Quantum of Solace Hands-on Preview

Written by Joe Martin

October 9, 2008 | 08:10

Tags: #007 #bond #goovie #james-bond #movie

Companies: #treyarch

Diamonds Forever

One thing that did catch us a little off guard about the Quantum of Solace game (or James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace to give it its full name) is that it covers the plot of not just this latest film, but Casino Royale too.

This is one of the advantages of the game having such a long development cycle it seems, as Treyarch has been able to watch the films develop alongside their own efforts and it has been able to retune the game to match each and every script revision.

Quantum of Solace doesn’t follow a linear narrative though, but actually jumps around between the two films and lets players see how the two films can combine into one cohesive plot rather than as two standalone films.

Though you start things off by playing through the story of Quantum of Solace and watching Bond’s attempts to bring down the Dominic Greene and the Quantum organisation before they can seize possession of Bolivia’s water-supply, it doesn’t stay there long. The new James Bond may appear cold, calculating and callous but he’s actually an operative with deeply emotional motives and these soon have to be explained to the player.

Quantum of Solace Hands-on Preview Quantum of Solace Hands-on Preview - Plot

Thus, a few levels through the plot of the second film, you flashback to the first game and start to play through the highlights. You start with Bond’s super-grainy first murder for government and from there you see his formal induction to the secret service and his ranking as a licensed to kill, double-zero agent. Being involved in the start of this long, bloody career is enough to send a tingle down the spine of even the most anti-nostalgic ‘rebel’.

From there, you move through the main scenes of Bond’s story and get the usual updates, status reports and objectives from Judi ‘M’ Dench. You meet Vesper Lynd on the train, exchange witticisms and flirt on the edge of a sexual tension so well-honed that it’ll leave you with bleeding fingertips. You move through the casino, you get tortured horribly in the one scene from a James Bond film that every single man wishes he could forget.

Eughach. I don’t even like thinking about that bit, to be honest. I’ve seen grown men reduced to whimpering wrecks by the sight of that awful ball-flaying.

Thankfully though, it doesn’t last all that long and before long you’ve bought Casino Royale to a rousing, yet tragic close and you’re plunged back into Quantum of Solace – more driven than ever thanks to your fading bruises and emotional scars. The latter will never heal.

Quantum of Solace Hands-on Preview Quantum of Solace Hands-on Preview - Plot

For better or worse though (and we still haven’t decided) the in-game action doesn’t stay totally faithful to the film and there have been several, very radical changes made to the game in order to make it enjoyable.

Take that scene on the train where you meet Vesper for the first time, for example. In the film this is one of the most memorable scenes and the focus is all on making Vesper come across as a defiant, sophisticated foil to Bond – both an opponent and an ally for his recklessness to play against. We get great insights into the characters and we learn more about Bond than we ever realised we wanted to know, with the clothes stepping in to replace the guns in this deeply flirtatious war of words. It’s great.

In the game however, it doesn’t quite play out like that. In fact, Bond never sits down. Instead, there’s a brief introduction and the most sparse of conversations and then Bond is out the door and on the roof of the moving train. Apparently another locomotive has pulled up alongside and the baddies, quite dashing in their bomber jackets and redshirts, are storming the train in their dozens.

It’s quite an abrupt and stark departure for the game, but worse it never seems to have occurred to Treyarch that this actually goes against the plot of Casino Royale. Why would Le Chiffre want to kill Bond before the match after all? He wants 007 to play so he can win the money and pay off his bad debts, not to draw a newcomer spy and hate-filled lady friend into the open.
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