It's a curious thing that some of the most popular movie, TV and book franchises end up being made into the most tedious games. 007 Legends (released 2012) falls squarely into this category. It is woefully uninspired and lacking in any real substance. The previous game in the franchise, James Bond 007: Blood Stone released in 2010, was far from a masterpiece, but shines compared to the ineptitude of 007 Legends. Developers Eurocom seemed to have completely misjudged what it is about this particular intellectual property that the public enjoy. The results are a bastard hybrid FPS with just a thin veneer of 007 added to the proceedings. Curiously enough, this was the last game that Eurocom made before going out of business. Subsequently, 007 Legends has vanished from shelves and has been withdrawn from Steam. However, I still have a “hard” copy for the PC.
So where exactly does 007 Legends go wrong? Well to start it’s a formulaic FPS, with arbitrary stealth mechanics. The game engine is inadequate, and the game looks dated (even within the context of 2012). Like James Bond 007: Blood Stone there is a reliance on your in-game smart phone to crack security doors and hack computer systems. It’s hardly the most exciting gadget from Q branch. But it’s the narrative that’s the biggest failing. The game takes classic storylines from past Bond movies and re-imagines them as previous missions undertaken by the Daniel Craig's incarnation of Bond. Unfortunately taking such iconic enemies such as Goldfinger, Odd Job and Jaws out of their respective context doesn't really work. The banter and interaction all seem contrived and modernising these stories robs them of their period charm. It’s a real shame because there’s a grain of a good idea present, but its lost due to the poor realisation.
007 Legends is a who's who from the last fifty years of the Bond franchise, but its utterly lacking in emotional impact. Rather than capturing the spirit of Bond it simply feels like a 007 themed mod for another game. Uninspired character animation, repetitive use of similarly designed locations and appalling AI, culminate in a very dull gaming experience. Like many others, I was very disappointed with 007 Legends upon release and six years on, a second play through has not improved my overall opinion. Many of the levels are so generic, I once again found myself trying to bypass or skip content by simply running to the next checkpoint. Overall, this is a text book example of a product born of think tanks, focus groups and bean counters, who confuse bullet point summaries with true understanding. It is hardly a surprise that this game killed the Activision Bond franchise stone dead. Its subsequent disappearance may indicate that there were long term repercussions from the rights holders.