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"From Russia With Love" is one of my favorite James Bond films. It's got an exciting plot, and it's got Sean Connery, who is a competitor for my title of favorite Bond. Therefore, I immediately became interested in the game "From Russia With Love" when I heard that Sean Connery would actually be doing the voice acting for Bond in the game. I think it's cool that the developers tried to go for an appeal towards the classic Bond fans, as well as attract some new ones. What's not cool however, is not explaining the story in any way, depicting Bond as Rambo rather than stealthy, and delivering an overall game that feels lost in transition.
Let's begin with the gameplay. It's kind of varied, and enough to at least be given a pass there, since I full understand the parameters that the developers were working on. The PSP is a powerful handheld, but it's obviously not going to have the space to support mission after mission. As it is, the single player is long enough to be justified. Many of the missions will take a good 15-30 minutes depending on your skill and the difficulty setting of the game. In addition, there are things mixed apart from typical 3rd person shooting. One of these is actually a pretty cool fight with a helicopter, in which you get to fly around in a jetpack with a minigun on it. However, these types of missions are too few and far between, and as for the actual 3rd person shooting that makes up most of the game, there just isn't enough variance. James Bond is supposed to be stealthy. Sneak attacks from above, silenced pistols, etc. Instead, this game basically has you walking right into the open and mowing down really dumb enemies with SMGs and Assault Rifles. There isn't a lot of cover to hide behind, and often times the enemy characters will simply stand, not moving and looking at the direction at which you will come from. There's no way to sneak by them. You are forced to play like it's Die Hard 4, or the 6th season of 24- which is to say, lot's of shooting. Too much shooting in fact, that it becomes dull, bland, and background. Maybe it's just me, but I think it's way more cool to have that feel of "dark creature in the night", sneaking around taking out enemies rather than just walking right up to them and hip-firing an unsilenced submachine gun.
Now onto the controls. I'm going to be very lenient here because I know how limited and difficult it is for the developers to make great controls for a shooter on the PSP. This is due to the whole restriction of only one analog stick. Basically the developers had a choice here between giving the user the ability to pan the camera, or creating a center system similar to the Z-targeting used in N64 classics like Goldeneye or Legend of Zelda. Since "From Russia With Love" is a 3rd person shooter though, the panning camera seems like a better fit, and the developers did reasonably well with it. Basically the analog stick controls Bonds movements, but the square and circle buttons pan your camera left and right. This is all well and good, and works reasonably well. However, it suffers from two major flaws, both of which could easily have been fixed by the developers, making them all the more frustrating. The first flaw is that the sensitivity for panning the camera is simply too slow. Often times I found myself being shot at from behind. However, you can't simply spin around like you can on a console with that second analog stick. Instead, you have to SLOWLY peek around to make that 180 degree turn on enemies. This generally means they've already gotten a couple of shots on you to deplete your armor or health. The other problem with this camera is that it's buggy. It will get caught on things, and sometimes have spasms on you when you try to lock into an enemy with your gun using the left trigger. Usually this results in Bond quickly spinning around and shooting randomly in the opposite direction. All in all it feels a bit too unresponsive for me.
The game does however deserve some props for it's multiplayer. In fact, I really respect EA for what they have done with it to make a worthwhile lasting experience which justifies purchasing the game rather than perhaps just renting it. There are four maps that you can play on. It's not much, but remember, we are talking about the PSP here and space restrictions obviously had to limit some potential. The gameplay of multiplayer itself though is quite good. It's fast paced, but strategy can still be used. The maps all have their different power positions, and each weapon has a time and place to use it. What really impressed me though, is the feature to allow yourself to play with AI bots set to a difficulty of your choosing depending on your skill of the game. This feature of the game impressed me for a couple of reasons. First, it allows people to play that either do not have WiFi to connect to, or are in a place without WiFi to play off of. And second, it adds to the longevity of the game. Obviously the video game "From Russia With Love" for the Sony PSP isn't the best-selling product in the world. Plus, the game was released a couple of years ago. Therefore it's very rare and highly unlikely that you will discover another player online to play a match with. With the bots however, you can still enjoy the well put together multiplayer maps. Sure, they aren't the same as real competition, but they can be tricky with flanking routes and such at times, and put at the hardest setting, they can still give you a bit of a challenge.
Overall, this game is very high-low. It's pros are very good, while it's cons seem unforgettably bad. The single player is a decent length, but its filled with too much of the same. The graphics, sounds, and shooting are great for the PSP, but they are hindered by the wonky camera control. However, multiplayer comes through to shine, making this game long and enjoyable enough to be worth the buy. It's certainly not the best, most polished game on the market. But if you look at the options out there for those of us looking for shooting action on our PSPs, we can't be too picky. And fortunately, "From Russia With Love" offers enough to us that make it decent enough for that on-the-go shooting fix.
In the grand tradition of PSP games, From Russia with Love apes a more successful console game, and while it might look the part, it's missing some of the original game's very best sections (chiefly the driving segments).
If you've seen the Connery Bond film, then you know the premise, and it's hardly nuanced or layered. It's all about blowing up a lot of stuff, killing a lot of people, and taking the generic baddie down. While a lot of Bond games promote stealth, this does not; it's a bombastic, totally ridiculous, and very loud, which you'll either love or hate. The game's main issue is that, once again, the PSP's controls are incredibly annoying, and the camera angles don't fare a whole lot better to be honest. These two elements make the frenetic pace difficult to deal with, and while the game isn't overly hard, these things do add up any make it more frustrating.
Visually, the game looks decent, but nothing really more. The levels are the best aspect, aptly resembling their PS2 counterpart well, while some of the character renderings look a touch ropey and almost "cardboard". Aurally, the real coup is scoring the talent of Sean Connery to come in and re-record some dialogue, but the majority of the audio work is routine at best, and is pretty uninspired.
This is a pretty banal reworking of a decent enough PS2 game, with a difficulty level inflated considerably by horrendous camera and control mechanics. There is a decent enough local multiplayer mode, but given the aforementioned complaints, its potential is somewhat stunted. While the PS2 version was pretty good, this one doesn't make the grade.
I bought this game for £25 in hmv some time ago. but i still believe it was worth the price because it gives you the chance to relive most childrens fantasy of being the 007 spy agent. Though the game is for teens, I can see adults of all ages loving this to because of its gripping storyline that we see in the film, with a few added elements. The game itself has very good graphics(better than that of the ps2) which makes fighting off henchmen and body guard even more exciting and gripping. One feature I thought was very good in the game was the Bond moment achievments in which if you do something in the way bond would such as taking down a helicopter in under 30 seconds you get a golden star, which can be used to purchase a variety of Qs gadgets such as video survellience helicopters.
You can also play in multiplayer mode against upto 6 friends on other psps.
The original James Bond returns in a game based on one of the greatest and most loved Bond films of all time. When I say James Bond I do actually mean James Bond as Sean Connery has actually voiced the character in this game!!! As is always customary with a PSP game, you place the encased disc in the back of the machine and wait for it to load and off we go...... The game play closely follows the plot of the film throughout and you do get to see the characters from the film as well such as Red Grant and Rosa Klebb who both play quite large parts in the plot.
The plot revolves around Bond being lured into a trap based on a photo of a lady called Tatiana Romanova, M sends bond in knowing what he is walking into as a carrot, in the form of the Lektor Decoder, has been dangled as the prize. To lengthen the game some additional levels that were not featured in the film have been inserted into the plotline at various points, these include the chase through the Houses of Parliament. This is at the start of the game where the well known pre-title sequence would occur in a Bond movie. Bond is given the task of protecting the Prime Ministers daughter, Elizabeth Stark, as you can imagine Bond is in the right place at the right time and throughout this sequence you play the part of Bond in third person and must rescue Ms Stark from the operatives of Octopus. Elizabeth Stark is voiced by pop star Natasha Bedingfield.
It seemed that Electronic Arts, the makers of the game, were not allowed to use the name of Spectre for legal reasons that had yet to be resolved and so had to invent a new Spectre-like organisation.
There are a number of immediately recognisable locations lifted directly from the film include the Gypsy Camp, the Russian Embassy to grab the Lektor Decoder and the Garden sequence that was originally based on Spectre Island. What seemed strange to me was that Bond was given the gadgets to assist him in this mission, only trouble was that these were the Aston Martin from Goldfinger and the Jet Pack from Thunderball. Strange because the missions that Bond used these on were actually set after From Russia with Love, minor I know but as a Bond fan it was somewhat confusing.
The ambiance of the early sixties has been captured to a tee in the lighting and the details that have been put together, in fact at some points early on the details do tend to take your eye of the action. The look that has been given to the characters are totally spot on, Bond's clothing and movements have been captured in some quite amazing detail of how he looked in the film, and this has continued with the remainder of the cast as well, as the rest of the cast are the spitting images of her screen character. In fact the motion is incredibly impressive, even with the Jet Pack at full blast there is no blurriness and the picture doesn't jolt at all. The explosions do speak for themselves and the sounds that are produced from these are clear and crisp while also conveying what the size of the explosion actually is. If a factory goes up then the sound backs it up to the extent that you do realise the scale of what is happening in the game.
The feel of Bond has been replicated to a high degree, the soundtrack from the film sounds truly amazing and the title sequence opening the proceedings is totally Bond, presented in just a rich red and Black that is eye catching to say the least.
Not all the locations and levels are the same as throughout Bond has to do certain actions such as rescue colleagues and cross obstacles to reach the other side of the room. Sporadically there are a number of reaction tests that you literally have to react to quickly to win the challenge. The arsenal that Bond has consists of his Walther PPK as well as AK47's and grenades that can be utilised at the correct time and place, also the placements of body armour has been well thought out as some are hard to find yet others are there in front of you when you may not realise you need them.
Overall the early parts of the game really do enthral and entertain, as the newness and originality shines through, if you do get killed you really want to continue the game. Unfortunately towards the end, the levels and game play does become a little bit repetitive as it is just a case of shooting your gun in the right place to resolve an issue, also the levels matching the film have also stopped by now as you have parachuted in the island base of Octopus. The feel that I got from this part of the game was that the game was behind schedule as the Octopus facility that you are inside doesn't seem to have a personality and is bland in looks as well as story and on the whole is rough and not as stylish as the first half of the game. I think that the removal of the driving sections to facilitate the limits of the PSP doesn't make for a good decision as I would like to have seen more of the DB5 than just being used in the cut scenes between levels.
I enjoyed playing this as the game itself is a blast to play and once you get used to the targeting system then the game does open out but does end on a spark rather than a crescendo of explosions. Completion of the game took me just over 20 hours, playing across 6 nights. This is easily the best Bond offering from EA in some time. Personally the best thing for me was that Connery had returned to the Bond universe for the first time in over 20 years and that for me is a big selling point for the game itself!!