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James Bond: From Russia With Love (PS2)

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4 Reviews

Manufacturer: EA - Electronic Arts / Action / Rating: T - (Teen),up to 2 players / published by: EA - Electronic Arts

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    4 Reviews
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      07.09.2011 02:09
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      Connery returns to help EA make another so-so Bond game

      One of the more unusual cinematic adaptations of recent times involved the rebirthing of From Russia With Love, a 1963 Bond film based on Ian Fleming's novel of the same name. The game parks itself in a middle ground as far as Bond titles go; neither among the better nor the worst uses of the licence, it sums up EAs troubled run with the franchise. There's craft and competency in design but little sparkle, and despite a comprehensive dose of weapons, gadgets and action that such a venture typically ensures, it all feels a bit workman-like.

      From Russia With Love is well-regarded among film critics and fans alike, though it probably isn't the first to spring to mind if you were tasked with designing a video game around one of 007's adventures. And this predictably has its issues, namely that a significant dose of "artistic licence" has been required to make it all work in a different form of media. Some of the film's big moments are either cut completely, or left for the cut-scenes to tell. The pre-credits intro make for a sprightly introduction though, culminating in the player rescuing the Prime Minister's daughter (oddly played by and modelled on singer Natasha Beddingfield) by jet-packing around Big Ben. It sets the scene for a fast-paced and enjoyable, if slightly lightweight, adventure.

      A third-person shoot 'em up, the first thing that marks From Russia With Love out is that you play as a Bond modelled on Sean Connery. Recognising the rarity of such an occurrence, EA pulled-off another coup in getting the legendary actor to record all new dialogue for the game. Admittedly, this is a bit of a double-edged sword - essentially you've got a thirty-something spy being voiced by a 75 year-old, and thus the delivery sounds rather laboured, and at times the effect is closer to Indiana Jones's Dad than the international super-spy. Still, though it does feel a bit out of place at times, Connery's presence is still a boon.

      And Bond looks excellent. Stylish and detailed, the spy is very much reminiscent of the actor, not only in his facial likeness to Connery but the smooth, slick manner in which he moves. And but for a seemingly inevitable descent into samey, corridor-heavy level-design, the solid environments would likely have reached a similar level of excellence. The interiors are pleasantly fleshed-out, and include M's office, Q's laboratory and all manner of other locations linked to the film. From Russia With Love has few troubles presentation-wise; the music in particular is fantastic, whilst the cut-scenes and intro music video come with all the trimmings of a blockbuster venture.

      For the most part, the story is fairly comprehensively covered, though in making it game-friendly, it can sometimes feel inconsistent. The Gypsy Camp shows positive endeavour, incorporating gaming elements around a memorable cinematic scene. Bond is lead through a fire-fight, rescues hostages and ends up covering an injured Kerim Bay with a sniper rifle. But just as this demonstrates a good expansion, the Train level late on is indicative of the missed opportunities, as little is made of a potentially very exciting action setting. It offers some serviceable driving sections as you motor round in an Aston Martin; there's a couple of cool gizmos, but the driving bits on the whole are run of the mill.

      Elsewhere it's guilty of not making imaginative use of the source material - as is the case with so many Bond tie-ins, most of the gadgets are either rarely required or boring to use, with Bond's laser-watch being deployed for little more than busting electronic locks through windows and the sonic cufflinks ending up feeling like novelty stun grenades. The Q-Copter is the one really cool toy at your disposal, as you can guide it through vents into otherwise inaccessible rooms, taking out guards and security systems.

      Realistically, the game would have had a hard time reaching Triple-A standards anyway due to its simplistic, unsatisfying combat. Chiefly, this is the fault of the lock-on function which limits the need for skill and precision in fire-fights. Though the catalogue of weapons is extensive, almost all save for the rocket launcher and sniper rifle handle much the same, with only relatively minor differences. Rummaging around for hidden schematics files rewards the player with ability to upgrade their arsenal, though oddly most parameters only really improve the size of clips or overall quantity of ammunition the player can carry.

      The multiplayer is no great shakes, but it does at least provide the player with some incentive to unlock new characters. And in fairness, there's no shortage of content in From Russia With Love; the 15 main story missions shouldn't take more than a few days to mow through as, but for the odd spike caused by some tricky on-rails shooting sections, the difficulty is relatively gentle. Strong performances are converted into points and bonuses, including perks for killing a set number of foes, completing levels quickly or on a high difficulty, and for achieving a "Bond Moment" - such as gaining access to locked rooms or taking down helicopters. Unusually, there's a generous helping of four additional bonus levels, which should keep to the keener Bond fans busy, as even if they aren't massively diverting, they do provide a robust challenge.

      Once again, we're left with a Bond game that will be appreciated most by fans. There are many better action games - and better Bond ones - available, but as an experiment in resurrecting old source material, it's a surprisingly content-rich title. Unfortunately, it's ultimately undermined by simplistic combat that stunts both the challenge and enjoyment factor.

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        29.08.2011 20:05
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        A great game in the James Bond series

        From Russia With Love is a third-person shooter game for the Playstation 2 developed by EA Games in 2005. It is based on Ian Fleming's James Bond novel of the same name, and also the film of the novel. The game generally follows the plot of the source material upon which it is based, with a few changes. The most major change is that the villainous organisation SPECTRE, headed by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, is absent from the game due to legal issues, and is renamed to OCTOPUS. Aside from this, and a few additional missions which allow for more action to be included in the game, the plot is relatively similar to the novel and film.

        Similar to the film (but not the book), OCTOPUS has conceived of a plan to embarrass MI6 agent 007 in retaliation for the death of Dr No (who Bond killed in the first film) by using the guise of a defecting Soviet agent named Tatiana Romanova to entice Bond into a trap in which they aim to assassinate him. You play as James Bond, who on his mission to assist the defecting agent travels to Istanbul.

        The game is rather a loose adaptation of the film and the book, so should not be compared too closely with the source material, however the main story and characters still remain. The plot is engrossing, with many original plot points, and it keeps you interesting right up to the end. The graphics are very good, with a wide variety of locations and a lot of intricate detail rendered, and the sound quality is also excellent, with the famous Bond theme music included. The gameplay is very good with fluid character movement and controls which are easy to get to grips with, and the levels are very challenging which makes for a better experience and means you really get your money's worth. There are some great moments in the game, particularly the boat ambush in the sewers, and the jet pack sequence at the start.

        A nice feature is the inclusion of "Bond moments" which occur when you take down an enemy or perform a certain action in a special way. There is one Bond moment to be had for each level. For example in one level you will be awarded a Bond moment if instead of shooting a group of enemies, you shoot a gas tank next to a car which will explode and kill them all. This makes the game much more entertaining.

        Overall, From Russia with Love is a great game, although not an incredibly faithful adaptation of its source material. However, its graphics, gameplay and story are all very good with some nice original features and challening levels and so I recommend it to anyone who has not yet played it.

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        04.06.2009 11:51
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        An excellent James Bond game that I would really recommend!

        James Bond - From Russia With Love really is another brilliant James Bond game that I really did very much enjoy playing. The game itself is based on Ian Flemming's novel and it is very much an action game that is just so entertaining to play. I really liked how closely related it was to the original James Bond film with the same name because I could relate to it more. I thought that the overall graphics for the game really were very good and it definately made the game overall more enjoyable to play.

        Another really big feature that I loved about the game was the way that James Bond is customisable. You can customise your james Bond character by adding all sorts of different gadgets, weapons and clothing which adds I found an element of personalisation to the game. There are really some excellent missions in the game that really are quite demanding and involve a whole range of skills which is what I liked most about it. I think this game would be great for any action game fans because the weapons are just so much fun! For that reason alone I would really recommend this game.

        The multiplayer feature is another great point about this game because it is as fun as it ever was. I loved the way that you can either play against your friends or the computer and the way that you can choose your character! The game now has a new Bond Focus mode which gives you more accuracy when shooting and I found this to be very useful. I hope this was useful and thank you very much for reading this.

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        09.01.2006 17:22
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        Solid Bond game in the wake of many below-average past Bond titles.

        It would be fair to say that most people have heard of James Bond. Whether it’s Sean Connery’s charm, Roger Moore’s sophistication or Pierce Brosnan’s humour, Bond has achieved a high status and strong popularity throughout the world. Many things in the Bond films have made an impact on society. The love of martini’s, ‘shaken, not stirred’, the ingenious technological gadgets, and the classic, ‘I haven’t got a costume to wear for the fancy dress party so I’ll wear a tuxedo and say I’m James Bond’ saving grace for all male students everywhere. However, in my opinion, the last couple of Bond films have really just been over-the-top action films and I think the essence has been lost. With this in mind, EA has released a new Bond game based on the film From Russia with Love (1963) and it is not only a breath of fresh air in terms of style, but plays well and immerses you into the 1960s Bond universe.

        As the game is based on the film, the whole feeling and atmosphere is definitely ‘old school’ Bond at its best. From the menus to the graphics and everything in between – a lot of effort has been made to create a realistic interpretation of the film. The music is also very authentic and really adds to the overall atmosphere of the game.

        As an action game, it is a fun and enjoyable journey and all of the authentic elements of the Bond universe serve to heighten the enjoyment factor. The laser watch, remote control helicopter, sonic cufflinks and briefcase turret are just a few of the specialised weapons that you can use to your advantage against the enemy. It’s these touches and the healthy selection of period guns that succeed in entertaining the player. You can sneak around killing the enemy silently in some areas and are rewarded for doing so or go on a John Woo style killing spree with the assault rifle and cause maximum carnage – either way is fun.

        One problem I would say is that the aiming mechanism can be a bit ropey at times. When seven or so guards surround you and the target locks on to a barrel instead of the enemy, it can be pretty frustrating. The zooming in function that lets you focus on guard’s weak points is the only way you can manually aim and if it was included it would add to the experience and make the player feel more in control.

        Despite this the player has control of many aspects of the game that may not normally be accessible in such a game. You have the choice throughout the game to upgrade your weapons – faster firing rate, more ammo, more clips and more special ammo (does more damage than normal ammo). Body armour can be upgraded, as can all of the offensive gadgets as well. Different outfits are picked up as you progress and can be switched whenever you want. Dinner jacket and trousers to Russian soldier disguises are all yours. You can also buy montage movies, concept art (which really is amazingly detailed and beautiful) and also extra characters in the multiplayer mode.

        Multiplayer mode is a lot of fun. The reason I think it is a worthy addition is that you can pick up the normal weapons as in any other action title, but all the gadgets can be used as well. You might find a jetpack in the level and can fly around with special weapons or hop into a armoured vehicle with a rocket launcher attachment – they really add to the tension and creativity of the mode. There is another mode where you have to plant a bomb in the other player’s base but it is one of the worst multiplayer set-ups I have ever played – steer clear of that one and save yourself the frustration!

        For all the criticism that EA receives, I think that it did a good job with From Russia with Love. It captures the Bond license well and as it is based on an older Bond movie, it adds a fresh outlook to quite a standard genre. I would recommend the game as a rental and if you really like it then buying it would not be a bad idea as there is a lot to do and lots to find and unlock. One of the better Bond games on the PS2.

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      • Product Details

        James Bond 007 : From Russia With Love will be the first game to put players in the universe of the classic James Bond films. Set in the original 60's Bond era, the game features movie-based missions as well as original, action-intensive sequences, a broad and deep variety of gameplay, fully-integrated vehicles, social multiplayer experiences, gorgeous women, and classic, upgradeable weapons and gadgetry with modern mechanics.