Video Game Review – Quantum of Solace (PS3)

Well, we’ve reviewed the movie, and as we haven’t gotten a game review in for a while (and because I managed to rent the game before I got snowed in), it’s time to give the game it’s due. Does it achieve the lofty heights of Goldeneye 64? Or, does it languish in mediocrity?

Company Credits

Title: Quantum of Solace
Developers: Treyarch
System: Playstation 3 (Also available for just about every other system out there – but this is the one I played it on.
Release Date: 11/04/2008
Game Type: First Person Shooter.
Available from Amazon.com

Premise

The events of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are retold through the framework of MI6’s records. Of course, since just
reading/viewing the records doesn’t make for much of a FPS, the game also embellishes on the events of the movies, adding additional gunplay and so forth.

High Point

Sneaking through the opera house, and, ultimately, getting into a sniper duel while “Funeral of Siegfreid” from “Gotterdamerung” plays (there are several other opera pieces that play as you make your way through the level, but once you get to the sniper duel, it’s “Funeral of Siegfried.”

Oh, and I’d like to use the High Point section to thank the developers for not adding any driving mini-games or poker mini-games to the game. Most Bond games add one or both of those, and those can bring the experience to a screeching halt. The absence of both of those mini-games definitely counts as a high point.

Low Point

The “boss” fights fit into one of three categories. You’re either shooting at a helicopter, in the final boss fight you’re waiting for what are, basically, exploding barrels to reveal themselves and then shooting them, or you’re in a Shenmue-esque Real-Time Action event, where you’re being prompted to, basically, “Press X to Not Die – good, now press Circle To Not Die” and so on until the fight/scene is completed. Now, I understand that you want a way to replicate the hand-to-hand combat of the Daniel Craig Bond movies, but there has to be a better way! A similar mechanic is used for take-down moves as well on the generic enemies – you click the right analog stick, and then you have to “Press X
to make the bad man die” – however, if you press the wrong button, you have to wait a second to recover – the generic
soldier doesn’t – and he has a gun – and he’s at point blank range, which makes the take downs also become “Press X to
Not Die”. I never really thought I’d be missing the Tenchu:Stealth Assassins series, but for their stealth kills, you just hit the button, and you killed the enemy. You never (at least for the early games in the series – before God of War came out) had to “Press X to Not Die.”

For the record, I have no problem with real-time-action events, if they’re forgiving to failure (so if you mess up you don’t die and have to start over), and they give you a chance to try again when you fail, like in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. However, Quantum of Solace doesn’t do that. Oh, and the last boss fight (the wait for the “explosive barrels” to reveal themselves and shoot them fight) – has one other problem, which I’m not spoiler-tagging because it’s important to know about this one going into this fight, and they don’t tell you until it’s too late – there is no checkpoint after the boss fight, and once you’ve taken out the boss, you have to sprint out of the building before it explodes, while you’re getting shot at from behind. This means, if you die, you have to fight the boss again. This is manageable under lower difficulties, but at higher difficulties this can be a heck of a chore.

Also, during the sniping portion of the Museum level, it locks up on the 007 difficulty.

The Scores

Originality: It’s an adaptation of a movie, using the Call of Duty 4 engine, using some of the same storytelling style as CoD4, but with
Shenmue-style real-time-action events, and a Gears of War-esque cover system (with the “roadie-run”). 3 out of 6
Story: I must admit, I did not see the movie before I played the game – that said, the plot of the game wasn’t particularly deep or engrossing, though I suspect that’s because they omitted material because they want you to see the movie. 2 out of 6.
Graphics: The graphics of the game are pretty good, with a very nice draw distance, but nothing mind-blowing. 4 out of 6
Sound: The game’s sound is fairly good, though the voice samples for the guards noticeably start to loop. The dialog doesn’t always mesh with the the environment though (I had generic guards shouting “I’m pinned down” when they had me pinned down instead. Otherwise, the guns are fairly distinctive, and even with stereo speakers you can get a good idea where things are. 4 out of 6.
Playability: Single-player will take about 8-10 hours on normal. Multi-player uses a similar system to CoD4, and it works out okay. I had some difficulty finding a game, but when I could, the multi-player was pretty enjoyable. Also, in addition to achievement support for the X-Box 360 version, the PS3 version supports trophies as well, so if you’re into collecting those, you can get some more replay value there. 4 out of 6.
Immersion: The game can be engrossing, but I didn’t have any moments like in, say, a game of Audiosurf where I had to remind myself to blink, or a game of Civilization where I’ll look towards the window and realize that it’s nighttime when I started there was sunlight. 3 out of 6.
Overall: Overall, the game’s a decent game, and I’d certainly worth a rental. If you can find people playing multi-player on your system, you might consider buying the game for that system, but if you’re only playing single player, then just rent it. 3 out of 6.

In total, Quantum of Solace gets 23 out of 42.

2 replies on “Video Game Review – Quantum of Solace (PS3)”

  1. Jethro says:

    Take-down moves
    Oh god, if there’s one SINGLE reason I’m not a gamer, it’s those things. I’ve not really had a serious console till I got the PS3 for bluray, and I /hate/ those things. There’s a fair number of games where I got almost till the end and then never bothered because of the takedown moves.

    I just tried the demo of Force Unleashed, and it was WAY fun till I killed the ATST (or whatever it’s called) only to have to ///X/// ////O//// and if you miss them the damn thing is bck to kicking your butt. Just let me kill it using regular fight moves! Is that so hard??? Yeesh.

    Sorry, pet peeve.

    • AceCaseOR says:

      Re: Take-down moves

      Oh god, if there’s one SINGLE reason I’m not a gamer, it’s those things. I’ve not really had a serious console till I got the PS3 for bluray, and I /hate/ those things. There’s a fair number of games where I got almost till the end and then never bothered because of the takedown moves.

      I just tried the demo of Force Unleashed, and it was WAY fun till I killed the ATST (or whatever it’s called) only to have to ///X/// ////O//// and if you miss them the damn thing is bck to kicking your butt. Just let me kill it using regular fight moves! Is that so hard??? Yeesh.

      Sorry, pet peeve.

      Me, I didn’t have a major problem with the implementation of those in Force Unleashed because, well, 1 – you actually can kill them without the takeown moves, it’s just much harder (I’ve done it). Also, if you do mess up, it’s not instant death or near instant death. In Quantum of Solace on the other hand, there is little to no margin for error (particularly with the final boss fight on the Montenegro Train during the Casino Royale Flashback stages). As far for taking down generic thugs go – frankly, I’d rather prefer the "Trigger the take-down, watch the nifty cut-scene as the bad man dies" as implemented in, well, Tenchu and, to a lesser extent, The Punisher for the PS2 and X-Box.

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