My appreciation of the Bond franchise borders on being a bit sad.
Prior to picking the game up yesterday, i made the conscious decision of taking my GAME reward card out of my wallet and leaving it in the car so that whoever served me would have to look up my details manually... which they do by asking your postcode, and then your name. 'The name's Seleznyov. Valentin Seleznyov.'
The point being i was determined to love this game. And having now played it this fact makes me feel like an idiot.
Firstly, Bond isn't voiced by Daniel Craig. The guy who played the Architect in Dragon Age does. This wouldn't bother me, but he doesn't sound like a Bond, and it's weird to see Daniel Craig's lips move and that abomination come out. The man who played Gustav Graves in Die Another Day provided the voice of 007 in Sebastian Faulkes 'Devil May Care' and did a great job. I'd have rather they used him as James and found someone else to play Gustav in the game... or anyone whose voice fits the character and Craig's likeness.
There aren't enough Vodka martinis in the world to wash away this bitter taste of disappointment.
They went to all the trouble of getting guys from the films, like Richard Kriel (Jaws) and Robert Davi (Sanchez) and had David Arnold (every Bond film since Tomorrow Never Dies) compose the theme, but couldn't be bothered to ensure the main man himself sounded right. It brings what would have otherwise been rather excellent production values down. Way down.
The second criticism would be that each film only has two associated levels... and in some cases they are vehicular ones, and as such incredibly short. To give an example, the On Her Majesty's Secret Service portion of the game opens with a downhill ski chase, that lasts about ten minutes, and the ends with an assault on Blofeld's mountaintop base. Which in fairness lasts almost an hour. The bigger levels are big (especially by FPS standards) and do feature some of the best 007 gameplay - but it is hard to get over the more disappointing aspects.
Each 'mission' seems to be based around the finale of its associated film. The locations are iconic and do look pretty cool, and you can make your way through them in a variety of ways. Stealth is emphasised with a collection of gadgets that allow you to fry electronics to cause distractions and scan for enemy locations through walls, but this can be totally ignored if you'd prefer. On the higher difficulties you're offered side objectives which can also be ignored, but yield additional XP which can be spent upgrading Bond and his arsenal.
There are a lot of set-pieces, which help to make things feel a bit more like the movies too. Only it instantly doesn't feel like a movie any times Bond talks. I've delivered lines like 'you expect me talk' to a higher standard in my bedroom mirror.