So now that EA have ran out of recent Bond films to convert into games, EA has delved into the past and plucked From Russia With Love as a suitable choice for the next in the series of Bond games. Its not easy to port a console game to a handheld and retain the feel of the console original, but the developers should be congratulated on how well they have achieved this.
All the cutscenes, level designs and generally good graphics have survived the transition which is a feat in itself regardless of how good the game is. Thankfully, the second is true also and even though this will not revolutionising the handheld or console FPS markts, its a nice enough dabble in light espionage.
There are eight main missions with over thirty extras that branch off, meaning that you will have lots to do before the game is 100% complete. There isplenty of variety aswell, with fun Jetpack flying missions, rescuing hostages and protecting friendly units by sniping; and although all this variety is well and good this game does have an annoying flaw, and its nothing to do with the development at all.
Over time gamers, myself included have become accustomed to dual analog controls, and the absence of a second stick in this PSP iteration makes control of the character and game in general harder than it has to be. The circle and square buttons rotate the camera but it is slow and often will ‘glitch’ behind objects and even walls. Taking these errors on board takes some getting used to, but eventually it becomes usable. Its just plain annoying when you have to round a corner without knowing what may lie in wait for you because the camera decides it does want to spin round any further. The absence of a second analog already makes 3rd person shooters difficult to control, but having a clunky camera system just makes things harder.
Frame rates will drop, sometimes noticeably, and some of the levels do have tears and graphical glitches. None are game shattering, but with a little more time spent on the game these problems could have been avoided.
Where From Russia With Love does excel is the multiplayer. Modes such as Deathmatch are available as is a cool Jetpack flyng mode. What makes this game stand out above other PSP games however is – bots. Yes, bots. These nearly always benefit a gamers experience, giving them chance to scout out multiplayer levels and to hone their skills before playing for real. Maybe even just to lay the game out, but not in a mission situation. So kudos for including this option.
In the end, From Russia With love is not groundbreaking, but it wasn’t expected to be. As an ported FPS it does a very good job indeed, and the bot option in multiplayer mode makes this experience even better.