'The best Bond title since Goldeneye', they said; 'You'll be blown away by how much better it is than the last few games,' they said. Granted, the fact that 'they' were all people who had a vested interest in the game doing well should have had our alarm bells going crazy way in advance. However, the idea of Quantum Of Solace being the best Bond game since Goldeneye is fairly true. It's just that it achieves that accolade by virtue of only being 'mostly bad' as opposed to 'utterly rubbish' like the other games were.
Admittedly, 'mostly bad' doesn't mean completely bad. But extolling the game's few redeeming features - the close combat system, the ability to blind fire without exposing yourself from cover, the way enemies react when you shoot different body parts - doesn't prevent the negatives far outweighing the positives. Fact is, having uttered more expletives at Quantum Of Solace than at any other game in recent months (moreso than Mega Man 9, even), we assure you it's a frustrating experience. And sadly, that frustration is a cumulative effect from a number of particularly annoying problems.
Dr. No Thanks
The most damning issue is over the game's presentation, which ranges from sloppy in some places to downright awful in others. Visual textures on the walls and floor are a blurry mess when you get close and the framerate is, for the most part, atrocious. Explosion effects are pitiful; someone bursting a paper bag behind you would have more effect than the pathetic flame effects and complete lack of noise shown here. Radio conversations between enemies continue, even if you kill one of the conversing parties midway through them. Bond's hands while holding a pistol look like a pair of feet, all pink and fleshy. These and many more besides make Quantum Of Solace feel decidedly unpolished, as though Activision didn't feel the Wii version deserved much attention to detail.
The muddy visuals also make combat difficult, as enemies more than a few feet away have a habit of blending into the background - you'll often only spot them when the lock-on markers will pop up or you see the red light from their sniping scopes. It doesn't help that the AI is horribly unbalanced and has a nasty habit of killing you in just a couple of shots before you even see them (when they're not hiding behind cover that's much smaller than they are or standing around aimlessly waiting to be shot, anyway).
And sadly, even the controls have their own niggling problems. The dash-and-cover ability is nice, but becomes an annoyance when it results in you taking cover behind anything you happen to accidentally bump into while dashing. Jumping over obstacles is incredibly selective (some low walls you can, some you can't despite them looking identical) and you can't do it while in cover; you have to back off and leave yourself exposed before being given the option. Using the Wii Zapper makes some of the controls incredibly awkward, because the buttons are on top of the Wii Remote out of reach. And overall, they just feel either too sensitive or too sluggish depending on the setting you choose - the Custom option helps, but even then it's hard to find the sweet spot.
Considering that Activision passed over the release of Casino Royale to spend more time developing this, you have to wonder how it ended up being so lacking. Indeed, even if you're the biggest Bond fan in the world then, there's really only one option here: don't bother. Go see the film, enjoy the intense action and then leave it at that - don't let your good memories of a decent Bond flick be sullied by licensed tat like this.