What a lot of game reviewers have missed about this Bond game is the fact it's the first to be released as a tie-in with the movie since TWINE's PlayStation One's effort. From Russia With Love was an updated game based on the Sixties movie and let's not mention GoldenEye: Rogue Agent.
With new developers Activision taken over the tired baton from EA expections were high especially with game action now played on the next generation consoles like PS3 & XBox 360, so did they deliver a true 007 game ?
Well sadly the answer is 'No', the game should reflect the Bond world and this doesn't have the same mixture like say Nightfire, I was crying out for a drive in the DBS and if you watch the exciting car chase mixed with the titles/song you'll see that the developers had the fun in that department. The game is primarily a first-person shooter which moves into third-person when Craig as Bond moves into cover or has a fight where you are button pushing by instructions. Another non-firing element is when you guide 007 over beams/girders and have to use a spirit-level device to keep his balance which is most annoying and my Bond suffered many a fall. You are aided by the only gadget, a mobile phone device for directions & advice.
The game is played over 15 chapters at four difficulty levels: New Recruit, Field Operative, Agent & 007. The plot picks up like the movie at White's Estate but is expanded, while 007 drags hims to the Aston the hench-men turn up and a circuit of the estate ensues through garden, green house and house shooting off baddies along the way. White almost escapes in a helicopter but you prevent this and just as he crawls for a gun, Craig shoots his gun ( missing White we assume ! ) and we get the famous gun barrel not left like the movie's end. As mentioned we have a good car chase resulting with the DBS minus the door arriving in the Siena undergrounds with the boot luggage.
As probably read this game disposes of QOS's water take-over early on with use of M's table computer screen which tracks our hero through events, filling in narrative holes with the help of M ( Judi Dench ) and her aide, probably Tanner. It gets confusing at the end as watching the same screen is a character called Haines who turned up at the Opera and Mr White but outside is a watching 007. So not using all QOS's scenes we have a flash-back to Casino Royale at the Sink Hole scene ( Bond & Camille ) which is early in the game but later in the movie. So in the opening titles the cast includes Eva Green & Mads Mikkelsen who play their part in the game's progression. Alas you don't get the chance to crack 007's nuts but you do get the opening construction site chase via a populated Shanty Town, visit the unseen spa of Casino Royale and experience being drugged and making a quick dizzy exit for the parked Aston - one of the non shooting exercises. Another added scene is where you leave Vesper in her train seat for an exciting battle with the baddies up front. The detail with all scenes you can't fault like the impressive graphics in the later Venice scenes and the final fire sequence at the Eco Hotel.
The game comes with a multi-player section and a debriefing room which is unlocked as the chapters are completed to reveal 3D revolving characters & art-work. The scoring is a let down on previous games, as you achieve the 50 unlocks, each seem to be named after a past movie or Bond character, alas there is no detail score-board as in the past. I'm not sure whether this scoring is only Xbox related as I'm yet to experience the game on PS3. To move up the skill level you can either play again from the beginning or try the unlocked chapters individually and once complete a white square shows progression.
Overall the game is helped by the voice cast led by Craig, impressive on the graphics front, predictable on the shooting, alas lacking variety on the missions, good use of music score with the Bond Theme at the right time. Despite my limitations and a few pit-falls with crossing & shooting down a helicopter I completed the story at the bottom level unlike some past games. Here's hoping Activision bring us a true Bond experience next time.