007 Legends (Xbox360)

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Bond is back in 007 Legends, and he’s got some fancy gadgets and weapons to keep us entertained. It’s the 50th anniversary of James Bond, and this first-person shooter from developer Eurocom features material from five of the existing films along with new content from the upcoming Skyfall Bond film.

During gamescom I attended a presentation by Eurocom’s Rob Matthews where he delved into some of the story and demoed 007 Legends for us. The plot is a combination of six Bond films that have been brought together to form an overarching story. Going into gamescom it was already revealed that Moonraker and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would be two of the films making up the game story. During the gamescom week we learnt that License to Kill and Die Another Die, the 16th and 20th Bond films respectively, would also feature in 007 Legends. The fifth film to feature in the game is being kept a closely guarded secret for the time being, whilst the sixth film Skyfall, which is yet to come out on the film circuit, will be released as downloadable content post launch.

007 Legends Screenshot 1

Each movie represents a mission in the game which is broken down into further levels. The original films have been used to inspire each level in terms of location and costume design. They are featured in a present day setting to give Bond access to modern technology, which makes perfect sense to me but is bound to upset some. Daniel Craig is Bond throughout 007 Legends to create a necessary continuity, whilst other characters like Toby Stephens and Carey Lowell both return to their roles as Gustav Graves from Die Another Day and Agent Pam Bouvier from License to Kill to lend authenticity and intensity to the experience.

007 Legends cannot be just another first-person shooter, and faces the tough challenge of keeping true to the Bond experience while having to offer something that is fresh and entertaining. To help with this the team from Eurocom have worked very closely with the EON production team that are behind the films. They have even gone as far as to engage the services of Bruce Feirstein to work on the 007 Legends script, who has a proven pedigree through this work on three of the Bond film scripts.

007 Legends Screenshot 2

We got to see a couple of minutes of gameplay from License to Kill and here is what I can share with you. Bond has a smartphone that can function as ‘binoculars’ to zoom in to spot enemies. You can also use the radar feature, and we saw how it was possible to detect enemy movements so Bond could avoid enemies by tracking their routes. When the guards were stationed so you couldn’t sneak past, out popped the pen dart gun. There are different types of darts you can load into the pen and we saw the shocker dart in action. It did indeed shock the surprised guard and let us get through undetected. There are also distraction and tranquilizer darts to confuse and disarm enemies.

Next up the melee combat was demonstrated and this Bond, being Daniel Craig, is no slouch when it comes to hand to hand combat. The animations were very fluid and the action intense. It looks like plenty of work has gone into the combat system and should provide a nice respite from the death by gun and gadget alternatives.

007 Legends Screenshot 3

Our second section of the demo came from the Die Another Day mission, with ice being the predominate feature in the landscape. The pistol with a silencer was put to great use to take out some unsuspecting guards. Following this out came the smartphone and with it we were able to detect the power source for the security camera system and disable the surveillance. This is where the stealth mode ended and chaos erupted as our demonstrator wanted to show us how you could approach the level in a full assault mode. Using everything at his disposal from grenades, guns, proximity mines and melee take downs, he literally fought for his life as he moved through the level. When you are detected you draw significant aggro from the enemies that we had not encountered whilst playing ‘stealthily.’ So you can go all out action, but you had best have your wits about you, or you’ll spend most of your time restarting the level.

What Bond experience would be complete without a good car chase. Die Another Day delivers a superb car chase experience on the ice and you get to experience this in 007 Legends. We could only sit back and watch the demonstration as the vehicles did their best to grip to the ice whilst dodging obstacles and rocket fire. It looked like plenty of fun and ended with an epic explosion and Bond ramping the car into a cargo plan just as it takes off. Yes please, I’ll take a copy.

007 Legends Screenshot 4

Cut to later in the mission and its boss fight time between Bond and Gustav Graves. Sadly this is where my excitement slammed into a brick wall as not only did I witness a boss meter but quick time events (QTE’s) were unfolding before my eyes. It’s a matter of personal preference, and I’m just not a fan of QTE’s especially when Eurocom have done so much work on giving Bond a robust melee attack system. There are probably good reasons this approach has been decided upon, but I don’t like it.

When you are not thick in the action or engrossed in the story, you can explore the secondary missions, gather intelligence or seek out bonus content. 007 Legends features a fully integrated experience (XP) system in the game. You’ll earn XP and can spend this on upgrading your weapons, gadgets or Bond’s physical abilities. The game certainly looks to allow people to play through casually, yet offers layers of depth to allow those who want to delve deeper to get more out of the experience.

007 Legends Screenshot 5

The gameplay is primarily built to be tackled as a stealth game, so you want to be as quiet as possible and use your gadgets to full effect. If guards spot bodies you leave behind they will raise the alarm, so if you are trying to be stealthy don’t leave your victims out in plain sight. We did get to see the alternate of just shooting and blowing up everything in sight which looked intense. You can go in guns blazing but it’s really going to test your abilities and death will come quicker this way.

Multiplayer has local four player split-screen mode on offer which comes as no surprise given its inclusion in prior Bond games. You can also go online for 12 player competitive play. The singleplayer Mi6 Ops Missions mode, that was made available in Golden Eye: Reloaded, is back in 007 Legends. This time around you can also play missions as villains and some of your favourite characters. There looks to be tons of replay value in this mode, and if you are even moderately competitive the online leaderboards will keep you practicing.

007 Legends Screenshot 6

007 Legends launches on the 16th October 2012 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. It is looking like a solid Bond experience with plenty of charm to it. I’m not usually one for stealth but 007 Legends may just get me to practice my sneaking. If it turns out that I just can’t resist the urge to blow everything up, that looks to be perfectly acceptable as well.

Watch the trailer from gamescom below, or browse through our previous coverage for more information about the game.