Confession time: I haven't actually finished 007 Legends yet. In my defense, however, neither did developer Eurocom.
I know, I know: it's bad form to review a game before you've finished playing it. While that's generally a fair point, I think there are two things working in my favour here:
1) I'm actually playing through the last level at the time of this writing, so I've played enough of the game to get a pretty good feel for what's happening in it. I purposely stopped before I got to the end just because I wanted to use that opening line.
2) Even if I had waited to write this review until I'd beaten Hugo Drax in Moonraker -- the last part of the campaign on the disc -- I still wouldn't actually be done 007 Legends. You see, I wasn't just being snarky about Eurocom up there, and saying there were so many things wrong with the game that it was like it wasn't a finished product. It literally isn't a finished product: 007 Legends doesn't have the final mission included on the disc. If you want that, you'll have to wait until November 9th (if you're playing it on the PS3) or November 20th (for 360 gamers), when they'll release the game's actual ending as DLC.
Admittedly, it's free DLC. And they do have a reason, of sorts, for not including it on the disc -- they want to tie Skyfall the mission in with Skyfall the big-budget blockbuster.
Quite frankly, though, that's a really stupid reason to ship and sell an unfinished game. I mean, yes, delaying the game until mid-November, when the movie is being released, would put it right up against Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (not to mention Halo 4 ) and really, 007 Legends is such a generic shooter that it's bound to suffer by comparison. But those comparisons would have been and will be made regardless of when 007 Legends was released. If it was truly something Activision and Eurocom were concerned about, the solution probably would've been to make 007 Legends more Bond-like, not to release the game in an unfinished state and hope that no one notices.
On top of that, did no one think of people who don't have their PS3s/360s hooked up to the internet? I know that, in 2012, this is probably a small portion of the overall userbase for both consoles, but such gamers do exist and, by patching in 007 Legends' ending after the fact, they've ensured that those gamers will never get to experience the game's true ending.
Of course, considering how terrible everything that precedes the ending is, I'm not sure that getting less of 007 Legends isn't actually a blessing in disguise. It is, after all, a pretty terrible game in almost every respect.
Seriously, I don't know where to start listing off everything that's wrong with this game. The horrific graphics? The generic gameplay? The unenthused voice acting? The fact that, at its heart, 007 Legends is about as far from James Bond as you can get? Because all of these things would be, on their own, enough to make this a game to avoid. Put them all together, and you've got a mess of epic proportions.
Let's start with...I don't know, the voice acting. In this department, the very best this game has to offer sounds like a bunch of amateurs hamming it up (and still sounding very, very amateur). Far more common is the approach taken by the person voicing James Bond/Daniel Craig, who seems to have decided that just saying everything in a flat, monotone British accent is enough. It just sounds lazy which, I guess, makes it the perfect aural representation of the cash-in that is this game.
Regardless of how uninspired the game sounds, it doesn't hold a candle to its lazy gameplay or its overall indifferent approach to the whole James Bond mythos. Really, there's no reason why 007 Legends has the Bond branding; the whole game can basically be boiled down to shoot everything and run towards the checkpoint. Sure, it uses the rough plots from the Bond movie canon, but in general the only thing that tells you you're playing a James Bond game is that other people call you "James Bond". There's almost no stealth, outside of one or two little bits here and there most of the time, you're expected to run in to a room with guns blazing. Or, more accurately, you run into rooms while being covered by partners or squadmates 007 Legends ditches the idea of James Bond, super spy, and instead replaces it with James Bond, guy who shoots stuff as part of a larger team.
Now, if you really want to see where 007 Legends crosses from forgettably bad to outright abomination, you need to think about the graphics. They are, quite simply, monstrously ugly. When the game is at its most visually appealing that is to say, when it takes place indoors it's still incredibly bland, to the point that it would be easy to get lost amidst hallways and corridors if it weren't for the handy arrows pointing you to the next checkpoint.
When it shifts the action to the outdoors, however, it's painful to watch. Everything looks muddy and pixilated, and when you're required to move the camera which, seeing as this is a first-person shooter, is pretty much all the time you can see the game struggling to render everything as you shift your viewpoint. Honestly, this is PS2-level stuff, and I'm struggling to think of an uglier game I've played on PS3 and I say that as someone who played through the Men In Black movie tie-in that came out earlier this year, which was notable for having the same graphics on the Wii as on the PS3/360.
At this point, I'd like to say that it's not all bad...but it really is. 007 Legends is just a bad game all around. If pressed, I guess I'd say that if there's one upside to the game, it's that it is, for the most part, competently made...which is to say that the amount of times a glitch forced me to restart from the last checkpoint can be counted on one hand. I suppose if you're in the market for a generic shooters that works, for the most part, and you don't mind dismal quality, and you don't mind that you're paying $60 for a game that doesn't have an on-disc ending, and you've got an old, standard-def TV, and you absolutely can't wait until the next Call of Duty game is released, and...no, I can't even say that. You should give 007 Legends the same amount of time and respect that it got from Eurocom and Activision which is to say, absolutely none at all.