007 Legends – E3 Preview
I’ve been expecting you, Mr Bond. You haven’t had much of a presence in the gaming scene in the last few years, with one recent foray being the dreadful Quantum of Solace title that somehow contained more content from the less action-packed preceding film, Casino Royale. Still, you didn’t let that weaken your resolve, and you went back and somehow stopped Goldeneye again… twice. Now I have a trap altogether more fiendish for you: you must re-live past memories of your old missions before embarking on your new one… and the best part is, you can’t stop me! Mwahahahahaha!
Whether you think of him as suave or outdated, James Bond is a British institution who has managed to outlast nearly everything else around him, and over the last fifty years has given us some of cinema’s greatest delights and biggest disappointments. Eurocom, the team responsible for bringing us Goldeneye Reloaded, are back with a new title that will re-live five classic missions from Bond’s heaving repertoire, with a free downloadable level later down the line based on the upcoming Skyfall. The MI6 Ops introduced in Reloaded will continue in Legends, with missions not just for Bond, but for his companions and other members of the films that will be featured. 007 Legends is a chance for us to re-live epic Bond moments and immerse ourselves in the history of the character, and for now, we’d be looking at the only confirmed film thus far: Moonraker. While many view the film as one of the more gimmicky or weak entries in the series, thanks to the second half which saw Bond go into space, Eurocom have seen a perfect setting to kick off the game.
Each film that is tackled within the game will feature multiple chapters based around key events within that film. The demo we saw was of the chapter wherein Bond infiltrates Drax’s base and attempts to discover his evil plot, and this is where we saw how potentially diverse the gameplay can be. The developers have learned plenty from their time with Reloaded, allowing them to make the stealth sections more robust; enemies will have status bars above their head, with white meaning they’re unaware, yellow suspicious and red means that they’ve found you and are shooting at you, though you’d probably be able to tell from the hail of gunfire heading your way.
A new gadget allows you to ping most of the surrounding guards as well, meaning that your route ahead can be more meticulously planned, or casually strolled through with guns blazing. Most of the game will allow you to choose whether you want to be stealthy like Bond or gung-ho like any other hero, but there will be sections where being caught will be an instant fail, or where action is the only recourse.
As Legends updates and modernises the featured films, new gadgets will begin to enter the fray. One of these is a smartphone, which will allow Bond to send pictures to HQ, but no word on whether he can update his Twitter account. The other we saw was something called the distraction dart; a weapon concealed in Bond’s pen that allows him to, as the name implies, distract the guards in order to separate and divide them and thus dispatch them more efficiently. It also comes with tranquiliser darts, allowing you to subdue civilians who may impede your path without killing them, seeing as 007 isn’t often one to kill in cold blood. Fans of Goldeneye’s difficulty-based tier of objectives are in luck, as the harder difficulties will give you more tasks to complete before level’s end, but they’re not obligatory on the easier settings. As well as additional missions, the game is filled with mini-challenges like scoring a number of headshots or a certain amount of kills with a particular weapon, granting more experience for Bond, which can then be used to buy new gadgets and skills.
Bond is a man who rarely travels alone in his adventures, as things inevitably result in our hero picking up the femme fatale du jour to accompany him. With this in mind, Eurocom made sure to create a competent AI for your allies, so they’re easily able to protect themselves rather than it turning into extended escort missions. You’ll also be confronted with situations where your regular guns and wiles won’t work, for example, when Jaws enters the room and causes an extended QTE sequence, with Bond having to make use of the environment around him in order to put a quick end to the lanky villain.
Back to the action, and we saw that even though the game is in a first person perspective, it’s still relatively easy to snap behind cover, with the added ability to peer over without committing to exiting it, allowing you to get a better idea of your surroundings before proceeding. As Bond made his way through the base, he picked up a Moonraker Laser, but not as we know it. It looked nothing like, sounded nothing like, nor fired anything like the one featured in the film, and basically seemed like a re-skinned machine gun at best, which was more than a bit of a letdown, but still, loads of blue flying through the atmosphere managed to spice up the otherwise drab surroundings.
As the live demo ended, I didn’t know how to feel about what I’d seen; while they’d definitely created a more polished experience and learned their lessons from Goldeneye Reloaded, there wasn’t too much for Bond fans like me to get overly enthused about. The gadgets are a great touch, and the mix of stealth and action will hopefully reward those who want to play more like 007 and less like Zorin, but there’s a weird flip-flopping in terms of the licensing; likenesses of characters like Jaws and Drax are intact, whilst some weapons don’t even resemble their intended namesake. Additionally, those hoping that multiple interpretations of Bond would be included will be sorely let down, as every film will be re-interpreted with Daniel Craig, dispelling the rumour that James Bond is just a name rather than a specific person. It definitely isn’t the most groundbreaking shooter around, but I’m at least positive that Eurocom’s devotion to the franchise will provide an enjoyable experience that will pay a decent tribute to fifty years of the world’s greatest spy.
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