Bigger and better than GoldenEye? Almost
James Bond is back to settle the score in Quantum of Solace: The Game. Introducing a more lethal and cunningly efficient Bond, the game blends intense first-person action with a unique third-person cover combat system that allows players to truly feel what it is like to be the ultimate secret agent as they use their stealth, precision shooting and lethal combat skills to progress through missions. Seamlessly blending the heart-pounding action and excitement of the upcoming “Quantum of Solace” feature film with the “Casino Royale” movie, the title propels players into the cinematic experience of international espionage. Based on the renowned Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare game engine that has been specifically engineered to immerse players in the Bond universe, Quantum of Solace: The Game delivers superior high-definition graphics, reactive AI and visually stunning locations inspired by locales portrayed in the films.
We all love GoldenEye and we all love Bond. It remains my favourite FPS of all time and while Quantum of Solace comes close to topping it, the classic N64 game remains supreme for a few reasons.
QoS used the COD 4 engine while implementing the Gears cover system, it sounds strange but it works, and it works well. The trouble is that it makes the game far too easy; you can just hide behind a wall or barrier and wait for the brainless AI to pop out to get shot. Your health also replenishes very quickly, eliminating any real challenge. Don’t get me wrong, I think the actual game itself is solid…it’s just a walk in the park for most.
The game mixes in FPS with third-person elements, including a few quicktime-events during fist fights. The QTE’s make the game even easier, making an absence of challenge for any hardcore FPS gamer. The levels are varied enough and stick close to the films, I especially loved a moment of Casino Royale where you must get back to your car after being drugged, it reminded me of driving drunk in GTA IV. There are some obvious gaps in the story where Bond goes on shooting sprees that you don’t see in the films, well there wasn’t all that much shooting in Casino Royale…so it makes sense to fill the levels with them as it would have been uneventful if they didn’t.
Controls are responsive and easy to get to grips with, diving for cover is simple as is popping out of it to take a shot. The 360 and PC versions have achievements for special conditions like shooting all satellite dishes on the roof of a level, remaining undetected during a section of a level and so on. It makes you see the level completely different from sneaking instead of going in guns blazing, it’s not unique but it does work for the most part.
The levels aren’t helped by the inclusion of so many explosive items that flash, so you always know where they are and how to deal with a big group of enemies. It’s just too easy; GoldenEye was the great game it was because it was insanely tough. No checkpoints, no reloading health bar, just one playthrough and the best of luck and skill needed. Quantum of Solace does the complete opposite, it has tons of checkpoints, a health bar that refills too quickly and no skill or luck is required to finish it. Mission objectives are fairly simple, usually resulting in a case of going to a location and killing all the enemies or activating a computer terminal.
Multiplayer is perhaps the game’s biggest triumph. GoldenEye only had local multiplayer and because there’s next to no chance of it appearing on XBLA/Virtual Console, Quantum of Solace’s multiplayer is the closest we’ll get to it. There are plenty of modes that will satisfy most. My favourite is a team match where one side hunts down Bond and the other tries to lure him to the safety point. It’s an absolute blast and I recommend it to anyone.
Visually, Quantum of Solace is fairly strong because of the COD 4 engine. It does have some pretty poor character models, but that’s about the only blemish in its presentation. Voice-acting is superb as it’s done by most of the cast from the films, although I don’t know how much is recycled and how much was recorded especially for the game. It does remain a good game to tie in with the film, something that’s incredibly rare today.
Even though its way too easy, I keep coming back to play Quantum of Solace. Why? It has its share of flaws but it’s a solid game underneath and has a really addictive multiplayer. It won’t topple GoldenEye, but it does a good job in representing the films on the next-gen systems. Bond is back and hopefully the next game will be even better.