007 Legends Review

A cast of five famous Bond villains conspire against you in 007 Legends, but the uninspired gameplay is your true nemesis.

by

Eurocom's 007 Legends is a game about falling. We see it in the way the opening minutes feature Daniel Craig's James Bond plummeting into a river after a friendly sniper accidentally shoots him off a speeding train, and we experience it in the way this latest installment in the long-running franchise reveals a fall from the innovations of 1997's GoldenEye 007 to Legends' tired mimicry of Call of Duty's core gunplay. This is a game that gets to run with Bond's legacy from half a century of cinema and yet stumbles on its face everywhere it should have broken into a sprint. It trips over shoddy AI and laughable stealth mechanics, it slips on boring boss fights and near-absent exposition, and while it benefits from decent multiplayer and challenge modes, these diversions never allow Legends to pick itself back up.

Know the context? If not, Legends never really tells you.

It's a shame, since 007 Legends has some rich source material to work with. Legends' patchwork story draws from iconic films such as Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day, and Moonraker, but with Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and other famous agents swapped out for the dour mug of Daniel Craig, pitifully voiced by Timothy Watson. Some iconic moments lurk about the carnage (including Goldfinger's famed "I expect you to die" speech while a laser threatens Bond's privates), but they feel forcibly stuffed into the humdrum, repetitive levels and their mediocre gunplay. True, there are flashes of fun, such as a firefight outside the gates of Fort Knox, but it doesn't take long to realize that every level invariably involves sending Bond into a famous enemy's lair with guns blazing, using his often anachronistic smartphone to hack or capture data with tedious minigames, and then capping off the level with a quick-time fistfight against the likes of Oddjob or Franz Sanchez.

That's not to say that Eurocom doesn't make a few attempts to add some variety to the gameplay, but they're halfhearted at best, and taken together, they easily constitute the game's worst moments. It's most apparent in Legends' simple stealth mechanics, which consist of little more than crouching and walking quietly, and the failure of the concept becomes all too apparent as soon as you off a thug and realize that you can't do anything with his body. Therefore, the stealth sequences play as though on a timer, with Bond picking off as many enemies as he can with a silenced weapon or his one-hit melee punches before a patrolling guard stumbles across one of the bodies.

In most cases, in other words, you're probably better off just going in with guns blazing anyway. The only complication is that 007 Legends includes mandatory stealth sequences that strip Bond of usable weapons and end in instant failure if he's seen by any guard. That might not be such a bad idea, were it not for the fact that Bond has no way to peek around corners (although he can peek over ledges, provided you can get the prompt to work).

Even infiltrating the amazing lairs of Bond villains is boring in 007 Legends.

Yet at least with the stealth mechanics, there's still a dash of skill involved. That's why it's so disappointing that the aforementioned fisticuffs are so bland; you can likely go through every one the campaign throws at you without ever seeing an enemy get a hit in. In theory, at least, the ability to use your controller's trigger to avoid incoming blows renders these fights a bit more complex than the average quick-time event, but the prompts to pummel your opponent with the analog sticks last long enough that you're not likely to miss in the first place. Even the most challenging sequences last less than half a minute.

Repeat this scenario for five hours, and you've experienced 007 Legends' campaign. It's an unfulfilling slog, particularly since levels spend little to no time on exposition out of an apparent conviction that Legends' players have seen all the movies anyway, and it's made all the worse by the way the action comes to a dead halt after the Moonraker level. It won't always be thus--the idea is to release the Skyfall episode as downloadable content around the time of the film's theatrical release in early November--but Legends gives you little reason to look forward to capping off this hodgepodge saga. The visuals look as dated as some of the early Bond movies, the enemy AI sometimes runs into walls or fires directly into obstacles, and the frame rate occasionally dives into what feels like the single digits.

If 007 Legends has any redeeming quality, it's in its multiplayer mode. Gone is the tiresome stealthy gameplay of the campaign; instead, this mode has 12 arenas for 8 to 12 players that focus on such Bond-themed objectives as killing enemy players with Goldfinger's golden gun or retrieving data from a downed spy plane, all while capering around as iconic Bond personalities. It's a pity, then, that there's no one around. Only a week after Legends' release, the servers are consistently empty, which makes the return of the beloved four-player split-screen mode from GoldenEye 007: Reloaded all the more worthwhile. Decent, too, is Legends' Challenge mode with its specific objectives, which adds some meaning and urgency to campaign levels that were too dull in their own right.

International espionage? There's an app for that.

To say that 007 Legends is a disappointment is to be kind, especially after Eurocom's commendable efforts with last year's GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. Legends could have been a memorable release that reminds us why we've loved Ian Fleming's famous spy for more than 50 years, but somehow it manages to earn its place as what may be the most lackluster Bond game to date. Missed opportunities cower in every corner, ranging from an irreverence toward the subject matter in the disjointed story to the absence of familiar voices, and the gameplay feels like it started life as an amateur Bond-themed Call of Duty mod. The options offered by the multiplayer and challenge modes might entice some of the most devoted Bond fans, but for the majority of players, this seemingly rushed world won't be enough.

The Good
Local, split-screen multiplayer mode can be fun
The Bad
Horrible stealth mechanics
Punch-Out-style boss fights are dull
Lackluster presentation
Story is hard to follow if you're unfamiliar with the movies
3.5
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for 007 Legends

About the Author

/ Staff

Leif Johnson (pronounced "Layf") is a freelance writer whose works have appeared on GameSpot, IGN, PC Gamer, Official Xbox Magazine, GameTrailers, and a host of other publications. He still considers GameSpot a "home" of sorts, though, as he got his foot in the door through GameSpot's blogging platform. He lives in Chicago.

Discussion

1 comments
Travian1
Travian1

A little hard on the game perhaps? A score as low 3.5 would imply the game is bordering on being broken and unplayable. It is playable, but not quite as good as some previous James Bond games because it is a bit short and bland; however, there is still some fun to be had.

kypros2912
kypros2912

I have 007 Legends on PC. From where I can download Skyfall Missions?

Ezioprez9709
Ezioprez9709

Real shocker, thought it would be good :(

GoldenEye2010
GoldenEye2010

I love how amazing GoldenEye was... then this.

waterproof9
waterproof9

Wow, had no idea this was going to get such terrible reviews.  This WAS on my wish list.  I might just play it for free if I can get my hands on one that no one wants.  LOL

Xero1246
Xero1246

Jeezzzz Activision ruined Bond games in my opinion...give it back to EA please!!!

malofflebehemit
malofflebehemit

James bond rules!! BUT THIS GAME BLOWS DOGS FOR QUARTERS MAAAAAAAAAAN

Derugs
Derugs

Lol ... GARBAGE just like the movies.  ALL OF THEM LOL ~ 

KD35RW0JH13
KD35RW0JH13

Ha Postal 2 is better than this crap.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

I don't know if I should laugh but it does warrant a podcast in how this game became a blockbuster bust. It does follow in the same vein from Goldeneye 007 from the Wii then reloaded on to PS3 and Xbox360. Too bad this game can get into the thick too fast too quickly. Like Zelda Skyward Sword and Resident Evil 6, this review deserves an explanation to this horrible crash.

bgghgubcjhgknjk
bgghgubcjhgknjk

One of the points here is invalid, hard to follow if you haven't followed the movies, this game is an anniversary game for bond, if you haven't seen some of the best movies of all time why bother with a bond game at all?

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

Ah well, so much potential...better stick to Goldeneye.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

This could have been such a great game, full of awesome diversity. And it's not like they were missing imagination, all they had to do is watch the damn movies even for more than once and take notes. Maybe they did just that, but what the hell is this? I have this feeling that everything Activision touches demands that they have some sort of graphical signature, a storytelling watermark, as in every game has to resemble the latest Call of Duty. Eurocom, I fear for what will happen to you!

Metamania
Metamania

It makes me want to play Goldeneye 007 Reloaded more than 007 Legends. 007 Legends is a failure when it comes to stealth. It's hard to get past enemies or cameras and it always forces you to be involved in gunfights that you don't need to be in at all. It's also frustrating to deal with the enemies's incredible accuracy and how they can nail you down each and every time. 007 Legends is, by far, the worst Bond game I've played to date.

immortality20
immortality20

Man I'm glad I bought Doom 3 BFG Edition over this, I was holding both in my hands! I really wanted this to be a good game. Hope Activision realizes they need a good budget and engine for their next instalment. Such a shame, it was a cool concept.

4quarters
4quarters

Why do you mostly show PS3 box art on crappy games.....check the history of games you score under 5, I'll bet 75% are Ps3 and not the XBOX art.....just sayin

mystic_knight
mystic_knight moderator

LOL i love how thereis an xperia in this, did sony, have any vested interest in this game?

 

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

Yeah. When Peirce Bronson signed off as 007, the games and the films took a major nose dive. Just coincidence, but still.

woodyfr
woodyfr

That's what I call a disaster Miss Moneypenny !

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

 @xsonicchaos I can only assume Eurocom had less budget and a much tighter time frame to get this done 'cos Goldeneye Reloaded may not have been amazing, but it was at least fun to play. I got given a copy of this to play and even for free I can't bring myself to finish the thing.

immortality20
immortality20

 @4quarters Who the hell cares? It's on both systems. 360 owners aren't going to go "oh maybe cause it's not the 360 box art I'll just buy this game and it will be better"!

immortality20
immortality20

 @DinoBuster What are you talking about? The best Bond film (arguably) of all time was Casino Royale right after he left. He was only in one okay film and the rest were terrible.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

 @Suikogaiden I'm sorry, but that's not how it works. If you don't own the trademark, you don't have a say.The movies and games may suck, but the revenues are over the roof now more than ever. Quality doesn't matter any more.

AvatarMan96
AvatarMan96

 @Suikogaiden Have you even seen the Craig movies? Casino Royale was better than all the other Bond movies except Goldfinger

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

Casino Royale was boring, and Daniel Craig's Bond is the same James Bond from the novels - barely three-dimensional, which makes him the most boring Bond on screen yet.  And Craig's a brilliant actor, so it's a shame that he's not trying to flesh the character out.  So, the new Bond blows.

shalashaska88
shalashaska88

 @DinoBuster  See the problem is, no one would mind opinions. I Like Casino Royale, you like Goldfinger, that's fine. But saying it and passing it around like it's fact when it's not is just wrong. Look at your comment. Took a nose dive? Seriously? When fans and critics see Casino Royale as one of the finest Bond film in years? That's just ignorant. You don't like em? That's great, you have opinions. Doesn't make them true. 

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

 @shalashaska88  @immortality20 Yeah, I spelled his name wrong. My apologies. Here is an internet high five for you, as well as my sincere hopes that you calling me out on Gamespot has somehow made your day. I took the liberty of "liking" your comments about me being an ignoramus and reiterating the fact that I spelled the dude's name wrong in hopes that I can make you day even more. Thanks again.

 

 @immortality20 My comment was definitely more of an opinion. Casino Royale was a good film, but personally I don't like Daniel Craig as Bond, so I had a difficult time appreciating it, since the allure of the film is the Bond performance.

 

I'm definitley a more classic Bond fan. The Terrance Young/ Sean Connery films especially. I thought Roger Moore was a good Bond, and I was able to have fun with the Pierce Brosnan and Tim Dalton Bonds, however, I know they pale when compared to the classics.

007 Legends

  • Xbox 360
  • PlayStation 3
  • PC
  • Wii U
007 Legends ties together five classic Bond movies and his latest outing, Skyfall, in one video game.
ESRB
Teen
All Platforms
Blood, Drug Reference, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
Check out even more info at the 007 Legends Wiki on Giantbomb.com