Bond is back, for the 22nd time, and naturally heâ€™s got a video game in tow. Quantum of Solace reprises the events of the latest film, but because there was no game for the last Bond film, it also features the storyline of Casino Royale â€“ and even some events beforehand. So what youâ€™re treated to is a pretty comprehensive look into the adventures (so far) of Daniel Craigâ€™s secret agent.
Itâ€™s a truism that video game tie-ins to movies often stink, yet the Bond series is one of those rare franchises to feature one or more games that donâ€™t actually suck. The biggest example, of course, is GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64, which became one of the seminal console FPS titles â€“ and featured really fun multiplayer for its time. But that was over a decade ago, and games have progressed since then. So how does Quantum of Solace actually fare when compared to all the other latest shooters that have hit the market this year?
In general, this is a decent, solid title that does some things well, and some things badly. Letâ€™s start with the presentation, because itâ€™s the first thing youâ€™ll notice. You can tell the developers had some fun setting up the Bond â€˜feelâ€™ of this game â€“ from the opening title sequence to the level briefings, you feel firmly ensconced in James Bondâ€™s shoes. The graphics are more of a mixed bag. Some parts look really impressive, as youâ€™d expect from an engine that ran Call of Duty 4, but other parts look below par, particularly the explosions, of which there are many. Still, this game does a good job immersing you in Bondâ€™s world, something that is helped along by the awesome soundtrack.
Gameplay-wise, itâ€™s also a mixed bag. The basic shooter elements are done well â€“ there are just a few too many additions placed over the top that donâ€™t add much to the experience. The cover system is okay, but doesnâ€™t really much Gears of War for ease of use â€“ it feels a bit too sticky, and precious seconds can be spent standing in the open as you try and detach yourself and move to another piece of cover. Luckily, the AI isnâ€™t all that smart â€“ repetitive is probably the better word to use. After a while, youâ€™ll start to notice all the enemies doing much the same thing â€“ something that isnâ€™t helped by the relatively few character models used for the baddies.
Quick Time Events, all the rage in games right now, also make an appearance. But luckily, theyâ€™re done pretty well, and are generally used smartly. A nice touch is being able to sneak up on an enemy, engage him with a button press, and perform a short QTE to neutralize them. There are also a number of unlocking mini-games and the like that help to break up the action. And of course, seeing as youâ€™re meant to be a secret agent, some missions will have you evading security cameras and taking guards down silently â€“ something that brings Metal Gear Solid to mind.
This is the kind of game to play as a lead up to actually seeing the movie. The single player is fairly short â€“ about five or so hours if youâ€™re competent â€“ and yet is skewed pretty heavily towards the Casino Royale side of things.
Multiplayer may hold your attention a bit longer. There are a variety of modes to play through, including some â€“ such as Man With the Golden Gun â€“ that make a return from GoldenEye. In general, itâ€™s fun to run around with others and blast them, itâ€™s just hard to see how this will stand out from the pack for many people. Ironically, Call of Duty 4 is probably still more fun to play online.
This is a game with a number of mediocre elements, being released in a season already crowded with other shooters. However, the main thing it does well â€“ capture the spirit and fun of the Bond movies â€“ is enough to draw in a number of people. For this reason, Iâ€™d recommend renting it out to see if you enjoy it â€“ or go ahead and buy it if youâ€™re a crazy Bond fan.