From Russia With Love PlayStation 2
Published by Electronic Arts
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
From Russia With Love, an introduction.
I spent my childhood in the 70's and 80's and remember regularly watching a Bond movie on Christmas day. Back then of course James Bond was either played by Roger Moore or Sean Connery and both were excellent in the part (unlike those who've played the part since). Both men had charisma and both of their personalities suited the Bond character. As you can probably tell then I was pleased to find out that a game based on a Connery Bond movie, From Russia With Love, was in development if only to see one of the truly great Bond actors back in the role.
What's the game about?
As you've probably guessed, From Russia With Love is a game based on the 1963 Bond movie of the same name. Bond has been sent to Turkey to get hold of an encryption device. Things don't go according to plan however and Bond has walked straight into a trap. As you might expect the game doesn't stick rigidly to the plot of the film with various elements from the film being cut and action orientated sequences inserted to make for a more active experience.
What's good about the game?
From Russia With Love is a solid third-person action game. With the game being based on quite an old movie you'd expect the game to have a yesteryear look about it in terms of environments and vehicles etc. and for the most part it succeeds with this. The game is instantly accessible and even if you aren't used to playing action games it will only take you a matter of minutes to feel comfortable with the game (some might think the game is too easy though as we'll mention in a moment). Aiming is a cinch and won't cause any problems. Taking out your enemies is as simple as pressing the L1 button to lock-on to your nearest enemy and then pressing the R1 to fire. There are times when stealth is called for but it's not difficult or frustrating by any means. There are moments in the game where the combat will become vehicular in nature as Bond drives classic cars, speedboats and even a jetpack. These sections of the game are quite small but they help to change the pace of the game and give it some needed variety. A few nice touches have been included in the game such as the ability to shoot an enemy's radio to stop him calling for back-up and you can also upgrade Bond's weapons and gadgets with the research points that you can collect during missions.
What's not so good about the game?
My biggest gripe with the game is the frame rate which frequently takes a dive. Don't get me wrong it never spoils the game but it's very obvious and is unfortunate. Whether this is just the case on the PlayStation 2 version I honestly couldn't say, but it's a shame. It's also a bit of a disappointment that the game isn't quite up to the standard of the previous Bond game, Everything or Nothing. The combat is too easy (on all 3 difficulty levels) and the game can easily be finished off in less than 10 hours by someone who picks up an action game once in a while. The multiplayer side of the game is a split-screen affair which means that on the PlayStation 2 you'll be confined to a two player game unless you have a Multitap. It could even be argued that the game isn't very faithful to the plot of the movie, although not many games that are based on movies are and most do tend to go off on a tangent.
How does it look?
The game actually looks quite good and the visuals set the mood pretty nicely. The developers have managed to recreate a younger Sean Connery quite impressively which certainly adds to the game. As we've mentioned above though the frame rate is the big disappointment here and whilst the graphics look good, with the various environments all looking the part, they are certainly nothing the PlayStation 2 shouldn't be able to handle and to see the frame rate dip so dramatically at times (never quite to slide show proportions though) is disappointing.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
From Russia With Love is not too bad for deaf gamers. The game does offer subtitles but rather annoyingly these are not on by default and you cannot enable them before starting a game. On loading the game for the first time you'll be thrown straight into the first mission. Once you're past the initial cutscene you can then enable the subtitles. You'll have to complete the first mission and then replay it if you want to see the first cutscene subtitled. Simply selecting to restart the mission the first time through will miss off the initial cutscene. This is a rather silly way of going about things and it would have been a better option to have had the subtitles enabled by default. Once the subtitles are enabled though, you'll be fine. The mission objectives are shown in text and you can recall them at any time. You are also notified in text when you receive a new objective. Objective locations are highlighted on your mini-map too, which is helpful. You'll also find that tutorial messages are also shown in text.
If you're a Bond fan you're going to like From Russia With Love. The game isn't quite up to the standard of Everything or Nothing and it takes a few liberties with the plot of the movie. The game is also too easy in places (regardless of the difficulty level you play on) which also spoils the fun somewhat. Overall though it's an enjoyable game even if it doesn’t manage to live up to the high expectations after the great effort that was Everything or Nothing.
Overall Game Rating: 7.1/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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From Russia With Love is a solid action game that throws some new ingredients into the Bond game mix. However it's too easy and action game enthusiasts will breeze through the game in no time.