It’s no secret that when a game company acquires a license to make games based on a movie franchise, the devs will do anything to make some extra dough before the next film is released. Take Electronic Arts and the 007 franchise, for instance. A year after Everything or Nothing took to the shelves, the next film in the Bond franchise was still training at the MI6 HQ, so EA decided to take what they had built in the 2004 action game and do a little refining. But instead of writing an original story, they pulled a slick trick and chose to turn the clock all the way back to the 1960s. So how does James Bond 007: From Russia with Love fare at going from 60s cinema to third-person shooting? Let’s hop into our trusty Aston Martins and find out.
Strike, double, Turkey (The country)
The story follows that of the second James Bond film, although there are some tweaks due to legal/licensing reasons. The famous MI6 agent is attending a party as part of one of his usual assignments. While Bond is ordering his usual shaken-not-stirred martini, an evil organization called OCTOPUS crashes the party and abducts Elizabeth Stark, daughter of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. After the obligatory rescue mission, Bond learns that OCTOPUS is looking to steal an encoding device called the Lektor. Armed with the usual arsenal of cars and gadgets, it’s up to good ol’ 007 to be the true sharpshooter he is and return the Lektor in one piece.
As I mentioned, From Russia with Love is a refinement of the excellent Everything or Nothing. It still relies on cover-and-shoot gameplay, but makes some adjustments to the controls and adds new moves. You have a new ability called Bond Focus, which allows you to shoot even the smallest targets, like walkie-talkies. Melee attacks have now turned into quick-time events, initiated whenever you run towards an enemy. Your range of weapons, gadgets, outfits, and vehicles all reflect the 1960s era of the James Bond franchise, the first two of which can be upgraded by spending experience points.
Love is in the air
From Russia with Love is packed with enthralling missions, and not a single level disappoints in the graphics department. Being a 2005 sixth-gen game, there can occasionally be slowdown because of things like multiple explosions, but the graphics engine is still full of well-produced lighting and textures. Also joining you on your journey is a truckload of satisfactory audio. The soundtrack has a laundry list of fitting melodies, and you will constantly hear above-average voice-acting from popular names like Sean Connery, Natasha Bedingfield, and Maria Menounos.
If you want to bring your friends along for 1960s-era deathmatches, From Russia with Love will grant your wish. You get a hefty number of characters and maps, and there are two other game types other than your standard match. Sabotage is a contest to see who is the best at detonating and disarming bombs, and Dogfight is a match type where you’re constantly airborne via jetpack.
I believe in a thing called love
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I believe EA did a wonderful job taking gamers back to the beginning decade of the James Bond franchise. Going into this game expecting GoldenEye will fill you with disappointment, but you should be able to enjoy From Russia with Love if you like third-person action games of any kind. Put that martini on the coaster and get to sharpshooting!