Bond is back, but not as you may remember him. This is the HD version of the Wii remake of the N64 classic. Being a remake, it's essentially a brand new game. A few nostalgic multiplayer maps return, but otherwise, this is all new and certainly worth your time.
Daniel Craig has replaced Pierce Brosnan, but sadly hasn’t borrowed any of his gadgets. The ace PS2 days of gadget love have been replaced with scanning stuff with your phone. It's synonymous with the dull Bond that Craig bores audiences with as his beefcake poor man’s Bourne.
Fear not though, because the gunplay here is some of the finest ever seen in a Bond game. Enemies react to every shot rather than absorbing the set number before dying. They'll take cover, but the game's excellently responsive aiming system allows you to pop up from cover and nail headshots with ease. Sometimes the AI goes a bit stupid, like the way six guards will charge the same doorway despite you obviously camping to one side and mowing them down on sight.
On the other hand, you can't take much damage before dying and the screen barely reddens before you're suddenly out. The reloading screens aren't the shortest either. But it's a testament to how good the game is, that you get impatient waiting to get back in.
A wide range of pistols, sub-machine guns, snipers and assault rifles are sent your way, with varied scopes too. The shotguns are the clear winners though. For reasons best not pondered, they work over a ridiculously long range. With very little power lost over distances, they’re an unrealistic, but fantastic joy.
Breach sections where you burst into a room and take everyone by surprise in slow motion seem odd as you seem to be equally surprised judging by how long it is before you're allowed to start firing. At least they’re not as bad for cheap deaths as they were in MW3.
Stealth is always optional and potentially plays a large part in the game if you so desire. Sneaking around just isn't an option in most shooters today, even MW3 made it on-rails bore. There aren’t many rewards for playing it quiet, but it's definitely more fun trying to snuff out a whole base silently until a cutscene forces you into a gunfight. One jungle section lets you hack sentry turrets to take out large groups of enemies if you can make your way to the consoles undetected. Even if you mess it up, the next area of enemies won’t have been alerted, so you can keep playing it quiet.
Some melee takedown animations last longer than others, which can result in another guard seeing you if you're not careful. As you have no control over the animation, it's annoying. You'll just have to shoot the peeping guard in the neck with your silenced P99 before he raises the alarm.
It can be rewarding replaying through the game on tougher difficulties as there are extra side-objectives to complete, which is a fantastic touch, considering most games just lower your health and add more enemies. Good job Eurocom.
There are a few detracting elements to the game, but nothing to really put you off. During gunfights, the enemy seem to all know collectively where you are, which can be a drag. But at least they don't constantly spam grenades at you like other shooters. The duck and cover system is flawed as you sometimes don't stand up enough over cover to aim properly. Graphically the game isn’t troubling the competition, but it’s never ugly and has certainly benefited with the HD polish over the rough Wii version.
There's only one vehicle section, an enjoyable tank chase. After the awful Blood Stone game, we're not entirely sad that the novelty potato man hasn't been put behind the wheel of another Astin.
PlayStation Move functionality has been included, as the foundations were already there from the Wii version. Once you’ve adjusted the deadzones to say when you want to turn rather than aim, it can be a novel way to play. It’s more difficult, but the generous auto-aim options help to compensate.
MI6 missions are extra score-based missions based on killing large numbers of enemies or taking out bases with only stealth kills. The stealth arenas are the clear winners and help add a few extra hours to the game after you’ve finished the story.
Splitscreen (4-player of course) multiplayer and online options are included with a long list of modes too. Weapon balancing is an issue as it takes forever to kill someone with an AK-47, but a vague shotgun blast from 15 yards is insta-kill gold. Get involved with a packed map though, and it’s hard not to have fun.
- Optional stealth approach is most welcome
- Aiming and shooting is spot on
- Harder difficulties offer extra objectives
- Where are all the gadgets?
- Bond falls asleep for slow-motion breach sections
- Loading screens after dying are too long
The Short Version: Easily the best Bond game in years. The way that you can use stealth over run-and-gun tactics is a fantastic surprise in today’s samey genre. The game is very capable of handling a ‘go loud’ approach too thanks to some near-perfect gun skills.