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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Redwood Shores

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q1 2006

 

 

- Finally, a Bond game starring Sean Connery

- Aiming controls lock on to intended target rather fluidly

- Amazing, console-quality graphics and visuals

 

 

- Camera swings camera view left and right slightly too fast

- Vehicle controls too loose to handle properly

- Short

 

 

Review: 007: Everything or Nothing (GC)

Review: 007: Agent Under Fire (XB)

Review: GoldenEye: Rogue Agent (PS2)

 

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From Russia With Love

Score 7.7 / 10

 

Pierce Brosnan did a nice job in his conveyance. So did Roger Moore. But by far the most suave and sophisticated actor to play James Bond was Sean Connery. He was the perfect blend of cool, charming and cunning in his portrayal of 007, the British secret agent who has saved the world and bedded breathtaking beauties more than a few times over the years.

 

from russia with love          from russia with love

 

From Russia With Love, Electronic Artsí latest Bond game, brings back Connery to the role heís most remembered for, the martini-swilling super spy. While EA had the Bond license it just relinquished to Activision, it churned out more than a few disappointing and lackluster Bond games (007 Racing and the newer GoldenEye particularly) mixed with some better-than-average titles (Everything or Nothing and Nightfire). From Russia With Love on the consoles (Xbox, PS2 and GameCube) found itself somewhere in the middle.

 

For the PSP, From Russia With Love scores a bit higher than its console counterparts, mostly because it offers a good, portable third-person action title ó and the PSP is sorely lacking many of these similar-type third-person action titles, save for Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror and SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo.

 

Set in 1963, the debonair spy travels to Istanbul , takes a ride on the Orient Express and has a rendezvous with a beautiful Russian agent. There are eight levels in all to take Bond through, unlocking classic villains and taking on 16 Bond Challenges to keep the gameplay interesting. The plot of the game loosely follows that of the movie, where the evil organization Octopus (renamed from the movieís SPECTRE) is out to eliminate Bond, although EA has taken liberties by adding its own twists and deleting certain content from the film along the way.

 

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So the story is relatively good, especially if you like spy plots ŗ la Bond. You know, the one that has Bond facing an evil organization under the control of a notorious and larger-than-life evil madman intent on destruction and world domination, Bond saving the day against incalculable odds, and bedding beautiful girls (both good and bad) for good measure (with a few shaken, not stirred martinis to quench his thirst), all the time the classic Bond theme melodically wafting throughout your missions.

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Famous Bond characters from the movies make appearances, including MI6 secretary (and one of Bondís favorite women to flirt with) Moneypenny, and of course Q, the supplier of all Bondís fantastic gadgets and vehicles. It wouldnít be a Bond game without Bond gadgets straight from Qís lab like the Q-copter, laser watch, briefcase turret and sonic cufflinks.

 

Gameplay is the usual third-person shooter fare, with Bond traversing various locales, shooting his way through the bad guys on foot and in the air (with his jetpack). There are also plenty of vehicles youíll need to drive, the most recognizable being Bondís signature 1963 Aston Martin roadster with machine guns and rocket launchers. Thereís also a speedboat and the aforementioned futuristic jetpack that Bond will use in a big battle that culminates in front of the facing of Big Ben, the most famous clock tower in the world. The vehicle controls leave a lot to be desired, making Bondís actions sometimes too difficult in the face of adversity. That couples with the too-fast swinging camera that lets you look left and right.

 

from russia with love          from russia with love

 

However, the aiming and targeting lock-on controls are top-notch, as are the amazing visuals of the game, which owe a debt of gratitude to its console brothers for a first-rate graphical presentation, including a dead-on Connery likeness. Voice acting, as you might expect with a stellar cast, is way above the average video game acting performance.

 

A.I. in the game isnít always particularly smart, making the gameplay even in tough missions rather easy to defeat. There are classic boss battles to ramp up the difficulty, but even those arenít really too taxing to handle. For a bit more of a challenge than the A.I. serves up, there is ad-hoc multiplayer for up to 16 players, but no actual online mode.

 

One of the better action titles available on the PSP, From Russia With Love is definitely not without flaws: it doesnít last too long, the gameplay is a bit too easy, and there are some control issues. EA seemed to never squeeze the best out of Bond while it held control of the Bond rights. With Activision taking the reigns over the Bond license, letís hope future Bond titles delve even further into the Bond movie library. Letís also hope this isnít the last Bond video game to star Connery, because if anybody can raise a Bond video game to original GoldenEye quality again, itís Connery.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(May 30, 2006)

 

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