James Bond: Quantum of Solace Hands-On

In this exclusive hands-on session, we step into the shoes of Agent 007 as he bounces between levels from Casino Royale and the upcoming Quantum of Solace.

As odd as it may sound, given the franchise's life span, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace mark the first pair of James Bond films to feature connecting plots. Treyarch is taking advantage of Bond's newfound ability to remember the past by balancing the action in Quantum of Solace (the game) with equal attention paid to Quantum of Solace (the movie) and its predecessor, Casino Royale. We recently took a look at this upcoming first-person shooter to see how developer Treyarch is aiming to bridge these two films.

Rather than provide you with a chronological series of levels, Quantum of Solace plays fasts and loose with the Bond timeline, swapping scenes from each movie to keep you on your toes. It seems fitting, then, that our demo consisted of two out-of-order levels. The first was based on the upcoming film, and the second was based on 2005's Casino Royale. To keep spoilers to a minimum, the first level was light on plot but heavy on action, and it featured a chase between James Bond and a mysterious character in a suit.

Blowing up finely decorated locations is part of the Bond experience.

This chase begins deep underground in a flooded tunnel and continues up to the Roman rooftops of Sienna, Italy. Bond begins in a first-person view as he runs through the underground tunnels, but soon pops into a room full of enemies seemingly hidden behind every last bit of cover. At this point, you can hit the cover button and switch to a third-person view. This perspective gives you the usual options of looking down the iron sights of your gun for a precise shot, blind-firing, and quickly shuffling over to another area of cover. In our experience, navigating through all of the options available to us while in cover was a simple and frustration-free process. It's the actual transition into cover that might provide the greatest challenge. The process of switching from first-person to third-person views so quickly and often takes a little getting used to.

A big focus for Treyarch is giving you the opportunity to avoid blasting away each and every foe. To achieve this goal, the developers have scattered a multitude of interactive objects throughout each level that can alter the flow of shootouts in a number of ways. However, they're not all of the "shoot red barrel for massive explosion" variety. Some of them, such as the fire extinguishers mounted to a wall, will merely blind enemies, giving you the opportunity to take them out from a distance or run up for a quick time-event takedown similar to The Bourne Conspiracy.

It's a good thing that Treyarch gives you opportunities to take out the bad guys in bunches, given that holing up and shooting each thug one by one isn't the best idea with the game's fleeting cover. Thanks to the help of the Call of Duty 4 engine, Quantum of Solace is able to render the effects of surface penetration to keep you from feeling too safe behind every downed wooden table. It helps with the visuals, too; Quantum of Solace is a slick-looking game, with impressive realism present in everything from Sienna's colorful backdrop to Daniel Craig's permanent frown. The similarities to Call of Duty don't end there; the gun combat from the first-person view felt very familiar when we took hold of the controller.

Our jaunt through the Quantum of Solace level ended with Bond leaping from rooftop to rooftop in Sienna. The frantic tempo and rapid movement was a welcome change of pace from the lengthy shootouts that we engaged in while underground. The way that Bond deftly leaped from roof to roof and ran in and out of people's homes was a fun little twist to the usual pacing found in a shooter.

Someone needs to tidy this place up a bit.

The next level brought us back to Casino Royale, and specifically to the point in the film when Bond takes a break from the climactic poker game to go spy on his buddy Le Chiffre. Whereas the first level was all about running and gunning, this one gave us the option of testing out Bond's stealth abilities. You can crouch to sneak around, and when behind an enemy, you click the right stick to engage a stealth takedown. It's not quite as stylish as the aforementioned Bourne Conspiracy's hand-to-hand kills, but Bond definitely flashes some martial-arts skills during these Simon Says sequences.

Another way that you can avoid all-out gunfire is by taking the road less traveled, which in this case involves going from room to room through the outside windows rather than the heavily trafficked hallways. Bond can shimmy along ledges, and when a guard is standing near a window, the screen splits into two sections: your view of Bond and the guard's view of the window. This gives you the chance to time your ledge sidling and avoid being spotted. It takes some patience, but it's all worth it when you sneak up on a guard who's taking a smoke break on the balcony to give him a quick and deadly shove to the ground below.

Going back to the idea of interactive environments, there's a big focus on puzzle-solving to progress through certain areas of the game. In the Casino Royale level, we ran into a roadblock and weren't sure where to go next. A little hunting around the hotel revealed an employee's cell phone lying unattended. A text message on the phone sent from hotel management mentioned the need to fix one of the noisy air vents in a nearby bathroom. In a Professor Layton-like moment of clarity, we took that to mean that a loose grate was available so that we could sneak through the air ducts. Sure enough, this was exactly the case. A moment later, we popped down right into a firefight, ready to take on a few more armed guards.

It's clear that Treyarch doesn't want to create a first-person shooter in which all you do is shoot. Quantum of Solace certainly has its moments of action, but we were surprised at the amount of actual spy work that James Bond was required to do. So far, it looks as if those disparate elements are coming together rather nicely. The combat has a snappy pace to complement its myriad methods of offing enemies, and the spy work provides a nice little break in which you can stretch your cerebral muscles. It certainly helps that Quantum of Solace employs the use of Call of Duty 4's engine to help drive things along, as well. We'll see how it all comes together when the game is released on November 4.

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268 comments
lozza_lover
lozza_lover

right this game if fab how you can use stealth i want it

allotheabove123
allotheabove123

i bought resistance 2 on November 4th but i want it so bad i hope that it wont be like star wars the force unleashed which looked amazing and was fun but got boring real fast

BoaMo121
BoaMo121

@ walkerlawrence EON was good but Goldeneye was the best out of them

Blood_Diamond
Blood_Diamond

Lets just hope they didn't blow the budget on the clebs likenesses and have to cut corners to get this game ready

XYorX
XYorX

I just played this game since yesterday.. And I must say it's a bit of a letdown. Please don't attack me for it, that is just how I feel. Nightfire was far better than this game. The graphics are really not what they look like in the screenshots, although the action is great and the storyline okay, the many glitches make the game rather annoying at times. I could have been playing a BETA though, not sure but I think it was the final version I got right now. Anyway, It's enjoyable but I'd give it like a 7 out of 10 or so.

Red_Dawn345
Red_Dawn345

I don't know,I have been looking for a game like COD 4 and this looks like one that could fit the role but the traliers look kinda dumb. All I know is that they haven't convince me to preorder it. It might be worth a rent; wait for the review

cmullen666
cmullen666

sounds good 2me although i think i'll have to see quantum b4 i play the game so it doesn't spoil it

Afvi
Afvi

Cool !!! ..waitning for the movie. ..now the game...

efc1991
efc1991

This is going to be one of the funnest games of the year.

JB2B
JB2B

Immediately I think of one of the best and my all time favorite shooter GoldenEye on the N64. I just notice it uses the CoD4 engine which also makes me happy like the Unreal Engine makes me happy. Definitely a game to keep in mind. I probably have to rob a bank for all the nice stuff coming out soon. ;)

OminousShadow87
OminousShadow87

Most games based off of movies have sucked, yes, but then look at Bond's track record. Does the revolutionary Goldeneye ring a bell?

pidow
pidow

I am quite sure that this game is worth playing.

jalen_222
jalen_222

most games that have been based upon movies have stunk, but if it's built upon the COD4 engine ... how can it be bad ??? in fact, it looks really good. i'll definitely test the demo.

blackjack95
blackjack95

tell me that they have jet packs!?!?

Ardontious
Ardontious

Movie License + Treyarch = Junk.

TheRooskie
TheRooskie

I really don't know about this one. Graphics aren't very sharp... I guess it's all going to come down to the gameplay. Daniel Craig has to be the best Bond since Connery.

dlaury
dlaury

No driving in a bond game is like no popcorn at the movies. What's up with that. Bond movies always have a cool new car with cool new features.

DoctorBedlam
DoctorBedlam

As long as it's better than Rogue Agent I'll be happy.

cjohnson007
cjohnson007

Yeah EON was a really good bond game. It was original but still set up like a bond movie. It was cool to play the first level and then the opening credits with the song came in.

WalkerLawerence
WalkerLawerence

EON is the best Bond game. This is looking good nonetheless.

Gamezster
Gamezster

I like third persons more. But first persons are really cool as well. I like the different missions. Stealth, chases, gun fights and that stuff. It seems really fun. I will be getting it quickly after GH IV.

cube-gage
cube-gage

I liked the world is not enough for ps1, and nightfire. Never had an n64 myself but i used to play goldeneye at a friends and it was great. this looks good, and using the cod4 engine it should be. But im a little worried about it being developed by treyarch, this means that they have benn working on cod world at war and this quantum of solace game simultaneously. so hopefully it wont of affected the quality of either game

dreman77
dreman77

I can't believe i'm saying this: I wish EA was making this game

gavinpape
gavinpape

This would have been so much better in 3rd person. 1st person has ruined this game already!

8smokes
8smokes

Combat looks like its just Call of Duty with a twist. The stealth parts sound great though. My all-time favorite bond game was Nightfire. This looks to even top that!

LiontamerV
LiontamerV

Nothing beats Goldeneye but this looks great

ace62394
ace62394

So it's just CoD4 with different characters and new locations? Or am I missing something.

spankdamonky
spankdamonky

Finally a PC game featuring the one and only Mr. Bond:D

fps92
fps92

not wasting my money on this!!......

GanyaK
GanyaK

the first question that came to my head was... "will it be greater than GOLDENEYE?"... i hope so! i miss the proximity mines, COMPLEX map, facility...the best 1st person-shooter multiplayer in the 90`s

Felstef
Felstef

Looks good, but will it be on PSP?

king_bobo
king_bobo

This sounds like it could be cool. I hope that there's a good multiplayer, with customisation like Call of Duty 4. I'll be looking out for this...

yddet24
yddet24

hope, it will as good as nightfire

caMo723
caMo723

finally another bond game to be excited about

10below
10below

Not to be too snarkity, but... Rooftops in Sienna would be Siennese rooftops, not Roman rooftops. I'm sure the people of Sienna would agree. Otherwise, I'm very excited by what I'm reading. Sounds like the game is getting the same makeover the movies got.

Maqda7
Maqda7

I truely hope this game turns out great. A new James Bond game have been long overdue.

Smogtoe
Smogtoe

Casino Royale rocked! I've been a 007 fan for years, and I have to say Daniel Craig has played the role perfectly! The James Bond franchise has taken a shift into a more gut-wrenching style, and I'm diggin' it! Can't wait for Quantum of Solace! I do digg Clive Owen, but Craig did such a fantastic job in Royale that I have to say he fits the bill. Not bashin' though, Owen is cool in his own right! Anyway, I've played a few of the Bond games, and I'm okay with a few of them. Golden eye was indeed a cool game, but it has aged significantly; still fun to a degree..........on slap mode, multi-player! LOL.......Some of you know! Some say, huh?

dylan545
dylan545

i got the same opinnion as Dom-152, goldeneye game sucked.

Dramacide
Dramacide

Goldeneye was amazing yo FPS's dont come more playable than that in its day! Seriously though not comparing it to anything now but James Bond games since Goldeneye have no where near been as good!!!

nemiisis
nemiisis

Dom-152 wise up dude goldeneye was an amazin game when it was 1st out and still is a gr8 experience iv played it a few tyms recently and the onli thing is the graphics its still as gd a 1st person shooter out ther

Dom-152
Dom-152

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

monkeytoes61
monkeytoes61

Clive Owen should have been the new James Bond. He looks and sounds like a Bond. I haven't seen Casino Royale, and I'm sure the new guy did fine, but he just doesn't look like a Bond.

MAFIOSO_13
MAFIOSO_13

Looks great but i know that they wil mess up this game and in the end it will be rubish