Game Review: Quantum Of Solace (PS3 and XBox360)

quantumSome people find it odd that I’m a huge James Bond fan, yet I’m not impressed by James Bond video games (yes, even the vaunted Goldeneye).

I’ve just never seen a title that captured the spirit of the films and books, and more often than not Bond games tend to feel like any other movie license game; a character shoe-horned onto an existing engine.

While Quantum of Solace is built on an established engine (Call of Duty 4 technology), does it break the mold and transcend previous attempts at Cold War gaming bliss?

Find out inside.

Quantum of Solace picks up at the end of Casino Royale… PRECISELY at the end. The last minute of Casino Royale (the film) is painstakingly recreated in the opening cut scene, and the action continues without a pause.

The story arcs through set-pieces from the upcoming film, while taking you through some of the better scenes from Casino via flashback. It also fills in some of the plot from the previous film through ‘scenes’ that were not included in the movie. An example of this is the Science Center level early in the game, which chronologically takes place between the ‘freerunning’ opener of Casino Royale and the scene at the Miami airport.

I’m giving the game extra points for not just recycling the movie plot and wrapping the equivalent of a mini-game around it.

Graphically the game SHOULD be impressive, based on the engine’s past use in COD, but character animations frequently repeat, clip, and generally look wooden. Many textures are overused (leading to bland environments) and smoke, fire, and gunfire effects are less than spectacular.

But it’s all about the gameplay, right?

Your playing time is split more or less equally between different play modes, with seamless transitions between. The game is primarily a First Person Shooter, but while taking cover shifts to a Third Person Shooter, ala Gears of War, or Ghost Recon. Many levels are timed chases through various environments, attempting to follow, catch, or outrun a villain (and in some cases explosions). Melee combat is solved through a series of quick time events, feeling like a low-rent God of War.

Controlling your reticle while shooting from cover is nice, as are most of the other controls, but I found’ balance beam’ puzzles frustrating because that particular control mechanic ISN’T quite intuitive or accurate. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune did it MUCH better.

Multiplayer feels like an afterthought. Look elsewhere.

If you’re itching to relive some moments from the two Daniel Craig Bond films, or you’d like a quick (6ish hour) single player experience that won’t leave you feeling ripped off… you might find something you like here.

If you’re looking for a deep multiplayer experience, I’d suggest Resistance 2, Gear of War 2, Warhawk, Halo 3… there’s a lot of good ones out there. Choose one of them instead.

Quantum of Solace seems to be having an identity crisis; the developers seem to have stalled on deciding what kind of game they wanted to make, and thus gave us a collection of merely passable elements from several genres.

Essentially, the game does nothing original, nor particularly well… but it is competent.

Released in the midst of many other superior titles and with weak multiplayer, I have to say this game is worth a rental. It IS fun, but not $60 of fun. I wouldn’t feel bad about renting the game and playing all the way through. You may get some extra mileage if you’re a Trophy/Achievement whore… they’re easy to accomplish.

Enjoy it and return it… then realize that it is ultimately a forgettable title.

Matt says: RENT IT

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5 Comments

  1. It was the releasing hot day for New bond movie I heard. Wow it was going to be hot mad action I personally think that change of bond Is needed, happy to see different face. Ideal week end movie I should say. Are you still to see what you think of it? In http://www.80millionmoviesfree.com I seen and it will sure out play many movies to come near by.

  2. so how many product placements did they jam in the game? Was every bit of large scenery a billboard advertising Vaio? 🙂

  3. I read an article about the preview, where Tom Cruise got laughed at when his preview of his movie came on. In the movie Cruise wears an eye patch. http://www.observer.com/2008/o2/quantum-solace-offers-peek-2009-watch-out-tom-cruise

  4. Quantum of Solace is entertaining at least… a lot of high quality visuals, but the movie as a whole could stand to lose six or seven fewer chase scenes

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