Bond Is Back

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Action Packed Game Follows Awesome Movie

At the end of the Casino Royale movie, perennial spy James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) shoots Mr. White and captures him. The game Quantum of Solace (QoS) starts right at that moment, and I wish the movie did as well.

The game opens with a shootout through the garden and into the house where Bond attempts to get some data off a computer. A self destruct goes off and he leaves the house to recapture Mr. White, who crawled away and was subsequently taken to a helicopter. Bond takes down the helicopter and once again captures Mr. White and throws him into the trunk of his car. The game then goes into a cut scene of a car chase (which is where the movie opens). Though I might be a bit biased here, I played the game on my Xbox 360 before I saw the movie, but I thought the game had a better opening that helped explain the overall plot a bit better. (Don’t worry, there are no other spoilers ahead.)

I am always a little bit wary of games based on movies. My typical feeling is that they are generally a good game concept that was rushed though production to be released when the movie is released. And we all know this happens a lot.

I did get that feeling from Quantum of Solace, but I didn’t think it had as large an impact as I have seen in other movie-to-game disasters.

I am going to put this up to three things. Number one being the use of the CoD 4 engine, which is amazing. Two is that the more thug, less gadgetry style of the Daniel Craig movies tends to lend itself to a good shooter. And three is that I think the developer did a good job with the adaptation of the movie to the game, and as a bonus the added some good multiplayer options.

QoS is mostly a first person shooter, but when you duck into cover it switches to a 3rd person view where you actually see Bond taking cover and where you can better target the plethora of bad guys from a moderate position of safety.

You enter cover, in my case on the 360, by pressing the A button and when you are standing at door jams you can switch to the other side by pressing the A button again. So flipping into a room and taking a bunch of shots, only to flip back out before you receive a hail of return fire (assuming you left anyone alive) is a cool move you will repeat often.

You have a good selection of bond-sequel weapons that you can select from including pistols, machineguns, rifles with red dot scopes, and sniper rifles. For close in combat you can attach a silencer to your pistol or move in close and take out bad guys with a good ole melee takedown. The new bond is a heck of a close quarters fighter, and that is displayed in the game well. This is done by getting close and when prompted, hitting the right button in a "Simon says" type fashion that makes the game challenging without you actually having to learn how to become a black belt. Longer fights are done the same way with more button pressing events. They use the same system for hacking into computers, which again is well done, especially on a console platform where there is no keyboard, but you still need to mimic the feel of having one in front of you.

I also thought they did a good job of matching the scenes in the movie to the game. I have to say having played the game though first, I was looking for certain scenes in the movie that never showed up. But that is not totally unexpected. If they didn’t add some scenes the game would be shorter than it already is, which is about five hours. On the plus side, I never feet like I was back in the same place over and over again.

I wish the same could be said about the bad guys. After a while it just seems like you are fighting the same nameless grunts over and over again. But then again I guess you are as they all work for the same organization, so still it gets old fast. I guess they are all pulling uniforms and equipment from the same pool.

I have to say, the explosions when you shoot a conveniently placed canister of gas, do not look very good at all. I am however pleased to report that Daniel Craig lends his voice to the game, as does M (Judi Dench) which really gets you into the role of Bond, James Bond.

And I am happy to report that they did actually include multiplayer with this game as that is not always guaranteed. Also I am happy to report that there are some good options available as well as a way to unlock other weapons. Beyond the standard of multiplayer options some unique options including one with a single Bond on the map with two lives and everyone else is an Organization agent with one life. And another one is a moe where everyone is trying to get to the golden gun, the wielder of which can kill anyone with a single shot. So what if that concept came from a different movie, sort of. It’s still fun.

I may be overly generous with my review of this game, but it has been forever since I have played a decent James Bond game. Anyone remember how bad Nightfire was? So I was really pleased when this game was not a horrid stinker.

I’m not saying that this is anywhere on the level of the other games out right now like Fallout 3 or Gears of War 2, but as Bond games and especially movie-to-game ports go, I was really impressed. Played before or after watching the movie, it will extend the whole Bond experience. You’ll be shaken, but not quite stirred.

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