On the 25th of August, Sean Connery turned the ripe old age of 75. That's 15 years of free bus passes. Yet somehow, EA managed to entice the old bugger out of retirement (free biscuits, perhaps?), and sat him in a recording booth to regurgitate line after line of hackneyed Bond quips for the first venture into old-school 007 titles. Remember when the Bond movies were solid, well-crafted plot-driven beasts? No? It seems EA hasn't either, because From Russia With Love the game is as far removed from 'serious' Bond as Roger Moore in his clown disguise.
Taking the main plot points of the film, then surrounding them with explosions, pointless car chases, clichés, and, for some inexplicable reason, Natasha Bedingfield, renders this little more than a poor copy of Everything or Nothing. But this isn't a Bond purist grumbling here, oh no. This is someone who likes videogames.
Any notion of free thought in From Russia With Love is entirely absent: you can only walk where it takes you, and only open the doors when it says you can. Forget such new-fangled concepts as 'free-roaming' - you're strapped into the game and the big EA spoon starts shoving the 'fun' down your throat. You can pretty much only shoot where the game wants you to as well - the aiming is so appalling that the only way to progress is to wait for the bad guys to make their scripted entrance. Then the amazing 'Bond Targeting' system kicks in, where you press a button to automatically lock on to the nearest enemy, then press another button to make them die. The obligatory driving sections, also copied from Everything or Nothing, are utterly lame as well, and mainly involve hitting the right buttons at the right time to blow up an enemy or shred his wheels. We have heard of mythical games where you can choose between manual or automatic gears, but EA doesn't seem to have.
From Russia With Love occasionally strays from the path-following, game-in-a-tunnel idiocy, but it's only to indulge in some life-sappingly dull 'stealth' sections - which, thankfully (and also somewhat pointlessly) can just as easily be tackled with all guns blazing. The gadgets are mildly entertaining, although we don't remember the film having remote-controlled video surveillance microcopters packed with explosives.
EA now owns the rights to the entire Bond back catalogue, but of course, a company of its reputation and standing wouldn't just use such a licence to churn out cookie-cutter games with slightly different graphics for 40 a pop. Would it? So take a chance, stop with this utterly average scripted nonsense and dare to be different, EA. You owe it to the nation. England expects...
All the parts are in place, but we've seen this in Bond games umpteen times before. Uninspiring and astoundingly bland.