Quantum of Solace by
published Wednesday, Dec 03rd

Quantum of Solace Review

Activision grabbed the rights to the James Bond franchise back in 2006, and the latest addition to the Bond video game series, ‘Quantum Of Solace’ is the first from the studio since their acquisition. Yet despite what the box art may convey at first glance, Quantum Of Solace is in fact a game of two halves, and ironically enough the greater half is made up of gameplay from the previous Bond film, Casino Royale.

An obvious route to take this title would be to portray the story as per the cinema releases (in order), but Treyarch has attempted a different approach. Upon playing the first few chapters of the new film, a stray flashback occurs, and you then find yourself playing out Craig’s first Bond effort from the start. Fast forward, and subsequent to playing through Casino Royale (minus the card games) you find yourself back playing Quantum for all of one more mission. While this mix may please some die hard Bond fans, especially due to the lack of a Casino Royale game, the flashback approach feels forced and shoehorned in, adding little to the progression of the games loosely portrayed telling of the films stories. Some levels are shorter than others, while further levels offer more demanding gameplay, but overall the game has enough to keep any gamer busy for around an average of 8 hours, depending on the difficulty level.

Beyond the method in which the levels have been delivered, Quantum Of Solace provides typical first-person shooter mechanics, borrowed from the Call Of Duty 4 engine, which supports the gameplay suitably. A cover system, more than satisfying aiming, and takedowns all make for a fairly fulfilling experience which is negligibly more jeering than the average shooter. In essence the incorporation of the Call Of Duty 4 engine aids to this game fittingly. Besides these adopted elements, the game also has several untypical sequences, be it taking out security cameras, balancing as you traverse across a narrow beam, or stealthily making your way across the outside edge of a building. It’s these fragments of the game which break up the average experience and offer a short slice of variety.

In addition to the single player experience on offer, a multiplayer mode is available, and although it offers a wide selection of options, from standard choices, to a number of Bond like game modes, such as “Bond Evasion” and  “Golden Gun”, all of it yet again seems borrowed from other sources. Like Call Of Duty 4, multiplayer has a system in place in which weapon upgrades can be earned and certain perks applied to your lifeless multiplayer being, a welcome addition to a multiplayer far from exciting, despite it’s variety. Another somewhat odd factor of the multiplayer portion is the characters animations, you and your enemies all move in a stiff rigid manner, which at first was a large distraction in a world of fluidity.

Overall Activision’s first attempt is generally an average affair, the game doesn’t look overly attractive, the single player, in parts, will please Bond fans no end, but the average gamer wont garner anything new from the experience. A soulless James Bond is portrayed in a somewhat passable title.


From Russia With Love by
published Saturday, Sep 09th

From Russia With Love Review

So now that EA have ran out of recent Bond films to convert into games, EA has delved into the past and plucked From Russia With Love as a suitable choice for the next in the series of Bond games. Its not easy to port a console game to a handheld and retain the feel of the console original, but the developers should be congratulated on how well they have achieved this.

All the cutscenes, level designs and generally good graphics have survived the transition which is a feat in itself regardless of how good the game is. Thankfully, the second is true also and even though this will not revolutionising the handheld or console FPS markts, its a nice enough dabble in light espionage.

There are eight main missions with over thirty extras that branch off, meaning that you will have lots to do before the game is 100% complete. There isplenty of variety aswell, with fun Jetpack flying missions, rescuing hostages and protecting friendly units by sniping; and although all this variety is well and good this game does have an annoying flaw, and its nothing to do with the development at all.

Over time gamers, myself included have become accustomed to dual analog controls, and the absence of a second stick in this PSP iteration makes control of the character and game in general harder than it has to be. The circle and square buttons rotate the camera but it is slow and often will ‘glitch’ behind objects and even walls. Taking these errors on board takes some getting used to, but eventually it becomes usable. Its just plain annoying when you have to round a corner without knowing what may lie in wait for you because the camera decides it does want to spin round any further. The absence of a second analog already makes 3rd person shooters difficult to control, but having a clunky camera system just makes things harder.

Frame rates will drop, sometimes noticeably, and some of the levels do have tears and graphical glitches. None are game shattering, but with a little more time spent on the game these problems could have been avoided.

Where From Russia With Love does excel is the multiplayer. Modes such as Deathmatch are available as is a cool Jetpack flyng mode. What makes this game stand out above other PSP games however is – bots. Yes, bots. These nearly always benefit a gamers experience, giving them chance to scout out multiplayer levels and to hone their skills before playing for real. Maybe even just to lay the game out, but not in a mission situation. So kudos for including this option.

In the end, From Russia With love is not groundbreaking, but it wasn’t expected to be. As an ported FPS it does a very good job indeed, and the bot option in multiplayer mode makes this experience even better.