From Russia With Love Review
Bond, James Bond. Shaken, not stirred. These classic James Bond lines were meant to be spoken by Sean Connery. To borrow from a Bond theme song from a different era, nobody does it better. It’s a shame that Connery played Bond in an era when Pong was but a distant dream on the horizon of tomorrow because video gamers have been denied the chance to play Bond as he was played by the actor who to many people is James Bond. Until now, that is. From Russia with Love brings back the classic Bond in one of his classic adventures and puts it on a device that would certainly have impressed Q himself.
One of the things that’s so great about Bond is that whether he is chatting up a countess at an embassy ball, betting a small fortune on a hand of baccarat, or turning the tables on a potential assassin he always remains his cool and suave self. This isn’t the case in the game, though. Sure Bond looks great and acts cool in the game’s numerous cutscenes, but once the action starts he has a tendency to run into walls or to be slowly shot to death from the side by an unseen assailant. The problem lies in the game’s controls and the fact that they take so long to turn Bond around or to keep the camera behind him. You’ll like a blind man going up stairwells as it is impossible to see the next flight of stairs and you try to find it by feel. Turning a corner in a small room will have you missing the door at least half of the time. Sure part of the problem lies in the lack of a second analog control on the PSP, but the developers need to compensate for this with tighter turn controls and faster camera response.
These issues are annoying when you’re trying to get from one place to another, but when the shooting starts it becomes a deadly problem. To shoot at enemies you must use the left trigger to obtain a target lock, but unfortunately you can not lock onto any enemies until you can see them. This means that enemies will always see you first and get the first shots in. Making matters worse is that there is no way to tell from which direction the shots are coming, so when you start getting shot the only thing you can do is to try and spin in place frantically pushing the trigger until it finally locks on somebody. This leads to much loss of health in the game and consequently many, many deaths. Further adding to the frustration is that the game does not allow mid-mission saves and the checkpoints are spread too far apart. This means that you’d better be ready to do a lot of backtracking through some areas.
As a further aid to shooting the game has a focus mode that you enable by pressing the Square button after locking onto a target. This zooms in the view and lets you pinpoint the exact location to hit, which lets you do cool things like shoot the gun out of an enemy’s hand. The good: this mode can save you a lot of ammo as otherwise the game’s guns lose ammo fast than a colander loses water and there are hardly any ammo pick-ups in the game. The bad: you can’t move while in focus mode so you’re a sitting duck target while using it.
One of the game’s cool features is that you can earn “stars” for good shots or taking out an enemy unarmed. These stars allow you to upgrade your weapons to make them more powerful, and more powerful weapons are a must in this game.
Overall the campaign game can be entertaining, but the frustrations caused by the controls will at times force you to put your PSP down in disgust. Once you complete the single player game you can play it in multiplayer mode over Ad Hoc. However, there’s nothing that special about the multiplayer game so you probably won’t spend much time with it.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 62%. Control issues deep six this double-o seven.