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Quantum of Solace

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1; 2 - 12 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Quantum of Solace is by no means a bad game. Instead, it is a solid, middle-of-the-ground shooter that could be great were it not handcuffed by the constraints of its movie tie-in and the timing of its release.

Presentation is good, if not great. The visuals are powered by the same engine behind COD4: Modern Warfare, and produce some excellent-looking environments. Levels take you from the rooftops of Vienna to an under-construction Opera house to a museum in Miami. I normally don't put much stock in visuals, but here they add a lot to the underlying gameplay; levels have a nice visual dynamic that adds to the fun of playing through a Bond adventure.

This is further enhanced by the presence of the movie's stars. Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench and Eva Green all lend their likenesses and voices to the game, which helps to further pull you into Bond's world. There's an understated "coolness" to entering cover and having the camera pull back to reveal the current Bond ducking behind cover.


Quantum of Solace is, for the most part, a first-person shooter, though stealth and cover elements make things a little more interesting. Most of your time is spent shooting enemies, though occasionally you can get in close and use a Takedown Move, which is really just another way to say "Quick Time Event."

The newer elements are interesting, though they add little to the overall experience. Looking at the level designs, it is clear that the cover mechanic wasn't something that was just thrown in, though it also lends a bit of "fakeness" to each level. Cover is a little too convenient at times to the point that levels look less like real world environments and more like videogame levels. Although cover adds a "stop-and-pop" feel, it also kills the generally quick pacing. There are a few "wow" moments, but these are few and far between.

Quantum of Solace spans both Daniel Craig Bond movies, though you wouldn't know it based on the in-game narrative. To say the story is incoherent is a bold understatement; it is nearly impossible to follow unless you know both movies' stories in-and-out. It has been a while since I last saw Casino Royale, and even after seeing Quantum of Solace on the big screen, I had a really hard time following. There are a number of recognizable elements, such as the construction site chase, but without something holding it together, it eventually feels like you are just playing a bunch of random "Bond moments." It is also incredibly short. The entire single-player game can be finished in less than 5 hours and the ending just sort of happens. We all know this isn't Bond's last adventure, but closure is still a nice thing.

On the plus side, multiplayer is a much more satisfying experience. The available maps are culled from the single-player side's better missions and provide a number of interesting modes to play through. Two of the more interesting game types put one player in control of Bond as he tries to evade other players. Bond Versus pits Bond against all of the other players as they try to stop him from disabling bombs. Bond Evasion has players from MI6 escorting the Bond player to an extraction zone while avoiding Organization players. Unfortunately, it is hard to find non-Deathmatch games and the few times I was able to find one of the Bond-focused types being played, they usually turned out to be "Achievement Boost" games. However, this is more of a gasp of personal frustration rather than a problem with the game.

Points are awarded for participating in multiplayer matches. These can then be spent on several upgrades, including gadgets and new weapons (including a set of Golden Weapons). Gadgets add a neat twist to multiplayer matches and act like Perks in COD4. The option of new weapons is nice, even if it is basically just a way to flaunt your experience (you can pick up weapons after killing people).


Quantum of Solace is moderately difficult, even on harder difficulty settings. Enemies are consistently dumb and big fans of the "run at the guy with the gun" style of attacking. Some will dodge for cover, but there's no variation to how they pop out; once you know where they are, all you have to do is place the reticule on the spot and earn an easy head-shot. The only times the game gets really challenging are during areas where you need to fend off multiple waves of enemies. Here cover is mostly useless, forcing your to rely more on a quick trigger finger than skill.

A few technical issues also pop up to ruin the fun. Bond has a terrible habit of randomly moving from cover. I can understand this happening when a grenade strikes nearby, but when he stands up into gunfire, its a problem.

Game Mechanics:

The cover elements integrate into the system with near perfection. When you enter cover, the game pulls back into a 3rd-person view and plays more like Gears of War. Pressing (A) near any surface will put you in cover, though the system is a bit finicky. Bond must be perfectly aligned with areas to take cover. This is more of an annoyance than a flaw, but will lead to a few cheap hits. Once in cover, you can blind fire around corners, or quickly snap out and let off a few rounds before quickly ducking back to safety.

The cover mechanic plays into the moderate stealth elements as well. Though you can certainly go through the entire game without using stealth, it will make your job much harder. The elite guards who come to investigate alarms are aggressive, so it is best to avoid them whenever possible. There's also a certain "Bond" satisfaction that comes from creeping around areas while silently disabling guards and cameras.

Once again, Quantum of Solace is more a victim of circumstance rather than a victim of bad design. All of the underpinnings for a great Bond experience are there and it makes me wonder what Treyarch could have done if they weren't tied to a movie narrative. Quantum of Solace is a good experience for Bond fans, but only as a rental.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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