By F1000003 2 Comments
I am continuing with the rather futile task of playing all the video games.
Since my last blog Activision have announced the release of 007 Legends, a new Bond game featuring scenes from 6 of the films, including the new one, Skyfall, to be released later this year. So that's a game I'm going to have to come back to later. Talking of coming back to games, still no sign of 007: Everything or Nothing for the PS2! So in between sessions of playing Waves, Fez, Trials Evolution and after eight years finally finishing the magnificent 4-player competitive co-op Gamecube game Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, I have also played through 007: From Russia with Love. I’ve heard good things about Everything or Nothing, so I definitely will be returning to this once it arrives!
Game 000004: 007: From Russia with Love
From Russia with Love was the final game EA developed before losing the Bond license. The game was released towards the end of the lifespan of the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube. A PSP game was also released for this game, but reviews suggest that this was a poor port of the home console versions.
I played the PS2 version of this game over several small gaming sessions during the last few days, spending a total of seven hours with the game. To my surprise, unlike the last two games on my list - I thought that this one was actually quite good. Not that the last two games were actively bad, but this is the only one of the three that I could make an argument for a four star rating... Maybe. Let me however, caveat that statement with the remark that I haven't yet played Everything or Northing. A game which, from what I've read, did everything that this game does, but did it two years earlier - and did it better. Still, I guess my point is, I think that the 3rd person shooter is a better format for a modern Bond game - or at the very least, I admire it for being slightly different.
The game is roughly based on the film - but perhaps does a better job of capturing the feel of the early Sean Connery films in general, rather than From Russia with Love in particular. In particular there are some great nostalgic scenes early on in the game that have Bond visit M's office, and Q's lab. If memory serves, this was actually the first film to introduce Q - and Bond was only given one gadget. In the game however, the player has the usual plethora of gadgets - including a remote controlled toy helicopter fitted with wireless camera and explosives. While fun to use, it did stick out as being a little out of place in a game that otherwise is visually and stylistically quite faithful to the Connery ear. Talking of Connery, he returns to the role to provide new dialogue for Bond throughout the games frequent cut-scenes and story-beats. Initially this dialogue is actually a little jarring, as Sean Connery actually sounds more like "Sean Connery playing Sean Connery" than "Sean Connery playing James Bond" (his accent is thicker than in the films), but as this is a re-imagining of the film, I soon got used to this.
From Russia with Love has 14 missions, plus a handful of optional unlockable levels. As with Agent Under Fire, there were essentially three types of mission - and yet again the on-rails shooter (this time on the back of a boat) and the driving levels were the poorest parts of the game. They provided nice mission variety, and were fun in short bursts - but didn't provide anything that you'd want to go back through to play again... which is unfortunate, because 3 of the 14 missions are driving levels that have you drive around the exact same streets each time.
The game has plenty to like, with a reasonably intelligent AI that use the scenery well in order to take cover - but are ultimately foiled by the games ridiculously lenient auto-aim system. There are well designed stealth mechanics as well, but it is perhaps a shame that there really is little incentive to use them, as even on the hardest difficulty setting the vast majority of the missions can be completed by just running and gunning through them.
The weapon select system was well implemented using the d-pad, and the game pauses to give you time to choose the right gun depending upon the task at hand. Each gun and gadget in the game can be improved by spending research points that are found hidden around each level - providing plenty of secret areas to find during the course of a mission.
Perhaps the best parts of the From Russia with Love were the levels that gave you the jetpack to fly through. With unlimited fuel and ammo - these sections were always trivial, but somehow immensely satisfying, as the device handled well and it gave a sense of speed that was perhaps lacking from the rest of the game.
There have been improvements made to 3rd person shooters in recent years, but this game doesn't feel quite as behind the curve as Bond's 1st person equivalents - and as such is the best of the Bond games I've played so far.
I'll continue to wait for Everything or Nothing to arrive - but until then I guess it's time to figure out how on earth you get a Spectrum to work on a modern TV!