IGN Review of Bond 007: Quantum of Solace
It's extremely rare to see a multi-SKU game that shines the brightest on PlayStation 2 as opposed to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or PC. Quantum of Solace is one of those rarities. While the QoS games on the current generation of systems were solid, they were built on the COD4 engine and had a bunch of mundane additions that detracted from the core, fun gunplay. Since the PS2 can't handle the COD4 engine, what you get is a much more faithful translation of what Bond is supposed to be and, in the end, an entirely more enjoyable experience.
First things first, this is not a first-person shooter. Unlike every other version of Quantum of Solace, the PS2 version's camera is entirely over Bond's shoulder. You can rotate which side of the screen he's on, but you're always staring at his back (something ladies should love). This impacts gameplay for the better and enables some slower, more methodical encounters that feel more in touch with the Bond franchise.
The -- flawed -- cover system is still there. There are moments when it doesn't work as it should and you won't be able to shoot over or around certain objects despite it looking like it should be possible. Bond can, however, pull off some neat SWAT turns and go around corners while still staying in cover. Again, turns can be a bit hit or miss, but for the most part the cover system works well.
Thankfully QoS doesn't cling to the same levels or designs as the other console versions. Instead, things are a bit more open -- though not quite as expansive or detailed -- but instead are more conducive to third-person shooting. The story arc is the same stuff that we've seen before, but the levels that are wrapped around it feel much more in tune with being James Bond.
As we all know the man is a spy and as such should use some semblance of stealth on his missions. The PS2 version delivers this with some occasionally frustrating missions that require you to keep quiet and out of sight while triggering environmental distractions to lure baddies into your sights. Again, this style of gameplay is much more in line with the Bond franchise and feels less like the military incursion that other QoS efforts present.
So while Quantum of Solace on the PS2 has the best core gameplay of the bunch, there's no doubt that there's still plenty of room for improvement. First, the artificial intelligence of the bad guys is pretty bad. I witnessed a few bugs that sent them running in endless circles and other times when they would mistakenly think they were in cover. There were also times when the finicky DualShock analog stick made aiming a chore, but there's a precision zoom mode that helps ease the pain. There are also mini-games built around hacking and quick-time events, and they play out identically as they have in other versions. They fit a bit better with the PS2's mold for QoS but still don't land quite right.
The other lacking portion of the PS2 version is its length. Much like other Quantum of Solace renditions, the single-player is extremely short. That's made worse by the total absence of multiplayer. In the end what you wind up spending your forty bucks on is an extremely short solo experience that has three difficulty levels and nothing else in the form of replay value. It's a shame too as the multiplayer could have been damn good.
Visually the PS2 version is also impressive, though clearly not to the level that we see on the current crop of systems. You'll see some nice particle effects and designed portions feature some cool destructible cover, but there are the usual rough edges and slowdown that you expect from a PlayStation 2 title. Still, explosions and character models look good, especially Daniel Craig's Bond who looks about as good as something can on PlayStation 2.
The sound also echoes true to everything you know and love about Bond. Craig's voice and the sound of bullets rattling off of the environment sound as good as they can on the PS2 and, while some guns feel like they should pack more of a wallop, the overall audio performance is great.
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