GAME NAME: GoldenEye 007
GENRE(S): First Person Shooter
RELEASE DATE(S): November 2, 2010
James Bond has returned in the form of a re-imagining to a game that launched his video game career. GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 is one of, if not the most memorable title from the 1990′s and as such, it is no surprise that it’s making a comeback on the Nintendo Wii. Starring a new Bond (Daniel Craig), being developed by a new developer (Eurocom) and published by Activision, GoldenEye 007 looks to not only revive Bond’s video game career but also re-capture your loving memories of a game long passed. So, does GoldenEye 007 successfully re-capture your memories or does it tarnish your Bond memories forever?
- THE POWER OF NOSTALGIA
Let’s get this out of the way first; it’s clear that GoldenEye 007 is being aimed at the people who played the N64 game all through the night for weeks on end back in 1997. The game successfully manages to capture that audience and the nostalgia of the original N64 game and by doing so your heart as well. While the game is updated, visually, and Pierce Brosnan is nowhere to be found, you can’t help but feel a sense of comfort and familiarity when playing through the campaign and experiencing the classic 4 player deathmatch that was so intrigil to the success of the original. It’s a great feeling and one that we don’t get to experience too often nowadays, so I applaud Eurocom for being able to pull it off so elegantly.
- GOLDENEYE OF YESTERYEAR THIS IS NOT
As mentioned above, much has changed in this re-imaging/re-make of GoldenEye. While the nostalgic feeling remains, the characters, story and locations have been reworked to better reflect our heavily tech based society. Gone is Pierce Brosnan as the suave James Bond and in his place, the ruthless, trigger happy, Daniel Craig, which I personally am a fan of but I can understand that many prefer the more gadget focused Brosnan character. The story has also received an update in the form of slight changes to the actual weaponry and the GoldenEye itself, among other things. Diehard fans will notice the changes to the story but for the most part it plays out the same as the original. All these updates give the game a fresh feel, while still retaining the previously mentioned nostalgia.
- THE RETURN OF STEALTH
What is a bond game without stealth? I think that is an important question that many developers have overlooked over the past couple of years. Regardless who is portraying Bond, he always uses the element of surprise to his advantage because he’s just one man. GoldenEye 007 successfully manages to re-introduce the element of stealth into the game and it is all the more rewarding because of it. Having the ability to slowly traverse a complex and silently take out guards with a single hit to the neck always proves to be both exhilarating and rewarding. It’s, in my opinion, the way a Bond game should be played. Of course you can play the game more like a “Rambo” Bond if you prefer but to me that takes away the whole purpose of playing as Bond.
- THE PURE FUN OF BOND
Many developers nowadays lose sight of one of the simplest components to making a game and that is the fun factor. GoldenEye is not one of those games, in fact I would go as far as saying that I’ve had more fun playing GoldenEye 007 than I’ve had playing any other FPS game released this year; that includes the likes of Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops and many more. I can’t put my finger on it but I can tell you that every moment of the game filled me with joy and splendor; whether it was sneaking around a corner and knocking out an unsuspecting guard, mowing down an army of troops with pinpoint accuracy or just simply moving through the environment.
- GOLDENEYE LOOKS GOLDEN
GoldenEye 007 is an amazing looking Wii game. Great character models, amazingly smooth and realistic animations, detailed levels and great lighting really showcase what the Wii hardware is capable of. Many questioned why the re-imagining wasn’t being created for the Xbox 360 or PS3 but in my opinion, there is no need. The visual fidelity that is achieved in the Wii version feels like it strikes the perfect balance between old and new, which helps to capture the nostalgic feeling that they were aiming for. I did encounter some low-res textures here and there but nothing that stood out enough to ruin the experience.
- SUPERB VOICE ACTING
Voice acting is proving to be more and more important as the gaming industry grows and evolves and for good reason. Good voice acting can truly immerse you in the characters and story, while bad voice acting can almost completely destroy a games story. Luckily, GoldenEye 007 is part of the latter and manages to have some truly amazing voice acting, especially from Daniel Craig (Bond). The dialog and banter between characters comes off as believable and always manages to fit the situation at hand. Dame Judy Dench reprises her role as M perfectly and the surrounding cast manage to pull together a cinema quality performance that most games can only dream of.
- PLAY YOUR WAY
Like many recent FPS’ on the Wii, GoldenEye 007 provides you with a slew of different controller options to suit your particular play style. You’ll be able to choose from the Wiimote and Nunchuck setup, the Classic and Classic Controller Pro setup and even the Gamecube controller. Each comes with a multitude of options for adjusting sensitivity, inversion settings, and so on. You’re bound to find the controller that is right for you. I personally felt at home with the Classic Controller Pro but can definitely see the appeal of playing with a Wiimote and Nunchuck.
- ONLINE MULTIPLAYER DONE RIGHT…ON THE WII
Up until now there haven’t really been any “amazing” online multiplayer games for the Wii and for good reason. The Wii hasn’t been and still isn’t much of an online gaming console. Having to deal with friend codes and lousy connections has more often than not proven to be too big of a hurdle to overcome for the average gamer. Luckily and to my surprise, this wasn’t the case with the competitive online multiplayer of GoldenEye. In fact, GoldenEye online multiplayer has proven to be some of the most fun I’ve had gaming on the Wii. There isn’t anything mind blowing in terms of gameplay modes, as they are your standard team deathmatch and capture the flag variants but what is there is solid and runs without a hitch. The process of connecting to the online multiplayer is also effortless and quick; usually getting you into a game within a minute or two. I never thought I would say this, but I can definitely see myself turning on my Wii multiple times a week to get my fill of online gaming from GoldenEye and to me that says volumes about what Eurocom has managed to do with the online portion of the game.
- THE QUESTIONABLE A.I.
While I greatly enjoyed the singleplayer campaign, there was one major problem that I ran into and that is the enemy A.I. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it is broken but the things the A.I. would do or allow me to do, usually left me scratching my head. The unpredictable A.I. really rears its ugly head when playing as a stealthy Bond. For example, there is a portion early on in the game where you come across three enemies standing close together in a triangle formation facing each other. In my crouched stealth state, I was able to walk behind each of them and take them out without any alerts. In terms of gameplay, I can understand why this was done but A.I. like that is laughable and doesn’t force the player to utilize skill. The more frustrating A.I. miscues are the unexplainable ones. For instance, you will be sneaking into a room and it is clear that lone soldier in front of you cannot see you but somehow the alerts go off. I tested this multiple times in multiple areas and came out with the same end result. It proved to be quite annoying as someone who enjoys the stealth route, even if it was intended as a trigger point in some of the levels.
- THE RELOAD BLUR EFFECT
Who knew that reloading your weapon could prove to be one of the most annoying aspects to a game. When you reload your gun in GoldenEye a blur effect fills the screen, leading to disorientation. I wouldn’t have a problem with the blur effect if it were for a mere second, however, many of the guns in the game can take a fair amount of time to reload and as a gamer who likes to reload his weapon often this proved to be more of an annoyance than it should have been. The worst part is that there is no way to turn it off.
- WHERE HAVE ALL THE GADGETS GONE?
As someone who loved the original GoldenEye, I was saddened to see that the re-imagining only allots you one gadget. While it is a multi-functioning device, it pales in comparison to the offerings in the original game and truly left me wanting more. Of course I understand why one gadget was chosen (Daniel Craig’s Bond is more of a fighter), I still wish that some more had made the cut.
- BULLET SPONGES
If there is one thing I hate most in shooting games, it is when enemies take far too many bullets to take down. Unfortunately, GoldenEye is guilty of bullet sponge enemies, which take upwards of two clips to take down. Even a good old fashioned headshot won’t always do the trick. The most perplexing aspect of the bullet sponge enemies is that it proved to be very inconsistent. Sometimes an enemy would go down quickly and sometimes they wouldn’t. I tried to see if there was some sort of pattern or if there was a difference in the enemies but there wasn’t. Regardless, bullet sponge enemies should never exist and if they do, then there better be a good reason for it.
In the end, the pure nostalgic bliss of GoldenEye 007 coupled with an entertaining singleplayer campaign and a solid online multiplayer offering proves that merging the old and the new can truly re-invigorate a franchise and bring a surprisingly refreshing experience to gamers of all ages. If you were thinking of passing this one up because it’s on the Wii, then don’t because you will be missing out on one of the best experiences of the year.
A copy of the game was provided to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes.