Quantum of Solace

Review

posted 11/13/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
Unfortunately there are a few problems plaguing Activision's first James Bond game. For one thing the story doesn't come together like you would expect it to. Despite taking influence from two completely coherent movies, the way the game mixes the stories together is a little confusing and actually works against the overall narrative. As I said earlier in the review, you don't start playing the Casino Royale missions until an hour or two into the game, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to begin with. Even worse is the fact that you spend so much time doing the Casino Royale missions that by the time you come back to the Quantum of Solace storyline you will likely have forgotten what it was you were doing.

And did I mention that the game is incredibly short? Well it is. A seasoned first-person shooter fan can go through the full adventure in around four hours, which is about the same amount of time it would take you to watch both movies back to back. Also strange is the ending, which ends abruptly. While playing through the game the first time around I had no idea that the level I was on was the last, which made the ending even more disappointing. I understand that this story is setting up the inevitable third chapter in the Casino Royale trilogy, but it's always nice to have some closure from your video game endings.


My other main gripe is that it feels like a lot of the best moments from the movies are only talked about and never shown. For instance, there's a scene in Casino Royale where Bond races away from the casino and ends up flipping his car several times to avoid running over the beautiful Vesper Lynd. This is a pivotal scene in the movie, something that literally changes the course of Bond's mission. In most games the developers would have spent time recreating this using polygons for some exciting cut scene, yet in Quantum of Solace you learn of this when M (played by Dame Judi Dench) tells you what happened during a loading screen. That's it, not cool cinema or even film clip, just a comment made in passing. This happens throughout the game, making you fill in the missing scenes with what you remember of the movies. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting Treyarch to recreate every scene from the movie, but there's something anticlimactic about just being told what is happening instead of seeing it unfold for yourself.

Even if you can get past the slightly disjointed story you still are left with only a four or five hour long game, which certainly doesn't feel long enough. Bond defenders will point to Call of Duty 4 and charge that it too was short, and they would be right. But the difference is that there was so much packed into Call of Duty 4's five hour running time that by the time you beat it you felt completely fulfilled. The same cannot be said about Quantum of Solace. Thankfully there are a few reasons to go back through the game, but none of these reasons are good enough to make up for the game's short length.

Beyond the game's short single-player campaign, there are also some fun multiplayer modes. Like Call of Duty 4, Quantum of Solace gives gamers a choice of nine different game modes, including standard deathmatch modes to more unique objective-based modes. We all know how good Call of Duty 4's multiplayer is, so it shouldn't surprise you that Quantum of Solace is also a strong contender. There are certainly enough modes, levels and weapons to keep you busy for quite a few months ... assuming that you don't get sidetracked by all of the other big multiplayer games flooding the market (including Treyarch's own Call of Duty: World at War, released a mere week after Quantum of Solace).

While I had a lot of fun playing through the different multiplayer modes, I was a little disappointed that some of the best elements from the Call of Duty series weren't brought over. For example, it would have been nice to see the perks or leveling-up system kept intact. This may sound like a small gripe, but the leveling-up system is what made Call of Duty4 the online multiplayer hit it was. Instead of perks and leveling we get play money, which you can use to customize your guns and purchase new weapons. This isn't a terrible trade off, but it's definitely not as addictive as Activision's past first-person shooters. Still, as much as I want this to be more like Call of Duty, I can't help but commend it for being a solid online first-person shooter.


Quantum of Solace has a lot of really great ideas and some untapped potential, I can't wait to see what Activison does with the Bond license next. This 007 game is certainly better than most of his other outings, but at the same time it's not quite up to the standards of the other first-person shooters on the market. I definitely like where Treyarch is going with this franchise, and there's no question that they have done more with this one game than Electronic Arts could do in close to a decade. If you're looking for a fun action game you'll find it here, unfortunately you'll also discover a short game with a disjointed story. Quantum of Solace is definitely the best Bond game since GoldenEye 007, too bad that doesn't say much.


B-
Quantum of Solace is a solid action game with good graphics and great voice acting. Unfortunately it's also an extremely short experience that isn't very original. Throw in some storytelling problems and you have a Bond game that tries really hard, but comes up just short. You can have a lot of fun with this 007 adventure, but at the end of the day you'll wish it was a little more fulfilling than it actually is!


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