007 Legends Impressions (PS3)

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond brand, Activision will be releasing 007 Legends, a new shooter that has Bond fighting his way through some of his most popular classic films. Set to hit store shelves the same day as the next Bond movie: Skyfall, this October 15th could leave fans with one action packed day.

007 Legends will star Daniel Craig as James Bond, in a modern take that will intertwine stories from the classic films over one single story-arc. On the disk there will be 5 Bond movie narratives that will take Bond to familiar locations around the world. Yet, set to release day and date of the game will be a free DLC pack, consisting of a 6th mission set in the world of Skyfall; which is rumored to be the finale of the game – something that if true could be problematic for those without internet access.

In the build shown at E3 2012, Bond was faced with taking down familiar foe, Jaws, in a recreation of the classic film, Moonraker. Using his trademark watch to temporarily detect all nearby enemies, and a dart pen that shot either a tranquilizer or distraction dart, Bond was able to quietly dispatch and sneak past groups of guards. In addition, players will be able to spend experience points to personalize their Bond, which can help him move undetected or improve his ability to dispatch countless foes. This level of customization has the potential to make this the most personalized Bond experience yet.

As the preview was not hands-on, it’s hard to specifically state how well 007 Legends handled, but for an alpha build it seemed to just meet expectations for a modern shooter. Frame rate ran stable with little to no jitter or texture pop in, and there were no signs of clipping issues. Although, once detected all enemies on the map would be instantly alerted to your presence and location. While not mandatory for all shooters, a game that includes stealth mechanics needs to include more than fundamental AI. Such a low reaching standard, is a problem that seems to inhibit this Bond shooter from all angles. Graphically, this game didn’t appear to be a showcase title, at all, as things like level design did not appear to be pushing the current hardware on many levels. With this generation coming to close within a few years, its hard to not notice games that just have not been able to produce the visual fidelity we have been spoiled by.

With this being a title set to celebrate the history of world’s greatest spy, the core aspect that could make this a must own title is dependent on how well the story is handled. Eurocom, in association with EON Productions Ltd., and MGM, the studios behind the Bond movies, have stated that this will be as authentic of an experience as possible. Yet, based on the build shown, it is difficult to tell if the story will be able to appease more than the die-hard James Bond fan. Given that the story will cover movies that millions have been watching for years, it is hard to get excited about old being the new – new.

As 007 Legends and its DLC will take place in an alternate world covering 6 movies in total, this could be a title for fans who have been left wanting to put on a tux for years. Yet, for anyone who barely knows who the MI5 are, this title has yet to show that is more than a standard FPS. Although, with months left on the development time, there is hope that this Bond title will end with a mission successful, and not just come and go without anyone noticing.