Quantum of Solace: The Game - PS3 - Review
It’s become quite the cliché when reviewing each subsequent James Bond game to say “It’s no GoldenEye.” The N64 classic has been the standard to which all of 007’s other gaming adventures have been held to.
With Quantum of Solace we have a new Bond in Daniel Craig, a new developer in Treyarch (of Call of Duty 3 fame), and it all runs on the engine featured in the acclaimed Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. All that being said, however, Quantum of Solace is still no GoldenEye. Despite all the things Quantum of Solace has going for it, one can’t help but feel like it’s all been done before, and done much better before at that.
Bond versus wildly firing exposed moron. I wonder who’ll come out on top of this one…
Quantum of Solace: The Game shoots through the stories of both Daniel Craig’s 007 debut, Casino Royale, and, of course, its sequel Quantum of Solace. And by ‘shoots through,’ I mean it flies by at such a rushed pace that it’s hard to imagine anyone could actually follow the plot here without being familiar with the films. But that’s what the movies are for, after all.
Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace’s gameplay only fares moderately better. It doesn’t take long to sense the repetition that makes up the bulk of the gameplay. Enter area, find cover, kill at least 10 token baddies, move to next area and repeat. The cover system works fairly well, but it also means that you have very little freedom in approaching the gunplay. Those who wish to run and gun will quickly regret it. The result is a mechanic that feels overused very quickly when almost every encounter requires you to find cover and methodically fire on the enemy. This formula is mildly shaken, but never stirred throughout the entire experience. There are a few stealth-oriented parts, which are decent, and a strange level that has you guiding a poisoned Bond to his Aston Martin from Casino Royale. But it almost always boils down to the same fights in different areas.
It also doesn’t help that enemy intelligence is pretty poor, as they will routinely take cover with their head obviously exposed, or even leave cover to present an easier target. And they have no problem planting themselves right in front of explosive canisters, which have no business being in almost every single room.
“I knew we shouldn’t have taken cover behind this obviously explosive canister!”
But despite the unimaginative level design, the mechanics are pretty solid. The game controls well and the cover system is certainly adequate. I do wish the game had a dedicated button for detaching from cover, though. It requires you to push the control stick away from cover at just the right angle, and this can be awkward.
I also wish the game broke up the fairly standard shooter play with more major mini-game-based hand-to-hand fights. These pop up a few times throughout the game and are a lot of fun. The choreography is certainly worthy of the films and they give a certain theatrical flare to the otherwise standard gameplay.
Graphically Quantum of Solace is also a mixed bag. Some of the environments look great, while others look very basic. And although Daniel Craig’s player model look very good, none of the others are overly impressive. But it’s really the animation that sinks this ship. Enemy death animations are downright bad. Not just because they are incredibly repetitive, but they just look terrible and don’t seem to have any bearing on where the enemy has been shot or with which weapon. Add underwhelming visual effects, such as explosions and fire, and the end result is a disappointing visual experience overall.
Best action sequence ever! In the movie, that is…
Sonically the game does fare a bit better. The voice acting is uniformly solid thanks to much of the film’s cast lending their talents to create an authentic feel. The game also receives a very solid score, despite its typical overuse of the famous James Bond theme. Sound effects are about average, but there are certainly more positives here than negatives.
Quantum of Solace also sports an online multiplayer mode, and even if it lacks the depth of many current online shooters, it’s unquestionably fun. There are a variety of modes from standard free-for-all death match to cooperative based play, and all of them are simple and fun.
Overall, Quantum of Solace is a game that doesn’t really impress, but certainly doesn’t offend either. Treyarch shows hints of some good concepts here and there, but like most other licensed products, the game feels rushed and lacks the level of polish one would hope for.
Review Scoring Details for Quantum of Solace: The Game
Running on the Call of Duty 4 engine, Quantum of Solace features predictably solid first-person core mechanics. The cover system also works well. The level design on the other hand is about as standard as it comes and the enemy intelligence leaves a lot to be desired.
The visuals are very much a mixed bag here. The environments range from very good looking to downright bland. Daniel Craig’s model looks good, but other characters look awkward. Animations are almost uniformly bad, however, with the enemy deaths looking particularly poor.
Sound effects are fairly standard overall, but where the sound really shines is in the voice acting and music department. Many of the film actors (including Daniel Craig) lend their voices to the game, and Christopher Lennertz’s score is quite good, even if he does fall into the trap of overusing the classic Bond theme.
The game features a variety of difficulty settings. The default was certainly no pushover, however, especially if you don’t take cover!
The gunplay certainly works, but the game is seriously lacking in variety. Other than a few stealth bits, the game is far too content with simply putting you into a room, filling the room with enemies and repeating. The story is also presented in a way that is nearly incoherent without having seen the film.
Multiplayer consists of a wide variety of modes, all of which are light and fun. You won’t find any special rewards or rankings here. It’s standard, but undeniably fun.
Quantum of Solace: The Game is actually well above average where licensed material is concerned. As a shooter on its on merits, however, it’s a fairly standard experience helped a bit because it features James Bond.