Okay, so it won’t be scraping Adele off the top charts on iTunes anytime soon. It won’t enthrall Bond fans hungry for pulse-pounding gameplay and perhaps a glimpse or two at Skyfall. But you have to give the open cinematic for 007 Legends released today by Activision credit: the look, the aura, the hammering of the orchestras and the elemental figures – it’s classic-cool Bond… and it completely sells the look of a game dedicated to sending up the half-century-old spy-film series.
But what lies beyond the first two minutes?
Charting a course through Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Moonraker, Licence to Kill, Die Another Day and Skyfall, 007 Legends releases in less than two weeks on October 16. Today, October 5th, however, marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, the inaugural film in the James Bond franchise. So with the game designed as a commemoration of 007 – the man/myth/legend in all of his eras – developer Eurocom no doubt felt a mentioning was in order.
Emblematic of any James Bond film’s opening cinematic, the bit for 007 Legends brushes over the main contents of the game while trying not to paint too many plot spoilers or concrete narratives. It’s showy but still secretive. Sure, devout fans of the series have likely, save for the upcoming Skyfall, watched the Bond films covered in Legends (and if not, the well-received 50th Anniversary James Bond Blu-Ray Collection should fill in any knowledge gaps). But if the game truly plans to weave each film together into one cohesive storyline, and considering we’ve already seen gameplay sequences like, you know, chain gunning from a helicopter, artistic liberties might, in fact, be quite common.
This much is true about 007 Legends: It’s going up against a track record more tarnished than any held by the franchise’s silver screen counterpart (even with the post-Quantum pressure on new Bond director Sam Mendes to deliver with Skyfall). The star-studded voice cast reprising their film roles – Daniel Craig as Bond, Judy Dench as M, Michael Lonsdale as Drax, and Richard Kiel as Jaws, to name a few – is impressive. At the same, though, years of mediocre releases following 2004’s Everything or Nothing instills little confidence in publisher Activision’s turnaround effort.
Ranters, it’s and exciting time to be a James Bond fan; will 007 Legends brighten or blemish the series’ golden anniversary?
007 Legends releases on October 16, 2012 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The Skyfall mission of the game will release later as free DLC, shortly following Skyfall’s November 9 theatrical debut.
Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.