flashbacks which serve as the five different films they used in the game. These five films are five short and unsatisfying missions leading up to the yet to be released Skyfall downloadable content. In lieu of this, the game feels incomplete, rushed, and overall disastrous.
To further add insult to injury, the many things Activision got right in this instalment, they got quite horribly wrong. While it's very much enjoyable to relive these classic moments in 007 history, the whole affair is rather tawdry when one realizes nothing is really the same. It doesn't feel quite right causing an explosion in Franz Sanchez's lair with a smartphone and ejecting one of Goldfinger's henchmen from the passenger seat of an Aston Martin DBS instead of the DB5, and it's rather disappointing.
The online multiplayer is nothing more than a poor man's rendition of Call of Duty's multiplayer and actually feels like it's been watered down, condensed, strained, and served on a cracked China plate. It's boring, unsatisfying, and rather embarassing. The split screen multiplayer is just as tasteless and lacking in the same respect, and should be substituted for the split screen multiplayer in GoldenEye Reloaded.
In regards to all this, 007 Legends feels way too much like Call of Duty and nothing like James Bond, and it's becoming more and more apparent that Activision is in fact a one-trick pony with their best selling franchise. With that being said, in my honest opinion, they ought to just drop the rights to the James Bond games, because if they aren't going to put enough effort into making them, like or unlike Call of Duty, they're just losing money and time in the long run; money and time that could be better applied to the franchise that everyone actually enjoys. If I wanted to play Call of Duty, I would play Call of Duty. However, if I want to play James Bond, I'm going to have to dust off the Nintendo 64 and Playstation 2 and go back to GoldenEye, Everything or Nothing, and Nightfire, where one can witness a true 007 experience.
As a Bond fan and gamer for fifteen years running, 007 Legends is just plain awful. It's a hideous and embarrassing "tribute" to the James Bond franchise, and a prime and evident waste of money and resources. With the upcoming launch to Black Ops II not being so far away, 007 Legends should have just remained an idea and the time spent on it should have been applied to bettering the Call of Duty franchise.
Shocking. Positively shocking.