First things first: 007: Quantum of Solace is not the second coming of Goldeneye, nor does it really stand out amidst the other big shooters this holiday. Quantum of Solace plays like Rainbow Six Vegas with a James Bond disguise using the Call of Duty 4 engine to render some very impressive visuals. Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace can't stand up to the properties it was based on, hampered by bland and repetitive gameplay. Ultimately, it feels as though a smaller Treyarch B-team was put on Bond duty, the same development studio behind the new Call of Duty: World at War..
Blind Fire Bond
Like I mentioned, Quantum of Solace plays almost identical to Rainbow Six Vegas, meaning that it is a hybrid of first and third-person. When latched onto a cover position, the game switches to third-person and gives you a wider view of the situation. In cover, you're protected from most gunfire and can dash to other cover points. The problem with the cover system is that the controls feel unresponsive and the dash detection of other cover points is finicky. When not in cover, the game switches to first-person and controls almost identically to Call of Duty 4. The only difference between the two is the melee attack in Quantum of Solace, which initiates a cinematic quick-time event featuring Bond smashing masked terrorists into silent submission.
Thankfully, the frustrating cover system is masked by how good the guns feel, and Quantum has quite the assortment of guns. From Bond's famous Walther P99 to multiplayer's Golden Gun, the selection is simply astounding with roughly a dozen different guns to choose from. In single-player, you're automatically outfitted with guns, and have the choice of silencing weapons using the D-pad if you prefer a stealthier route. Multiplayer is much more robust and allows you to purchase new weapons that you can then use to customise with up to six different load outs.
Bond in the Movies
Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace falls flat on its face is in the story department. Bond fans looking to enjoy Quantum of Solace before it hits theatres on 14 November are going to be disappointed with the lack of substance from the upcoming film. More than two-thirds of the game is levels from Casino Royale, and the game should have been named as such. The game's title, Quantum of Solace, is a big marketing tease that doesn't quite deliver the promised goods.
Combining the two movies into one game creates a number of problems with the story's pacing flow, creating a number of confusing scenarios. The Casino Royale missions are recognisable — even expanded upon like a director's cut — but the titular Quantum of Solace moments have no context and are randomly thrown in between Casino Royale levels. I would have preferred Quantum of Solace to have been released the same day as the movie and have featured more levels from the film itself.
Blonde Bond on Bond Action
The multiplayer feels like Call of Duty 4 with a James Bond-meets-Rainbow Six Vegas skin pulled over it, but with no airstrikes and less intensity -- which means it's not great and not super addicting, but it's solid and it works.
Like Call of Duty 4, players earn points for each kill and coming out on top in deathmatches. These points are then used to purchase new primary guns, sidearms, grenades, and gadgets. Gadgets are the same as "Perks" in CoD4. Once a collection of these items have been purchased, players can then create different load outs, which is the same as creating different classes in CoD4 as well. Even the game's heads-up display looks and acts the same as Call of Duty 4.
The different modes are pretty fun, and range from standard deathmatch to specialty modes, such as Bond Evasion and Bond Versus. Bond Evasion is my personal favorite where one player is assigned to be Bond and must reach the map's extraction point. The other team's objective is to not allow Bond to escape. On the other hand, Bond Versus is not as fun and is far more challenging to play. One player is Bond and everyone else is set loose to kill him. The problem I found with Bond Versus is that Bond is way too overpowered and runs at twice the speed as everyone else -- and let's not forget that the other players will shoot you too, even if you're not Bond. It's just too chaotic and feels unbalanced.
The Final Word
Quantum of Solace is a good first-person shooter that, in my opinion, is the best Bond game since Goldeneye. I hope to see more Bond in the coming years with a little more polish and variety. I would like to conclude on the fact that Treyarch worked on two different games this holiday — Quantum of Solace and Call of Duty: World at War — not to mention helping Shaba Games with Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. If they can do all this, let's see what they can do with a little more time and a little more focus.