Quantum of Solace

"The eyes are the first thing everyone mentions" says Quantum of Solace developer Jeremy Luyties, "But they really are that blue." We're looking at Bond - James Bond - as he presses his back to a wall to avoid a hail of fire, and, yep, his eyes are piercing like diamond-bullets. But that's all part of the likeness: this is the first Bond to feature stern-jawed Daniel Craig and his terrifyingly steely gaze.

We last saw him in Casino Royale staring down the barrel of a gun at terrorist kingpin Mr White, shortly after shooting him in the leg - and the next film's going to kick off with Bond interrogating the murdering scumbag at MI6. The game, meanwhile, straddles both films - the developers have been to the sets of both, taking hundreds of reference photos since early in Casino's production - although because of security restrictions around Solace, most of the levels we've seen are from Casino Royale.

First things first: Quantum Of Solace is actually a first-person shooter based on the Call of Duty 4 engine, with the development handled by CoD3 developers Treyarch. There are differences, though - although the scripted sequences remain, there are third-person elements designed to remind you that you're actually 'being' Bond.

Whenever 007 takes cover - the system's similar to the one in GTA - the camera pulls out to show where he is, relative to his attackers. You'll also see the third-person perspective crop up in more action-packed sequences - whenever Bond needs to creep along a ledge, balance on a beam or clamber up a ladder. Finally, you'll also be able to pull off takedowns - currently done by God of War-style quick-time events - where Bond strangles, punches or pistol-whips enemies to a silent demise.

So how's it all translating to the smaller screen? Well, firstly some key action sequences have been expanded. Take the bit where Bond stabs a man in the Bodyworks exhibition - alone it's quite a short sequence, so here he has to get into the museum from underneath, shooting up rooms full of goons to get into position for the hit.

It's here we first see the AI in action: although Bond goons are typically pretty dumb, these ones try to flank you and communicate with each other. One shouts that Bond's hiding behind some boxes, and they're quickly shredded by gunfire. "The difficult bit is behavioural", says Jeremy. "We don't just give enemies more health to make the game tougher. On the higher difficulties they just won't stop."

Other sequences are lengthier: Sebastien Foucan can't appear in the game because his likeness is already in the Free Running game, but his chase with Bond remains intact. In it, you see a picture-in-picture shot of the acrobatic terrorist pogoing up cranes and across scaffolding while Bond crashes through plywood walls and makes death-defying leaps.

Again, these are done with quick-time events - you'll have to make quick button-presses to make key jumps, although the idea is that you won't automatically be killed and need to restart the entire level if you mess up - you'll just lose a bit of energy.

Finally, there's plenty Call of Duty-style scripting - the team are keen to point out that enemies don't follow the same paths, but there are certainly moments when surprise explosions or massive shifts in the scenery keep you on your toes.

The chase through the flooding Venetian house, for instance, comes with loads of surprises, as the creaking wooden structure slowly collapses underneath the waves. In some missions there's a sense that Bond's on his own – in others, he’ll keep in radio communication with MI6, usually telling his partners to shut up as they harass him during firefights.

In fact, the game's got almost everything: but has it got a Metal Gear-style torture minigame based on that ‘classic’ plum-whipping scene? "No." laughs Jeremy. "I don't know how Daniel would have felt about that." Yeah, and we hate it when he does those piercing eyes at us...

Joel Snape
Joel Snape enjoys Street Fighter V, any sandbox game that contains a satisfyingly clacky shotgun and worrying about the rise of accidentally-malevolent super-AI. He's also the founder-editor of livehard.co.uk, where he talks a lot about working out.