As long as you are not one of those gamers that consider PlayStation 2 old-school gaming, you have more than likely heard of GoldenEye for the N64. People still discuss and play this game, and plenty have been dying for a remake or re-release on the HD consoles. When Activision announced they were bringing back GoldenEye expectations were high. When they announced it would be only on the Wii, some were disappointed. However, in the end what we wind up with is a fantastic re-imagining of a classic game that ends up being one of, if not the best, FPS currently available on the console.
The biggest change to the game comes in the form of our protagonist. No longer are we staring at Pierce Brosnan. Whether because of licensing rights or because Activision wanted to continue with the theme of re-imagining the game, we are instead treated to the current tuxedo-wearing spy Daniel Craig. The main story follows the same ideas and plots from the original but with a more modern tone. The same characters still show up and the plot points remain similar, but to be honest the game was never about the cinematic nature of the film.
As for the game itself there is a lot of familiar elements, but also plenty of new ideas. For example this is definitely a student of the modern day FPS as opposed to the archaic controls of the N64 original. Have you gone back and tried to play the original game lately? It is quite painful. Developer Eurocom has included support for all the typical control schemes, but seemed to be focused on delivering the traditional experience that is found with the classic controller. They even offer up a limited edition package that comes equipped with a special golden edition of one.
You can also use the Wii remote and nunchuk combo that has become the norm on the console, and it actually works surprisingly well. And for those of you who don’t like motion controls and have not shelled out for the classic controller you can also plug in your Gamecube controller as well. The game gives you plenty of options and that is most evident with the calibration of your motion controls. Anyone who played The Conduit knows how much you can actually modify the Wii remote sensitivity. GoldenEye brings that same level of customization allowing you to adjust pitch speed and just about any other option to tweak the experience. The developers definitely have a love for the genre and it shows.
Sprinkled in with the classic layout and new mechanics are some changes to the formula. There are now quicktime events, on-rails action and a smartphone. Much like Bond’s other console outing this year he has traded in his laundry list of gadgets for a smartphone. With it he can do pretty much anything that the game throws at him. I already made the “an app for that joke” so I will spare you here, but just know that this device is your end all when it comes to solving the puzzles within the game. I will admit I didn’t care for the quicktime events. They feel out of place in a fast-paced action game like this, but they are far enough separated that they never become too overbearing.
The single-player game is solid lasting just long enough to keep it from growing stale. In true Bond fashion the developers have also thrown in the varying difficulties that add more objectives that you must accomplish before completing the level. This adds a nice padding of replay value, and some serious challenge for the die-hard fans.
In addition to the core game Eurocom has also added what has caused the original game to be fondly remembered for so long: multi-player. Both offline and online deathmatches are available along with the myriad of modifiers that made the original game so much fun. You can have one-hit kills and paintball. You can also still play as Oddjob, which if you remember is the ultimate cheat as he is shorter than everyone else making him near impossible to hit. You can play locally up to four players complete with yelling at each other about looking at your screen. If you are connected you can hop online for some eight player action in a variety of modes that feel more like a modern shooter.
Here you have standard and team deathmatch, Golden Gun, Black Box and GoldenEye modes. These are all variations of the popular formats and all support larger maps than offline. The game also employs the Call of Duty XP system that lets you earn points for everything you do online. These can be used to purchase perks much like the aforementioned military shooter. It is also worth noting that while the game supports friend codes, lobbies and nearly lag-free gameplay, there is still no voice chat to speak of. That might be a positive or a negative depending on who you ask, but it makes the team-based games a bit more complicated without any form of communication.
GoldenEye 007 is a wonderful re-imagining of a classic game that some have held onto for far too long. The changes make sense, and actually make the game more enjoyable than the original in some fashion. If you have fond memories of tearing it up for hours on end the split-screen play will definitely be a treat, while the online mode keeps enough of the old and adding enough new to make it worthwhile. Activision and Eurocom have done an outstanding job of bringing back this fabled franchise. This is easily one of the best shooters available on the Wii, and truly the best Bond game to be released in recent memory.
Review copy provided by publisher.