Pussy Galore turns to face Bond. "By the way, I didn't catch your..." Whatever entertainingly sexist banter was hanging in the air is cut short. Bond interrupts his most famous conquest in a voice that emphatically isn't that of Sean Connery. "James Bond," he states. I'm no James Bond aficionado, but I know when someone isn't doing the catchphrases right.
007 Legends is pretty much defined by this not-at-all right moment. It doesn't work as an homage. The scenes it does reproduce from the movies are cut short and stuffed with unconvincing extras. Bond uses a number of new gadgets, for instance. His smartphone has a biometric filter that you use to trace nerve gas. To everyone concerned: biometrics is the identification of human beings. It is not how you follow trails of nerve gas around a level.
You could justify some of the odder decisions with the mantra "gameplay is king". But if Legends' gameplay was actually king, it'd be an insane haemophiliac king who despised and tortured his subjects. Anaemic shooting is broken up by a few brief, indifferent spy-like mini-games, and there's a levelling up system that's irrelevant, because it's making you better at the shooting, and the shooting is hackneyed and absolutely no fun. It yearns for simpler days, offering you the old-fashioned, non-regenerating health as an option. At times, the experience of play manages to feel even more dated than the camp innuendo of the movies.
It becomes a begrudging joke, particularly in the stealth sections. A favourite moment is during a stealth scene, when creeping up behind a guard, we pressed the right thumbstick to subdue him. Having been spoiled by better games, we were expecting a bespoke animation for subduing a guard. Something to make us feel like super spies, slinking around an enemy complex.
In fact, Bond punched the guard in his buttock, who obligingly slumped to the floor in an explosion of blood. Have you ever tried to punch blood out of a buttock? Try it on yourself, now. Do it with the curtains open. If you've got a bay window, stand in it. Stand in it and punch yourself in the buttock. Congratulations. You are now having as much fun as playing 007 Legends, and at a fraction of the price.
Just say Dr No
- Smooth frame rates
- Meatless shooting
- Destroys beloved movie scenes
- Sucks joy from you
- They've broken existing dialogue