Activision's 'Quantum of Solace' – What The Critics Said (Part II)
Late October/early November saw the release of the eagerly anticipated debut James Bond video game from Activision, Quantum of Solace around the world.
Combining the best of the Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace films into a single storyline and featuring the likeness of voice of Daniel Craig (along with many other actors from the two films), the game has a lot going for it.
The only question that remains: does Quantum of Solace live up to the hype?
Read on for a collection of various reviews from around the web to see what fans think of this latest addition to the 007 video game series… [Click here for Part I of this article]
ACTIVISION’S QUANTUM OF SOLACE: THE GAME
WHAT THE CRITICS SAID (PART II)
Emerges as one of the best Bond games of recent times (Xbox 360)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
The news that developer Treyarch was to handle the latest Bond movie game was welcome. With experience working on heavyweight first person shooters such as the Call of Duty series, fans have been hoping that the developer could bring some much-needed expertise to everyone’s favourite secret service agent. Since Bond’s definitive outing in Rare’s GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64, 007 has struggled in videogames, developers only too eager to lean on the merits of the mythology rather than work to make a compelling experience.
The good news is that Quantum of Solace, a game which is based on both the new Bond movie and his previous outing, Casino Royale, is solid and robust right from the off. Visually, the game is disappointing, looking more like a PlayStation 2 game than something created for a next generation machine. But underneath the graphics the excellent Call of Duty 4 engine hums meaning that that game’s legions of fans will settle into the game’s systems and controls seamlessly.
Bond fans will love it
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Quantum of Solace sees you playing Bond in a loosely based tie-in with the film of the same name while mixing in flashbacks to Casino Royale to lengthen the game out beyond the pivotal scenes in the movie.
The Casino Royale elements come into play as flashbacks rather than making you complete the Casino Royale film levels before moving on to QoS and you’ll get a good chunk of the way through QoS before you have to start chasing down the bomber in the opening sequence of Casino Royale.
Now in the hands of Activison rather than EA, the company has used the Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare game engine and tweaked it to let you get “immersed in the Bond universe”, and you’ll soon find that whether it’s in the single player campaign or the multiplayer levels that that immersion won’t take long.
The graphics aren’t Gears of War amazing, but they are certainly good enough to enjoy and the offering is improved by Activision’s attempt to make them look like characters from the film.
This coupled with voicing by the real actors and borrowing lines directly from the films means that the experience is certainly Bond through and through if not following the film blow by blow.
The storyline follows key themes of the movie, however due to a number of one on one chases in the film, Activision has had to throw in a number of extra bad guys wherever possible to give you a challenge. Without them it would be very dull and really just a series of chase sequences.
Quantum of Solace won’t be up for any “game of the year” awards, but it is a solid title (Xbox 360)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Quantum of Solace is the latest addition to the expansive library of James Bond video games. Like the films, 007 games’ quality has varied widely depending upon the era and team involved with its creation. Rare threw down the gauntlet with the creation of GoldenEye for the N64, and developers, whether they like it or not, will forever be judged by that litmus test.
With that in mind, 007 games have rarely been poor, From Russia with Love being the only real disappointment, but they also haven’t lived up to their progenitor. Treyarch and Activision are now at the development helm and looking to change this run of relative weakness. Unfortunately, they don’t exactly succeed on all fronts. The overly-cinematic approach, dodgy cover mechanic, nondescript baddies, and disjointed storytelling between chapters hold this title back. Nevertheless, Bond fans will be treated to solid visuals and shooter controls, and a rather expansive multiplayer component that help to rekindle interest in the Bond brand.
Quantum of Solace features a run-of-the-mill yet fairly satisfying single-player campaign. Daniel Craig’s rogue-like Bond suffers from hotheaded wrath and, consequently, is a grittier and more interesting video game character. Plowing through the attractive environments, players will find that this Bond is very capable; executing headshots with firearms and taking down marks with your bare hands is supremely easy. You will always feel like an elite badass, and that is very much appreciated. I found a handful of trouble spots with the campaign mode, but in spite of them all, I still had a lot of fun.
Lack of coherent story brings Quantum of Solace down (Xbox 360)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
James Bond has had something of a chequered past in video games, but Quantum of Solace brings him back with a certain amount of style. While the game based on the latest 007 movie is primarily a first-person shooter, the single-player mode incorporates stealth-action gameplay and a number of third-person sequences. The solo play is fun while it lasts, but it ends abruptly after only four or five hours. Fortunately the wealth of included multiplayer modes ensures that this remains an enjoyable Bond experience.
The majority of the gameplay feels conventional for a first-person shooter, though the optional stealth elements and the third-person cover mechanic definitely make things more interesting. When in cover, the camera zooms out and affords you a third-person view of the situation that makes popping out for headshots a relatively undemanding endeavour. This view also helps the game in more subtle ways; the satisfaction of controlling a character who is instantly recognisable as Bond as you pop out from cover and silently put a bullet in the back of a henchman’s head cannot be overstated.
When attempting to move around unnoticed, your silenced pistol serves you well–as long as you manage one-hit kills. Get careless, and you’ll find yourself under heavy fire and diving for cover as enemies are alerted to your presence and their reinforcements pile in. With that said, on lower difficulty settings it’s certainly possible to make it through many levels with guns blazing. But it’s just as much fun and ultimately more rewarding to play by moving carefully, sneakily taking your enemies down, disabling security cameras, and quietly hacking locked doors.
Quantum of Solace is not the second coming of Goldeneye (PS3)
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Blind Fire Bond
Like I mentioned, Quantum of Solace plays almost identical to Rainbow Six Vegas, meaning that it is a hybrid of first and third-person. When latched onto a cover position, the game switches to third-person and gives you a wider view of the situation. In cover, you’re protected from most gunfire and can dash to other cover points. The problem with the cover system is that the controls feel unresponsive and the dash detection of other cover points is finicky. When not in cover, the game switches to first-person and controls almost identically to Call of Duty 4. The only difference between the two is the melee attack in Quantum of Solace, which initiates a cinematic quick-time event featuring Bond smashing masked terrorists into silent submission.
Thankfully, the frustrating cover system is masked by how good the guns feel, and Quantum has quite the assortment of guns. From Bond’s famous Walther P99 to multiplayer’s Golden Gun, the selection is simply astounding with roughly a dozen different guns to choose from. In single-player, you’re automatically outfitted with guns, and have the choice of silencing weapons using the D-pad if you prefer a stealthier route. Multiplayer is much more robust and allows you to purchase new weapons that you can then use to customize with up to six different load outs.
Bond in the Movies
Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace falls flat on its face is in the story department. Bond fans looking to enjoy Quantum of Solace before it hits theaters on November 14th are going to be disappointed with the lack of substance from the upcoming film. More than two-thirds of the game is levels from Casino Royale, and the game should have been named as such. The game’s title, Quantum of Solace, is a big marketing tease that doesn’t quite deliver the promised goods.
Combining the two movies into one game creates a number of problems with the story’s pacing flow, creating a number of confusing scenarios. The Casino Royale missions are recognizable — even expanded upon like a director’s cut — but the titular Quantum of Solace moments have no context and are randomly thrown in between Casino Royale levels. I would have preferred Quantum of Solace to have been released the same day as the movie and have featured more levels from the film itself.
Relatively entertaining single-player experience, but the true power lies in the multiplayer modes (Xbox 360)
You’ll like it if…
…you went to college around the turn of the century and spent most, if not all, of your spare time playing GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64. I must have logged about 100 hours of multiplayer before I even played the single player version. The Quantum of Solace multiplayer set me awash with nostalgia.
The single player mode is pretty straightforward and entertaining. It’s linear in the sense that you have objectives that need to be accomplished before you can progress to the next part of a certain mission. How you accomplish those objectives is a little less rigid. In some situations, you’ll need to decide whether you want to sneak up on all your enemies and kill them quietly or if you’d rather start a big, fat fire fight.
Fans of the latest Bond movies will also likely appreciate that the game sticks pretty closely to the storylines of both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. If you’ve seen both films, you’ll recognize plenty of the dialogue and locations in the game.
From a technical standpoint, Activision did an excellent job with the visuals and gameplay. The game looks great, it runs smoothly, and it’s easy to pick up and master the intuitive control scheme. If you’ve played first person shooters before, it’ll be like riding a bike. The game uses the COD4 engine, which works really well.
Quantum of Solace is currently available on all platforms in the UK and US. Click here to order.
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