007 Quantum of Solace: The Game Hands-On

Quantum of Solace Hands-On

Activision clearly has a lot invested in the next game based on the James Bond series of movies. The games have run the gamut of amazing to awful, with several developers and publishers giving them a try, and that’s just in the last few generations of game consoles.

The way Activision went all out for the media event supporting the game certainly shows some faith. The event went from a simulated chase scene in flashy cars (yes, a Maseratti is ridiculously comfortable, powerful, and fun; even from the back seat), to personalized briefcases and fake passports, and ended in a Bond-themed setup complete with the game itself. Thanks to developer Treyarch’s use of the Call of Duty 4 engine, Quantum of Solace: The Game already looked like it had a lot of potential. After playing both the single-player and multiplayer modes, it looks like that potential is being reached.

The multiplayer mode took front and center, as this was the first time it was playable by media. A team death match was set up, with media and development staff interspersed. The gameplay, as mentioned, is very similar to the game whose engine it used, Call of Duty 4. The basic controls are identical, making it easy for FPS fans to jump right in. There is one major addition, however, in the form of a cover system. The cover system implemented is easily the smoothest, most intuitive one yet in a game. It’s easy to jump in and out of it, and you can even jump straight out of cover into a dead sprint. Moving from one piece of cover to another is smooth, and Bond moves like a secret agent, not like a soldier, when moving to and from it. It was incredibly impressive, and made the whole thing that much more fun. This was the most fun FPS multiplayer I’ve played since that OTHER Bond game, Goldeneye on Nintendo64. The levels are extremely varied, from busy city rooftops to more traditional open expanses. The pace is quick and smooth. If you’re a fan of hyper-realistic shooters and prefer to snipe, or you’re a camper, there are not a lot of hidden spaces that I could find in the first couple go-arounds, but there are definitely possibilities. The only other mode I played was “Golden Gun,” which is a death match mode that is reminiscent of an old politically incorrectly named children’s game. One layer has the Golden Gun, you can kill everyone, but you get more points for killing the one with the Gun. After you do, you can pick it up for easy one-shot kills. The big key points here are that the new cover system works, and works well, and the game is just plain fun, even if you’re not a big (or very good) FPS player.

The single-player mode has been on display before, but is worth briefly talking about. In this set of missions largely adapted from the movie (though at least one scene that was cut from the film will be in the game), the controls including the cover are just as smooth. The A.I. is incredibly intelligent. In fact, it was somewhat infuriating how well and quickly enemies adapt to your playing style. If you’re charging in and using the (extremely cool) close quarters takedowns, they’ll spread out, take cover, and shoot you from afar. If you’re trying to camp out and shoot them from behind cover, they’ll flank you, surround you, and close in to take Bond out. It’s hard, very hard, but it’s just a good challenge, and feels like Bond, not just like a generic shooter that happens to star Daniel Craig.

There are a ton of highly anticipated shooters coming out this fall, within the massive glut of games in general over the next two months. With the high production value, the recognizable base of gameplay, the new cover system, and the stellar A.I., this is shaping up to stand out from the pack, and not just because it’s a licensed project.

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