Review: Quantum of Solace (DS)

Quantum of Solace_FOB FINAL_NDS.jpg Before getting to our reviews of the console and PC versions of Activision’s new Quantum of Solace James Bond movie game, I just wanted to give you a quick word of warning: stay away from the DS version! I’m currently playing through the PS3 version and have been pleasantly surprised by how much I’m enjoying it, so I decided to go ahead and pop in the DS version to see what it was all about. Activision usually does pretty good with its portable ports of multiplatform games (the past two Call of Duty DS games are of particular note) so I thought this one might be halfway decent as well. Boy was I wrong!

Quantum of Solace DS gets some things right. For a DS game the 3D graphics are fairly detailed, and the Bond license is used well throughout in terms of music, movie stills, character portraits, and voice acting to generate an authentic presentation. The game also offers a cool upgrade system that allows you to earn Bond Points to spend on boosting Bond’s abilities.

The problem is the gameplay. In a word, it’s putrid. The control scheme is the main issue. Instead of playing with the DS in traditional horizontal position you have to hold it open like a book and play this third-person shooter with the screens vertically parallel, with the in-game action on the right side and either the map or inventory screen on the left (vice versa if you’re left handed). This setup is a problem on many levels, but the main issue I kept running into was not being able to see the screen effectively. You have to use strokes of the stylus to guide Bond around, and in doing so you’re hand often winds up obscuring your view of the screen.

Combat is the weakest part of the experience though. Gunplay almost seems pointless due to the ridiculous number of shots it takes to down one enemy, and is awkward to control to begin with, requiring you to stop, hold down the D-pad or any of the other free face or shoulder buttons to enter targeting mode, and then tap the screen to fire. Hand-to-hand combat is even worse. Once engaged with an enemy in close quarters you have to draw gestures with the stylus to punch, grab and block, watching how the enemy is moving to dictate which direction to punch from and when to block. The touch-screen recognition is spotty at best, half the time failing to register your stylus input, and the pattern recognition so simple and repetitive that you’ll be sleepwalking through melee battles after the first one.

So again, do yourself a favor and avoid Quantum of Solace on the DS at all costs. Some games simply don’t need control gimmicks to be worthwhile on the DS and this game proves it.

SkipIt.jpg

Pros:
+ Solid graphics and presentation
+ Nice upgrade system

Cons:
– Terrible book-style control scheme
– Inconsistent touch-screen recognition
– Lousy combat mechanics

Game Info:
Platform: DS
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Release Date: 11/4/08
Genre: Action
ESRB Rating: Teen
Players: 1

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!