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Published and Developed by: EA
For: Xbox, PS2, GC
Version Reviewed: GC
ESRB Rating: T for Violence, Suggestive Themes

In what could be viewed as a cautious move by EA after its last atrocious game that was set within the Bond universe, the company has brought one of the franchise?s most beloved tales to the video game format. In the process, they?ve kept many memorable sequences, omitted information, made errors, and expanded action sequences in order to create a more video game friendly experience from one of Bond?s least violent movies. And of course anyone who?s ever paid any attention to Bond will recognize that Sean Connery is reprising his role as the famed agent, and though his voice is rougher around the edges, it still has that same flair. The same characters star in the story, and you even get to participate in the motor boat chase, as well as drive the 1969 Aston Martin DB5. While all of that is well and good, a Bond game isn?t a quality game without good game mechanics. The player needs to feel the improvisation that Bond seems to utilize; they need to experience the suave and debonair world that is James Bond. In short, the player needs to become Bond. 2003?s Everything or Nothing completed that task admirably, and its predecessor Nightfire attempted it at the beginning and was mostly successful. The question, therefore, is whether or not EA can pull a hat trick with the next in its line of actual Bond games. Unfortunately, the results end up more stirred than shaken.

Game Play: 12/20

It?s a problem when a friend of mine, who happens to be one of the biggest Bond fans I?ve ever met and loved Everything or Nothing to death (except for its ill-conceived co-op mode), doesn?t like From Russia With Love because it doesn?t play right, and more importantly, doesn?t capture the essence of the movie. It?s a worse problem when, after a couple more hours at the helm, I begin to agree with him. It starts off with a bang?one that isn?t in the movie. Involving jet packs, Big Ben, and exploding helicopters, the intro sequence is awesome fun, and traditionally over the top. But it?s not in the movie, since, well, the jet pack wasn?t in From Russia With Love. Yet it soon becomes apparent that the intro is the best part of the game. The rest is way too easy. I was challenged to complete levels on the Agent difficulty in Everything or Nothing. Now it generally takes me one or two tries to get it on the same difficulty setting. Part of the problem, then, is that the difficulty is ramped down so much from the last third person Bond game that it?s almost sad to play this. Those who loved the last game will blaze through this game, with or without the unlockables. Another problem is that unlockables aren?t paced well?you buy them yourself from moves that you perform using something called Bond Focus. This was played with a bit in the last game, but it wasn?t fully realized. Now, it?s just implemented into the game so much that it?s unavoidable. Essentially, it boils down to targeting an enemy, and then with another button press, aiming to hit smaller targeting icons. These include grenades, and? well, mostly grenades, but sometimes other stuff. Also, now that your inventory is persistent, you keep every weapon that you find in the last mission for future missions. So there is no making do with just a pistol, or even your fists. It?s all there to blast at faceless Russians. Driving and boating segments feel floaty and surreal, whereas the last Bond game really made you feel like you were racing and driving around because it was worth it. The driving segments are there just because, and they feel like filler. Bond Moments, one of the coolest things from Agent Under Fire to Everything or Nothing, have now been diminished to one moment a level, which is usually finding some stupid secret room, or even entering a gift shop. The gift shop has body armor and more PP7 ammo. Wow. That?s what I call a Bond Moment. There is some minor RPG elements stuck in the single player game, but they only allow you to upgrade weapons, which isn?t that useful, given the length. It?s not that single player is bad, or even boring. It?s a fun experience, but it?s so disappointingly average after the last true Bond game that it feels like a couple of steps backwards instead of the leap forward everyone expected. Multiplayer isn?t fun, and that?s another sad facet of this game. Levels are loaded with traps and weapons and power ups, and you can even upgrade your character between rounds. Why you would want to is another matter since this mode is so rote and boring that it absolutely does not live up to the multiplayer legacy that GoldenEye left behind.

Graphics: 8/10

The graphics, as expected are top tier, and don?t suffer from graphical slowdown or any glitches. All the character models and environments live up to their ?60s heritage, and while all the animations are perfectly fine? well, once again, there seems to be a lack of creativity. Interviews with the producers talked about how they tried to capture Connery?s fighting style as a brawler. I don?t just want to see pistol whips and knees to the groin and elbows to the gut; I want to tackle enemies and actually brawl them, because that?s what Connery did. If you?re going to immerse me in the Bond experience, then do it. Don?t hold back. All of the levels, while large and occasionally inspired, just seem to dwindle down to the same rooms with the same enemies. Don?t get me wrong, the levels themselves look great, but better level design would go a long way with how this franchise is going.

Sound: 10/10

Connery is, as always, an excellent Bond, and nothing loses in translation over to the game. In fact, most of the voice work is quite well done and enjoyable. The music, while typical Bond fare, is well composed and implemented well. Firing effects from weapons, explosions, and punching all sound great.

Stability: 5/5

This game is completely bug free from my experience. I found no glitches or exploits through my playing, which is a nice refreshment.

Controls/Interface: 4/5

While the menus are completely intuitive, the controls could use some working on. They aren?t as smooth as they could be, and they don?t allow the player to customize them. For shame, EA.

Appropriateness

-Violence (-5 for people killing in cold blooded murder): 5/10 -Language (-2 for sexual jokes made once or twice): 8/10 -Sexual Content/Nudity (-1.5 for characters wearing clothing that is sexy and/or accentuates their sexuality; -3 for sex outside of marriage being shown as positive in game): 5.5/10 -Occult/Supernatural: 10/10 -Cultural/Moral/Ethical (-1.5 for characters portrayed with stereotypical biases): 8.5/10

Overall 76/100

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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