From Russia with Love PS2 Review

Seeing through the eyes of Bond isn’t quite as logical as controlling an onscreen 007, lets face it with an FPS game things are a little limited for such a character. This is why we enjoyed Everything or Nothing as much as we did, you actually had control of Pierce Bronson as Bond and every single one of his actions could be seen. From Russia with Love is EA’s latest third person Bond game, although this time you take control of Sean Connery, the original Bond.

Thanks to the time machine that is a games console, Connery is looking as young as he did in the 1960’s when he played Bond for a second time in From Russia with Love. This was apparently the Scottish actor’s favourite Bond film, thus it was chosen for the latest game of the famous secret agent. The voice acting isn’t quite as successful as Connery’s miraculous return to younger days. The Bond dialogue may be delivered by the man himself, but it’s also delivered with little enthusiasm and the actor obviously is sounding older than he did back in the 60’s.

Those expecting a Bond game with a modern feel will be sorely disappointed as this is obviously a throwback to the period of the movie, although this writer has always been a fan of the movies he still prefers the more modern feel opposed to the retro 60’s vibe. It’s still cool to play as the original 007 though, drive the original Aston Martin and do everything else that Bond gets up to.

From Russia with Love wisely uses the Bond template, and plenty of action and explosions assures that it should be a fan pleaser amongst the hardcore at the very least. Some shooting and a play with the jetpack (didn’t appear until Thunderball, fact fans) later and the opening credits begin to roll just like all the movies. Believe us it’s Bond through and through, although it may be a little simplistic for some and rarely does it tax the trigger finger due to enemies, who just seem too lazy to do anything other than watch.

The game grabs you by the hand and doesn’t let go of it until you have saved the day, therefore it can sometimes be extremely patronising as it tells you exactly when to make use of your gadgets for example despite the solution already being nothing short of crystal clear. Jumps are also lacking in any nessecary effort on the players part and require only a single button press when prompted. We’re not asking for a Bond adventure filled with brain-fuelling puzzles, as that would just be stupid and certainly not very 007 like, although a little less help wouldn’t go amiss. Perhaps they could be excused as cinematic gameplay elements, but we’d rather not applaud, more like boo and hiss in regard to this instead. Hardcore gamers certainly won’t be happy, and casual gamers should be furious at EA, as the publisher is almost suggesting that the lesser gamer is brain-dead, which just simply isn’t the case.

Elsewhere the controls feel perfectly natural and a lock-on system does a fine job when called upon. Onscreen control prompts also indicate when you are able to unleash a melee attack on your enemy, and a single button press knocks him out cold. We found it a little too simple to do this at times, even if a trio of enemy soldiers were apparently attempting to stop us in our tracks. This and the fact that the enemies are stupid to begin with, as well as the overall linearity, makes From Russia With Love an easygoing ride.

Throughout the game you’ll shoot helicopters down, drive Bond’s Aston Martin (complete with missiles, machine guns etc), take a boat ride, snipe and protect, disguise yourself, take to the skies in your jetpack and more. It’s pretty much needless to say that it ticks all the right boxes for a Bond game.

A decent multi-player mode wraps things up for up to four players. There’s a standard deathmatch mode and another which sees you duke it out in a jetpack apiece, the demolition mode meanwhile has you taking a bomb into the oppositions base, and it must be blown in order to score. It’s not bad at all, but limited by the age old split-screen problem in which you can view the actions of your opponent, allowing you to run away when you see yourself in the crosshair of an opposing sniper rifle for example. It’s cheating of course, but is just too easy to allow yourself to do so.

From Russia with Love isn’t quite as good as the more modern Everything or Nothing, but it’s still a worthy game of the super spy. Things may be overly patronising for those with even an ounce of sense at times, although as a Bond game it’s not to be sniffed at, even if Sean Connery sounds like the 75 year old that he is!