Wednesday, April 28
Game review - Quantum of Solace
Before I begin, you should know that Quantum of Solace is developed by Treyarch, the same company that built Call Of Duty: World At War. They also had over two years to develop this title as Activision decided not to make a Casino Royale game. So on the one hand, this game was built by one of the companies behind the ever so popular Call of Duty series, on the other, they usually make the less popular COD titles. Either way Treyarch should know how to make an epic game, and I had high hopes for this one.
Before Activision bought the rights to the Bond gaming franchise, EA released eight Bond games. For the most part, these games were just alright. Nightfire was actually pretty good (well, the console version anyway - the PC version is the buggiest game I've ever finished.) I remember playing plenty of Agent Under Fire, the first Bond game on the Gamecube, and I now realize how bad that one was. Apart from that, the only other EA Bond game I've really played was The World is Not Enough for the N64. Decent game, but it holds nothing to GoldenEye 007. When it comes to Bond games, GoldenEye 007 for the N64 is by far the most famous. It's probably the most famous game on the N64 in general, and it proved that FPS games could work on a console. After EA had tried and failed to emulate this success, I was actually excited when the publisher of Call of Duty acquired the rights to the franchise. After playing Quantum of Solace, all that excitement has gone right out the window.
At first, Quantum of Solace seemed like a decent game. It covers both Daniel Craig movies in one single storyline, which was a good move on Treyarch's part. It starts off in Mr.White's house, where you fight through his property in order to capture the elusive criminal. During the mission, the whole house burns down, you destroy a helicopter, and fight through a couple greenhouses. The game uses the COD4 game engine, and it shows. The more I played it however, the worse it got.
It didn't take long to realize how stupid the AI opponents were. They run straight at you , and pop in and out of cover to a rhythm (not kidding here.) Sure, I've seen far worse AI, and World At War's AI wasn't particularly impressive either. Also, there are many objects in the environment that you can shoot. You might be wondering why that's a flaw, well...they're all over the place. It can spice things up when there's environmental hazards every now and then, but when they're all over the place it just gets repetitive. Every single fight has objects that you can shoot to cause an explosion - every single one. They also keep flashing, which can be very distracting at times. The game uses a cover system similar to Gears of War's, which I liked at first. After a while though, you notice that you often have to be in the exact right spot in order to enter cover. Considering how important it is to use the cover system, they really should have improved it more. Beyond these flaws, the gameplay just feels slow and dull, and I really can't figure out why.
The single-player campaign is way too short for it's own good. While they added a few extra missions for the sake of stretching the story out, they also excluded several scenes form the movies which could have made awesome action sequences - like the embassy shooting for example. They completely wimped out on the embassy shooting, and only talked about it in a brief 30 second cut-scene. One of the added missions was escaping from the enemies after Bond was captured toward the end of Casino Royale. Yet at the end of this mission he gets re-captured, making that mission completely pointless. They also added a train mission, where Bond meets up with Eva. Train missions are usually awesome in games, but this one is just dull, especially after playing Uncharted 2's incredible train mission that came out the same year. It honestly feels like they just threw it in there to capitalize on the classic N64 GoldenEye game.
The worst parts of the game were the button mashing sequences (scenes where you have to push the right button at the right time.) The fight scene you watch while these sequences don't change whether you hit or miss the buttons, and as a result they just feel lazy. In addition to this, the fights are exactly the same as the movie's fights, except they're not very well animated. I wouldn't say poorly animated, but still not well animated. Why not just watch the movie instead? On the other hand, I didn't have to fight Greene in the end, despite the fact that there was a huge fight between him and Bond in the movie. While this makes no sense, I'm thankful that I didn't have to finish the game with another annoying button-mashing sequence.
Some scenes were neat, like the construction yard chase, and the final mission in the exploding hotel. Other missions ended up just disappointing, like the sinking house. The house doesn't even tilt...the water just rises up, then stops just under your current floor. There was no sense of urgency or excitement. This is especially true after playing once again...Uncharted 2. In uncharted 2, you're in a building that is literally knocked down while your inside, and the whole building leans to the side. The same kind of thing happened in Gears of War, which used a completely different game engine. So why couldn't they do that in the sinking house scene? I think I recall the building leaning in the movie, so why can't it here? There were several moments that should have felt epic, but just felt bland. This game is using the Call of Duty 4 engine, which is fully capable of big, epic moments, and they had over two years to develop this game. There is no excuse for the lack of exciting gameplay.
Another thing sorely lacking is split-screen multiplayer. Yup, the game has online multiplayer, but no split-screen. The COD game engine is fully capable of split-screen, so why doesn't this game have it? This is the first Bond game since GoldenEye 007 to not have split screen multiplayer (excluding the PSX games, cause the system wasn't powerful enough.) Also, the Wii version has split-screen; it sucked when I played it, but it still has it. So if the game has online play, uses a game engine capable of split-screen, has split screen on a far less powerful console, why doesn't this one have split screen? As someone who prefers inviting friends over to play games rather than to play online, this enrages me even if I don't like the game.
So is there anything good about Quantum of Solace - the game? Sure, there are a few good things. For one, pretty much all the original cast from the two movies returns as voice actors. Also, the graphics are fairly decent, thanks to the COD4 game engine though. The environments themselves are bland, but at least the characters and textures generally look good. The game is generally stable and bug free, mostly because of the game engine. Overall though, this game is pure crap, and I'd have a very hard time recommending it to anyone.
Two word review - Very Disappointing