Saturday, 7 November 2009

Quantum of Solace (Video Game)

The title's a misnomer; this interact adapt is far more concerned with leading players through unseen action brackets in the Casino Royale storyline than allow play-act insight into Quantum of Solace's murky revenge narrative. Upfront, you get a few bare Quantum paths, before the game delves deep into flashback territory. On release, expectation for Quantum of Solace: The Video Game was unusually high. Bond has a fair video game pedigree, mainly thanks to the N64's peerless GoldenEye, and developers Treyarch had Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare engine to mess about with. The imagination brimmed with ideas of a polished spy-kit shooter, perhaps informed by the black-ops patter that made Modern Warfare sing.

The result, no doubt thanks to inflexible licence paymaster and a satirically short production window, is more like a product push redraft of Namco's on-rails shooter Time Crisis, with Daniel Craig's 007 as the aspiration item. Perspective shifts constantly. First person is used for iron-sighting, and third person for defence snaps. Jab buttons near the ubiquitous cover, and context drifts outside the eyeline, allowing the player to gaze upon Craig, and his relationship to surroundings. The mechanic ticks two boxes: Gears of War's land seizure gameplay is referenced for the magpies, and Craig becomes visible without excessively compromising the point and blast genre stylings. Shame it's such an uninspired affair.

A simulacra of Craig's Bond drifts aimlessly along preordained paths mucking in on sequences that bare no relation to on-screen action. Break stealth and the boring backroom levels swarm with faceless, arcade bold suicide shooters. Time to bog yourself down in cover and fire blind. A neat summation of this game's flaws would be the trailing of the Alex Dimitrios character. In the film Bond weaves in and out of Gunther von Hagens' Body Worlds, the raw exhibit figures providing a garishly fragile contrast to 007's blue-lit machine movement. Were Treyarch inclined to just import a poise shredding shoot-out into this situation, you'd have a startling centrepiece. Instead, action shifts to a nondescript science centre, full of barely breakable techno-nothings.

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