Level Up! We Review 007 Legends (Mania.com)
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
This week in Mania's Level Up!...
DUE OUT NEXT WEEK
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Sony) Rated T PS3, PS Vita
PlayStation All-stars Battle Royale is a crossover brawler style fighting game featuring over 20 first, and third party characters famous from a range of game franchises. Each playable character has its own unique set of attacks and moves, and the game features 1-4 player multiplayer mash-up action, both online and in local play at home. Additional features include, tournaments, rivalries, an award system designed to encourage competition, full 1080p HD output, a range of different PlayStation themed play environments, and full PlayStation trophy support.
PlayStation All-stars Battle Royale is a brawl on the PlayStation 3 system like nothing that has come before it. From Kratos to Sly Cooper, Sweet Tooth to PaRappa the Rapper, PlayStation characters from all over the gaming spectrum are brought together in a fighting adventure that's both easy to play, and hard to master. The game plays out across static and interactive Sony themed environments, and features local multiplayer support as well as the ability to take the battle online for competitive multiplayer action. Just a few of the game environments include: Dreamscape (LittleBigPlanet), Sandover (Jak and Daxter), Hades (God of War), and Metropolis (Ratchet & Clank).
Hitman: Absolution (Square Enix) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Absolution follows cold-blooded assassin Agent 47™ as he takes on his most dangerous—and personal—contract to date. Betrayed by those he once trusted and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself caught in the center of a dark conspiracy and propelled through a corrupt and twisted world. Donning the suit of this legendary assassin, you become a deadly marksman with the ability to blend into plain sight, kill with your bare hands, and fashion weapons from almost anything. Take on the role of Agent 47 and his many extraordinary talents, then ask: what kind of Hitman are you?
Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse (Activision) Rated M PS3, Xbox 360
Everyone's favorite foul-mouthed genius baby from TV's "Family Guy," Stewie Griffin, stars alongside his faithful booze hound Brian in the "Family Guy" event of the year: Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse. In this unique third-person shooter, players are tasked with saving Quahog from utter annihilation. Stewie and Brian team up in an original Multiverse-spanning adventure to stop Stewie's evil half-brother Bertram from destroying Quahog and everything else. Along with multiple campaign modes, players can enjoy the game with a friend in a co-op mode, as well as 4-player support in a local multiplayer mode.
Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game (D3 Publisher) Rated E Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, 3DS, DS, Wii U
Let your imagination soar in Rise of the Guardians: The Video Game as you play as one of the classic childhood legends, including: North (aka Santa Claus), Tooth (aka the Tooth Fairy), Bunnymund (aka the Easter Bunny), Sandman, and Jack Frost. In this action-packed adventure game, each Guardian has their own set of upgradable and extraordinary abilities that will help you take on the evil spirit "Pitch" and his infectious nightmares.
Along the way, you'll unlock new powers and spellbinding special moves that will increase your character's strength and skills throughout the game, plus you can unleash cool team attacks with your fellow heroes. With drop-in-and-out multiplayer action supporting up to four players on consoles, you and your team of Guardians will work together to protect the hopes, beliefs and imaginations of children all over the world!
007 Legends (Activision) PS3, Xbox 360
On the surface, it should be a great game. You get to play through some several James Bond films as missions in the game, all culminating in the final mission based on the new film, Skyfall. Unfortunately design never quite marries concept leading to a wildly uneven mix of first person shooter and stealth gameplay. The game lets you play through Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, License to Kill, Die Another Day, and Moonraker, thereby encompassing all five men who have played the role of Bond. But don’t jump ahead; despite Goldfinger and Moonraker being on the menu, you’ll play through all of them as Daniel Craig...in appearance anyway.
The game opens with a cutscene from Skyfall where Bond is hit by a sniper and plunges off a train and has flashbacks to these earlier missions. You start with Goldfinger and wake up in your room to find your female informant dead and sprayed gold. You begin your assault on Goldfinger’s base and soon find yourself playing Call of Duty. Ok not exactly but it seems that way. You fight off wave after wave of enemies, shooting them with an assault rifle, sniper rifle, pistol or other weapon as you attempt to infiltrate Goldfinger’s stronghold.
But from the beginning this just doesn’t feel like Bond. After delivering the fabulous GoldenEye 007 Reloaded last year, developer Eurocom built 007 Legends on the same engine, although it’s hard to tell. The focus on turning the game into a shooter with full-tilt gun battles tends to wash away the thriller elements and action you expect from a James Bond game. These gun battles are repetitive and soon become dull as you plod along, hoping to find something more interesting. They’re also annoying grom a graphic standpoint. I turned the brightness option all the way up and yet still had trouble trying to see and shoot the black enemies against the black backgrounds. I felt like my gun sights were off as you struggled to quickly locate, aim, and shoot an enemy.
However the shooting elements pale beside the horrid stealth gameplay. Stealth is, and should be a big part of a Bond game but Eurocom as designed an exceptionally poor system. Before you enter the first stealth sequence you have the option of watching a tutorial that explains the basics of line of sight and avoiding enemy attention. You can crouch to move silently and take out enemies from behind. But you’re warned that leaving bodies lying around will attract attention. Just one problem…unlike other stealth games you can’t actually move a body. So where ever you kill him that’s where he stays. You just have to hope it’s not in an area where it might be seen.
Bond has some gadgets he can use to help distract and sneak up on enemies such as a wrist mounted radar, and a laser beam that can be used to disable speakers, sending guards to investigate. But Bond cannot peer around walls or cover and if you’re detected by an enemy during these (forced) stealth sequences, you have to redo the level. 007 Legends features some mini-games and detective-style elements that allow you to hack computers or safes and use your phone to detect and identify fingerprints. These help break up the monotony of the gunfights to a degree.
The character models in 007 Legends are quite good. The likenesses of characters like Bond, Oddjob, Pussy Galore, and M, but there are some notable deviations. Jinx was not modeled on Halle Berry and Blofeld is a combination of the various actors who played the character. While Judy Dench does voice M we have no such luck with Bond who is voiced rather poorly by Timothy Watson. And one really has to ask if you’re not going to use actual likenesses then what’s the point of including a film starring each Bond actor? And finally, the concluding mission, based on Skyfall is only available as download content and the game doesn’t truly end until you complete this last mission.
Online multiplayer saves 007 Legends from being a total disappointment. Up to 12 players can compete in a match and 4 players can play locally or offline in split-screen mode. This at least harken backs to the greatness of GoldenEye. Grade C-