I don't know each of these places as well as the next, never having been to Taipei or Saudi Arabia, but their interpretation of Rome looked accurate, while their interpretation of Moscow – to me – showed a great attention to detail needed to make the game world breathe. This starts at getting the look of the city right, but where it shines is when they start doing “fanservice” of sorts for Russians and those who know Russia somewhat, from the appearance of Nikolai Valuev in the form of Championchick, to little jokes like the name of Lazlo's yacht: originally named победа, meaning victory, the п and о fell off so it now reads беда, meaning trouble or misfortune.
Konstantin Brayko, with his garishly decorated villa, terrible tastes in clothes, tendency to swear oddly and obsession with 80s USA culture, to the point of the glamrock song Turn up the radio being more or less his ingame theme, is a very, very recognizable modern Russian archetype, a level of detail that supports great character writing. His dialogue is very amusing, especially if you opt to take a mocking stance towards him. The actual fight can be a bit frustrating, but the amount of research you can tell has been poured into this character makes him one of my favorite in years.
More so than the story or setting, the strength in the game lies in these characters. During the game you will meet many key NPCs. They will start out as friends and turn into enemies, or start out as enemies and turn into friends, depending on your actions. Each has his or her own personality quirks, which shows in how they respond to the player's actions and choice of words. And while most slot easily into archetypes, there's a depth of writing to the characters of this game which makes them significantly less predictable (and thus trustworthy) than your usual RPG NPCs, as would befit a spy game.
You'll want to keep your eye on our subsite, as we'll be updating it with an annotated walkthrough and details on the game's skills, dossiers, specializations, and more in the coming days, too. Enjoy!