Even with the power of the Bond franchise behind it, Quantum of Solace falls into all the typical movie-adaptation video game traps. The game spans the events of both the Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace movies, but only in the loosest sense. The rewritten plot that results from this mish-mash is an undecipherable mess. While it may star Daniel Craig and have almost all of the actual actors doing the voice work, it just doesn’t feel like a Bond game.
You start the game in a version of the Quantum of Solace plot, then later find yourself at the start of Casino Royale, chasing a bomb-maker across a construction site. There is no reason given for the sudden swap, and it makes following the plot more difficult than it should be. To boot, both plots are heavily reworked, trading quality for more opportunities to have Bond shoot people. The opera scene in the Quantum of Solace movie has Bond stealthily eavesdropping on his targets during a live opera, while in the game you are running through a completely reworked locale and simply gunning everyone down.
Stealth does make an appearance, mainly at the start of levels where you can sneak up to enemies to silently and brutally take them down. Weapons can be fitted with silencers to take out distant targets without raising the ire of nearby guards, but once your cover is blown the game becomes a rather sloppy cover-based shooter. Getting to cover is easy enough but oftentimes it can be unduly difficult to switch cover. Getting flanked is often a deadly affair. You can blind fire from cover or actually pop out to land more accurate shots. Though Bond’s health will regenerate when not taking damage, it only takes a few bursts to drop him. Occasionally, shooting a glowing propane tank or gas can to cause an explosion help eliminate a few threats, but carefully using cover and trading fire with the enemy is paramount over anything else.
Though Bond has the ability to tap into camera systems and can bypass doors via a hacking minigame, there is a surprising lack of gadgets, intrigue, or moments where you feel more like Bond and less like a generic gunman. Gun combat makes up the vast majority of the game, and even with all of the other liberties taken with the plot you never get to use any nifty gadgets to help pave the way towards your goal. With very few exceptions, every situation in the game is solved by a gun, which is disheartening considering the creative possibilities of the Bond franchise.
Playing the game without seeing the movies it is based on makes the plot seem like a garbled mess without direction, which isn’t helped after seeing the movies, either. The gunplay is decent if not thoroughly entertaining, but it’s really the only thing the game has going for it. With its almost complete lack of Bond flair past the voice acting and character models, the game just comes across as a Bond-themed run and gun shooter that lacks the suave sophistication of a secret agent.
Versions Reviewed: Xbox 360, PS3, PC