What Bond fan hasn’t at least once wanted to play as Sean Connery’s classic Bond? Well, now’s the chance! Connery is back as Bond—not just in visual but in audio! Sean Connery does the actual voice acting for the game, giving you an “old chums” feeling as you guide Bond through hordes of enemies. The game is based on the classic 1963 film, and follows it closer than other Bond games have (*cough, Tomorrow Never Dies, cough*). The game could be considered the sequel to Everything or Nothing, so expect the same quality in this game.
We all know the story of From Russia With Love, and it was thankfully kept intact with a few minor changes. As a tutorial level, the game begins in London where Bond is attending a dinner party at Parliament. However, surprise surprise, terrorist gatecrashers arrive and it is up to Bond to save the day and the girl.
A model of Sean Connery as James Bond
Next comes the first teaser sequence: the infamous Hedge maze. You finish off the level with a trip to MI6, where you get to interact with Moneypenny, M, and Q.
The general scenes from the film are greatly extended to make levels, but they are mostly plausible and go with the film’s plot. Istanbul puts you behind the driver’s seat of Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 and you get to blow away some commies. Again, many scenes from the movie are playable, such as everyone’s favorite: the gypsy camp scene. You also get to help out Kerim Bay in Sniper’s Alley and infiltrate the Russian consulate.
However, because of legal battles between EON and Kevin McClory there is no SPECTRE. Instead, the villainous organization is called OCTOPUS, which appears to lack a head honcho like Blofeld. However, you get to blow plenty of their henchmen away at their factory, at the border and at their secret base! Red Grant has become a more central character and always seems to be shadowing Bond, much like in the movie.
All in all, the movie’s plot is intact, even if SPECTRE is not. Also missing is the sex scandal the Red Grant planned to humiliate Bond. This was probably left out so that it would not complicate the game’s plot and so it would be more accessible to younger audiences.
Like Everything or Nothing, the game is in the third person, which is enjoyable and you get to play as dashing young Sean Connery.
Although based on the Everything or Nothing engine, the controls and abilities are somewhat different. You can still hide behind walls, tumble and use many other abilities. However, “Bond sense” has been replaced by a special targeting system. When you lock-on to a henchman, you can press a button and zoom in. Target rituals show the main weak spots and you can move a curser over them then jump out from behind the wall and blow them to kingdom come.
Eve, one of the new characters in the game
One feature I found welcome was the abundance of ammo for your PPK. It was always irksome to me to have to play a Bond game using automatic weapons, which Bond hardly ever uses, and are not in his style. However, you can play the entire game just using your PPK, should you choose.
The newest feature is the new hand-to-hand combat system. This way, when you are close enough you can unleash some of Sean Connery’s powerful combat moves such as pistol whips and judo.
Driving missions help to break up the game and showcase the same great driving engine as Everything or Nothing. Rail shooting missions have returned, although they can be more difficult as there is no type of target lock-on and the baddies swarming mercilessly.
The controls are easy to learn and you can pick the game up at any time and easily comprehend them.
Lastly, the game features an inventory system, harkening back to the days of the The World is Not Enough video game. However, using this inventory you can change Bond’s outfit, should you choose, and if you have found extra garb. You can play Bond in an array of outfits including dinner jacket, tux, gray suit and more.
Guns and Gadgets:
Returning in this game is Bond’s classic Walter PPK (PPK for short), which is always silenced, like in Tomorrow Never Dies. However, it is still powerful and nice to have the old sidearm back. However, it has a 12-round clip to start out with (about 2 times the regular load), just so that you don’t have to reload constantly in firefights.
An e-Sean Connery poses in front of the Aston Martin, DB5
Along with your PPK, you can get your basic submachine gun, which looks like something one of Blofeld’s retro henchmen would carry. You can also acquire a host of powerful weapons, including a magnum, an AK-47, sniper’s rifle, bazooka, anti-armor rifle and grenades.
Gadgets are where this game has a big bonus. You have the classic laser watch, but this time you can actually use it to hurt people (although it is mainly used for hitting tricky switches). There are all sorts of fantastic toys to play with in this game, including a dart gun that makes the enemy attack each other, sonic cufflinks and the Q-copter, which is a remote-controlled helicopter that most certainly is not a toy - it explodes to destroy certain consoles a la Metal Gear Solid.
Thunderball jetpack, although it has had a few… modifications, in the form of machine guns and rockets.
One of the best features of this game is the addition of weapon and gadget customization. By picking up blueprints, hitting henchmen dead-on, or unlocking attaché cases you earn research points, which you can use to buy upgrades for your guns, gadgets and health. Some guns you can make faster, increase ammo supply, make them more powerful, increase the clip/ magazine, whatever. It’s up to you how you use your points!
Also new to this game is the inclusion of special ammunition. By going to the inventory menu, you can switch from standard ammo to special ammo, which is more powerful and more accurate.
A model of Robert Shaw as Red Grant
From Russia With Love’s graphics are the same high-quality as those of Everything or Nothing. In most instances, it looks as if you truly are in a classic Bond movie, with rich backgrounds straight from Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, or You Only Live Twice. The villain’s lairs have the same look and feel as those from the movies.
The vehicle graphics are also quite good, as the DB5 looks as realistic as if it was parked in your driveway. Happily, in my opinion, when your health gets low it does not look as messed up as if a lorry hit it, but instead looks a bit scratched-up.
The jetpack graphics are also superb, with the blue and yellow flames spewing out in high-quality.
One of the best features of this game is the inclusion of Sean Connery’s voice talent - no one sounds just like him. Although most of the movie’s characters are voiced by people other than the original characters, the voices are still close to the original, Kerim Bay’s especially.
The music seems just like that from a Bond movie, and the score shifts with the environment and the conflict. It is fully-orchestrated, and feels just like the music from one of the classic Bond movies, with hints of Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and many other motifs shining though as you mow-down the bad guys.
From Russia With Love includes multiplayer, in which you play as villains from the classic Bond films and from the game and engage in a battle royale with your friends. It includes the favorite Golden and Platinum guns, as well as several vehicles. Although multiplayer co-op is not featured, chances are that you won’t miss it.
EA has another winner with From Russia With Love. The graphics are great, the quality is great, and it has some decent replay value. Plus, you get to play out the events of one of the most monumental Bond films in history. You’ll love it for it’s enjoyable game play, its customization, the gadgets, the guns, and the vehicles. Plus, you get to play as Sean Connery’s Bond! Both Bond fans and hardcore gamers alike should enjoy this fast-paced 1960’s-themed game.
Screenshots supplied by GameStop
Review written by Data