by Keaton Arksey
previewed on PC
I spy a spy with my little eye
If someone asked ten people to describe their vision of a spy, nine of those people would probably describe a well dressed gentleman with a British accent who travels the world to exotic locales, seducing beautiful femme fatales and stopping villains from destroying the polar ice caps or what-have-you. That is just how well ingrained James Bond has become in pop culture. Ian Fleming’s timeless novels have inspired various movies and videogames, creating classics like 1963’s From Russia With Love and the N64’s GoldenEye. So when Activision decided to celebrate 007’s legacy, it was pretty obvious that celebrating only one Bond movie would not be enough.
2012 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, not to mention the upcoming 23rd Bond film Skyfall in October, so the timing could not be better. Developer Eurocom has experience with the Bond franchise as well, developing the remake of GoldenEye 007 for Wii, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. While the shadow of the N64 classic undoubtedly looms over any Bond video game, 007 Legends may eke its own niche. Legends tackles six Bond films, adding an overarching narrative that ties them all together into a nice little package. So far, Activision has revealed four of the films the game’s single player missions will be based on. Moonraker will serve as the first mission, followed by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Licence to Kill and Die Another Day are also going to appear in the game. In a nice bit of marketing, Activision will release a new level based on Skyfall as free DLC a few weeks after the film’s release. The remaining two movies that will ship on the disc remain a mystery.
Guns n’ gadgets galore
While the basic gunplay will be familiar to anyone with experience with the über-popular Call of Duty series, 007 will have access to his classic arsenal of cool gadgets. Eurocom is modernizing every film, allowing current Bond Daniel Craig to serve as both the model and voice throughout the game, while fancy gadgets like a smartphone that can locate hidden electrical sources or act as radar can make appearances in 1979’s Moonraker. Although fans of classic Bonds like Sean Connery and Roger Moore may be upset that they will not appear in-game, as will anyone hoping for a Sonic Generation-esque meeting between past and present Bonds and teaming up, there can only be one Bond, and the dreamy Mr. Craig will just have to fulfill that role. Classic villains and henchmen will appear too, such as Jaws, along with Bond girls like Miss Goodhead (I swear, I did not make that up).
Bond will have some rudimentary stealth sections as well, with three colour-coded statuses; white (hidden), yellow (suspicious), and red (they are probably shooting at you). Splinter Cell, this is not, but as a break from the usual all out action sequences, they should provide a welcome change of pace. Legends will also incorporate an experience system into the single player campaign, with XP awarded for the completion of special objectives, which the player uses to purchase upgrades for gadgets, weapons, and Bond himself. Depending on how the upgrades are incorporated, they might serve to create different play styles, though, one would imagine, the threat is always that the upgrades are either ineffective or too easy to come by.
The Bonds that bind
Multiplayer will also play an important role in the game, though Activision and Eurocom have kept relatively tight lipped about it. Expect an experience similar to Goldeneye 007, with now genre standard XP progression and unlockables. Additionally, the speculation and buzz surrounding which levels and characters will make an appearance is quite exciting. Will the game stick with the six films that make up the campaign, or will it branch out and include locales and characters from other Bond movies in the multiplayer component? The release of a Skyfall level post-launch possibly indicates that, should the demand exist, more content can come down the line.
Eurocom has their work cut out for them. With six beloved movies, fans will no doubt pour over every detail. But with their experience in bringing a classic to a new generation, they should be more than up to the task. With classic villains, missions, and gadgets, along with a multiplayer experience sure to evoke some memories of late night split-screen sessions, 007 Legends certainly looks like it could be the grandest Bond game yet.