I know Cyril got out the review
of Quantum of Solace on the Xbox 360 very quickly. So quickly in fact that it was on the site before the movie came out. So I would like to say a couple things about how the movie connects to the game before we get started into the nitty gritty. First the plot of the game, it being a review of Bond’s involvement with specter by certain dastardly characters, is both plausible and solid because there is a resolution at the end of the game. The story told by this review process however feels more like a series of deleted scenes from the extras menu of a dvd than the intimate look at Bond’s past that it should have been. The second is that yes, Goldeneye 007 on the N64 did the same thing story wise but the reason why it was exciting to play those missions was that it was a fresh look into the past of a bond character being played by a new actor and the movies weren’t trying to do the same thing at the same time. Goldeneye 007 enhanced the movie story and did not just try to add more action or detail than was necessary.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about why your really reading this article: Online multiplayer. Quantum of Solace has, in my professional opinion, the best console FPS multiplayer experiences this year. Quantum uses the tried and true COD4 engine and the multiplayer is better for it but where QoS really shines is the new cover mechanic. Truly one of the easiest and most responsive of any FPS, the cover system is vital in the single player game and completely transforms the multiplayer experience. The cover mechanic with the great level layouts is almost magical. Nearly every part of the 12 maps has more than one way to access it which gives combat a constant flow as each team tries to outflank the other. Sure your guys are slaughtering the other team in the Eco hotel garage stage but if your guy on the stairs gets killed and now one notices then your whole team will get pwned. My two favorite levels though are Siena with its multi leveled roof top stage with real death if you fall off the buildings, back alleys and nocks between buildings, and two sniper positions that each over look ¾ of the map. The action is very much about out guessing your opponents moves and sneaking through back pathways to get the win. The Rooftop has a similar approach but with a much different feel as most of the map is wide open and cover is strewn everywhere making it a deadly game of whack a mole. The other 10 maps are all well done with one exception. The Concourse which is a map that takes place inside and just outside an airport terminal hallway doesn’t know which type of level it wants to be. There are multiple narrow rooftop areas overlooking the main hall but the placements of the openings in the glass on those levels make sniping difficult. So instead of a dynamic multileveled map the action takes place on the top level or the bottom level with spawning areas becoming blocked off and whole teams slaughtered easily. I’ve seen whole teams taken out by one player with a shotgun before. Speaking of shotguns…
The weapons available to use in multiplayer are numerous and fun to use. There is a number of assault rifles, sub machine guns, a couple shotguns, 2 sniper rifles, and a light machine gun not to mention the different pistols including the nail gun used in the main story. Acquiring new weapons is as easy as getting kills, and it doesn’t matter which game mode your playing you can get points and new weapons and tech just as easily which I preferred over leveling up. Buying weapons is not really about getting a better weapon than the next guy though. Weapons are fairly balanced, except for the shotgun which has a range and stopping power that is a favorite with noobs, so purchasing new weapons is more about deciding what kind of style you want to play in. For instance I prefer a balance of movement speed, accuracy, fire rate, and the option to use silencers. I use the frwal assault rifle (kind of like an AK47)with a holo attachment for improved sighting and a silenced automatic pistol as my back up weapon. Since each weapon has the option for multiple attachments and adjustable firing rates it is very easy to find the right combo that suits your play style. The next big decision is what grenade type to use. Unless a certain item is taken (or tech as I like to call them) players get one grenade of one type which includes fragmentation, concussion, flash, smoke, and proximity mines. The flash and smoke don’t do much damage but they can effectively incapacitate enemies and make the job much easier for your teammates to move in and take them out. Beware the proxy mine though as it can be set off by friend or foe, there is no damage for your team mates if they set it off but it is usually a better practice to place them as far away from them as possible so it isn’t wasted. On to the tech, which is like the perks found in COD 4. Each player gets two when creating their custom class and most are comparable to COD 4’s options (flack jacket, increased fire rate, increased accuracy, extra grenades, etc.) there are a few that are only in Quantum and fit very well. The Multiple armaments perk allows the ability to carry an extra main weapon but that weapon must be scavenged from the battle field. While that isn’t as flexible the ability to keep the pistol makes it more bearable since you’ll be running around with 3 weapons instead of just 2. Increased attack radius greatly improves your chances of landing that finishing melee attack and finally the gloves tech item which gives those players with a penchant for pistols increased accuracy (watch out for the guy with the magnum).
So we talked about where you play and what you play with but how about how you play? Very good question my friend. Match types online and through system link include team conflict (team death match), conflict (free for all), classic, territory control, golden gun (everyone vs. one with a super powered gun), Bond evasion ( teams take turns protecting Bond), and Bond versus which is the only one that really needs some extra explaining. Bond versus is one player vs. many where players take turns being bond and test their skills by eliminating their opponents and disable all the bombs their protecting in order to score points. After all the rounds have been played the player with the most points wins. I found this match type the most demanding is skill and knowledge of the level layouts because it really like playing chess (well maybe checkers) against multiple opponents at once trying to out guess each and be quicker and more precise than they are. All multiplayer match types can be played online either privately or publicly and a system link can be set up for local matches. The lack of split screen still felt very unsatisfying but after 3 different games with the Call of Duty 4 engine being released and none of them having this feature I would guess that its not something that the engine can handle.
I know this has read almost like a love letter/guide to Quantum of Solaces online multiplayer and in a way it is. I haven’t been this excited and absorbed by an online multiplayer game since Call of Duty 4. The cover system alone completely changes the way you play this console FPS and without taking away from any of the action. I would recommend this game to any FPS fan that has fond memories of playing Goldeneye 007 multiplayer with their friends, parents who don’t want their kids playing a more mature shooter, and anyone who has a spare 5 or 10 bucks and feels like renting a game for the weekend.
Quantum of Solace online multiplayer has the same frantic and fast paced feel of other FPS with a cover mechanic that adds rather than detracts from the action. The level designs are brilliant and fun to play and the weapon customization means that just about anyone can find a class optimized for their play style. Every FPS needs to give the online in this game a chance