Although Quantum of Solace has caught some flak for having a title that may not make any sense whatsoever, the upcoming film starring Daniel Craig is almost sure to be a hit based on its esteemed pedigree: 2006's excellent Casino Royale. Treyarch's similarly named game based on the movie doesn't have a prequel to point back to, so it's instead covering all its bases with scenes from both movies. Unlike the ripped-from-the-screen levels we've detailed in previous coverage, the two settings we played through this time around either expanded simple chases to become a full-blown firefight or re-created sections of the movie that were left on the cutting-room floor.
Science Center Interior, the first of two levels we played, falls into the former category. This one expands on the scene from Casino Royale in which Bond chases after Dimitrios in Miami, but in this case the path goes through a science museum. Quantum of Solace uses the Call of Duty 4 engine, so the gun combat feels very much like a Call of Duty game, though with a cover system added in that switches you instantaneously from a first- to a third-person view.
There are times when Bond will need to get clever with his surroundings to maximize efficiency. Observant players will find clues tipping them off about certain points of interest that make progressing through a level much easier. In the Science Center level, you can find a museum employee's cell phone with a text message explaining the poor state of certain light fixtures and raised exhibit pieces. What this means for you is that you have the option to charge through each level or to get surgical by shooting down Leonardo da Vinci's screw-shaped helicopter to take out five guys at once.
The Montenegro Train level, based on a scene that was cut from Casino Royale, has a very different feel. Rather than being in a setting with lots of objects to interact with, Bond must fight through cramped train cars to make it to his goal. At one point you'll find yourself in a windowless freight car in order to protect yourself from a passing train filled with armed thugs. In this scene, the dark freight car gradually fills with light as bullets pierce the steel exterior, leaving a series of holes growing ever closer to your hiding spot. At another point, you'll be out in the open on an unsheltered car attempting to force your way through the punishing wind. This part is especially difficult because you can be blown back if you take a moment to stop and shoot at the enemies hiding behind storage crates. Alongside the cover system, these physics-heavy moments are examples of how Treyarch is aiming to expand upon the typical Call of Duty style of combat.
After blasting our way through these two single-player levels, we took a look at a mode in which you don't play as Bond. Rather than choosing individual characters from the Bond movies like in the GoldenEye game, the standard-bearer for Bond multiplayer, Quantum of Solace places you in one of two teams: Mi6 operatives and mysterious thugs. In our session, we played some standard Deathmatch and Golden Gun. The latter is similar to the classic mode from GoldenEye, but in this case the gun shoots explosive rounds that don't necessarily kill with one hit--though like the old mode there is only one of these guns, so everyone is chasing the man with the golden gun, as it were.
There's an upgrade system similar to the one in Call of Duty 4. Instead of progressing through a series of ranks and levels, you'll earn credits for performing well in combat. These credits can then be used to purchase gadgets, such as flak jackets to boost your health and camouflage to help you blend in a little better. It's a much more free-moving upgrade system than Call of Duty 4's, and it lets you customize your character through a route that's more rooted in your own choosing.
James Bond: Quantum of Solace is scheduled for release on November 4. You can expect to see it available on every major platform.