Review: 007: Quantum of Solace – Treyarch Invention, LLC – Xbox 360

My wife picked this up for me out of the bargain bin at an opening of a new branch of a well-known Australian Hi-Fi, music, games, computers, etc chain. What I knew about it was that it was built on the COD4 engine, but wasn’t nearly as good.

But hey, it was cheap.

James Bond has never been in a mediocre game, after all... right?

Awhile back on a different website for a different review, someone asked me why I play trashy games instead of the good stuff, and while what I said then was valid, he did have a valid point. After all, I’ve got a pile of games I know are better than QoS sitting unplayed. I guess it’s in part because I’m “saving” the good/best ones, while the less good ones can be played and disposed of without caring if I really savour them properly. So anyway, I threw this on today since I’ve been in a bit of a Bond mood recently, and, yeah, a short, disposable game was what I felt like playing, since I can probably/hopefully finish it over the weekend, inbetween a couple of DVDs and World of Warcraft-dailies.

I played it on the 360, but I really can’t see there being much of a difference between 360 and PS3. Or the PC version, for that matter…

So anyway. Based on the plots of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. CoD4 engine. Treyarch. Slightly-crappy Gears-wannabe cover-shooter mechanic bolted on. Bond plays through a series of vaguely-based on the films scenarios, mostly using a series of various high-powered weapons just like he didn’t use in the films in the odd sequence that may be vaguely related or not to the actual plots of the two films. I guess many of the weapons did cameo in the films while other people were using them. And James has the famous cover shot with the HK UMP-9.

The most surprising thing I found about the game was that it was actually decently enjoyable. The graphics and sound, while not amazing, do their job well enough. Treyarch may not be the world’s most renowned dev, and especially at the point where they churned this game out, well before Black Ops, but it’s certainly solid enough in terms of gameplay, graphics and sound. Using the CoD4 engine and being from a CoD developer should do that, after all.

At one point I paused to reflect on the game after having acquired an M60, and shot up a building with it, while slowly fighting forward while taking cover against waves of heavily-armed goons armed with AKs. You might remember this scene from Casino Royale as the parkour chase from the beginning of the film. Which oddly was also 1/3 of the way through the game. Some of it is told in nonsensical flashback though, so the continuity is a right mess.

Remember this bit from the films? Me neither.

After another hour of play, I had experienced the exciting rooftop helicopter battle and exploding elevator shaft sequence that you may not recall from Casino Royale since they never happened in the film, I do have to reiterate it’s definately not a bad game. I enjoyed myself well enough, with of course the bargain-bin price caveat. The cover mechanics aren’t bad either, they just don’t really add anything to the FPS formula or this FPS title. At least they did make an effort to replicate the final section of the parkour chase, and while it wasn’t awesome, it was playable. It also features one stage where you get to play as drugged-cardiac-arrest-Bond from CR, which is almost as little fun as the Nightmare stages in Max Payne. At least it’s faster and you can see.

There are cell phones scattered about, which fill in little bits of intel. They’re vaguely interesting, but nothing to worry about if you miss any.

Anyway. Is it fun? It’s alright, actually. It’s nothing like the films, of course. But it’s an alright shooter. I’m not even going to bother considering  the multiplayer for the recommendation, since it’s an older game at this point, and let’s face it, every FPS/3PS of the last decade has a half-assed MP shooter aspect tacked onto it, but most people just play one of the better/more popular ones, and anything shy of that tend to be a ghost town. That’s what this one is. There’s nobody playing it.

So, yeah. As I said, CoD4 engine. Treyarch. Slightly-crappy cover system. Still a decent enough game. Not an awesome one to pick up at full price, but perfectly okay as a weekend rental, or something to fish out of the bargain bin and then either inflate your games collection or pass onto a friend.  I had fun enough with the game, though I found the wild deviations from the film(s) to be annoying.  Overall though, it’s still an ok game. Better as a rental rather than a bargain bin buy, since there’s not much to do with it once you finish it in 10 or so hours, unless you want to play through all the difficulty levels or achievement whore, since the MP is a ghost town.

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Verdict: Rent it. Or buy it cheap. Or don’t. It’s all good.

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