Breaking news: James Bond is dead.
Am I making reference to the fact that Bond's bosses at Sony Pictures had previously decided to put the series on hold, with plans for a follow up to Quantum of Solace only recently revived after the studio found some spare change down the back of the staff room sofa?
Or, am I cleverly paying homage to the now departed Bizarre Creations, cast off by Activision following less than stellar sales of its Bond tie-in Blood Stone?
Neither. I am, instead, offering up a brutally honest critique of 007: License to Drive – probably one of the worst uses of a license you're every likely to come across.
And, yes, they really have called it License to Drive.
Not shaken, nor stirred
Dodgy monikers aside, the problem with the game as a whole naturally lies with how it plays.
Though 007: License to Drive attempts to decorate itself with Bond moments – trips to exotic locations, covert conversations with other agents and, naturally, car chases aplenty throughout – they're actually nothing but window dressing.
Instead, play boils down to two areas: avoiding any obstacles in your car's – and latterly speedboat's - path, and shooting. Lots of shooting. Shooting everywhere.
Each level is a case of kill or be killed, with your car glued to stretches of track, seemingly designed in a random fashion. Viewing the action from above, you simply guide your car left and right with the number keys, fire at your foe by hitting '5', nitro boost with '2', and drop traps to take out rivals behind you with keys '1' or '3'.
Losing its license
There are jumps, spikes, and a whole plethora of power-ups to pick up along the way – most either adding to your weaponry or bolstering your defenses – but success relies on your ability to deal with what is an admittedly hectic ensemble.
Not a second passes when you're not trying to take someone out or avoid being blitzed yourself, but the fact you never get a moment's peace means dealing with the shambolic controls is even harder to swallow.
They're shambolic because 007: License to Drive feels like its handling has been doused in quick drying concrete.
You can't actually turn left or right – naturally because the tracks themselves simply plough on straight ahead. Instead, the cars simply shift a little bit in each direction, but never enough to make avoiding the scores of obstacles in your path always possible.
Indeed, simply staying alive – never mind taking out your rivals – is something of a battle, and one that comes with very little reward even when you do manage to pull it off.
If anything, 007: License to Drive's name is not only ridiculous because it will make you shake your head in a disapproving fashion, but because driving is something its developers have clearly never done.