This year marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond filmic franchise. A pretty good-sized deal is being made of this, including the release of the 23rd official film in the franchise, Skyfall, and the new Bond videogame, 007 Legends. Word of mouth has it that Skyfall is one of the best films the franchise has released in years. 007 Legends is nowhere near as good.
In fact, 007 Legends is downright bad. For a videogame franchise that brought us the absolutely legendary GoldenEye—a title people went out and bought N64s in order to play—to sink this low is hard to swallow, no matter how long ago GoldenEye came out, is sad.
007 Legends is a movie tie-in game. Rather than focusing on one movie though, it has bits and pieces of Skyfall, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Goldfinger, Die Another Day, Moonraker, and Licence to Kill. For those keeping score at home, that's one title for everyone who has played Bond in the official franchise. For all of these missions you’re the Daniel Craig-looking James Bond but are voiced by some pseudo-sound-alike.
Exactly why the developers couldn't get Craig to do the voice is unclear, and having the Craig look with a different voice is a very questionable choice in and of itself. It smacks of needing the Craig look because Craig is the current Bond and there's a new movie coming out rather than doing something more sensible like have a Sean Connery impersonator do the voice on a Connery-looking Bond (Sean Connery being a voice a lot of people seem to be very good at). The lack of Craig gets even weirder when you consider that they have Judi Dench voicing M, Rory Kinnear voicing Bill Tanner (he plays Tanner in Skyfall and in Quantum of Solace), Richard Kiel voicing Jaws, Naomie Harris voicing Eve (a Skyfall character she plays), and Toby Stephens voicing Gustav Graves (a character he plays in Die Another Day).
Fine, forget that, the unfortunate truth is that 007 Legends fails on so many other levels as well. First and foremost amongst these – gameplay. The controls are bad. They're just plain bad. While the controller has multiple schemes, none are ones which make logical sense to me; they all have bits and pieces I like but none that are what I want as a whole. There are terrible quick time-like boxing events so Bond can do a little fisticuffs and they're all boring due to their oversimplification (hitting high or low with the right or left and blocking left or right). Controlling Bond when he's on a vehicle or some similar thing is dreadful – a skiing level in the OHMSS section feels more like a chore than spending a full day doing laundry. There were moments during it when I seriously considered never picking the game up again.