Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: Action Games
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
Multiplayer: 2-4 Players (Local)
Multiplayer: 2-8 Players (Online)
Wii Remote and Nunchuk
GoldenEye 007 is a name that is synonymous with gaming on the N64. Developed by Rare, this game was the first console FPS that really did bring attention to the genre. In the days when people were playing rudimentary FPS titles on their PC, console gamers never really played this style of game on their TVs. GoldenEye 007 was, and still is, considered a classic game, and along with the original Halo on the Xbox, it introduced gamers to a new breed of games. Activision is now the owner of the James Bond license, and seeing an opportunity to reboot an established title, they have recently released GoldenEye 007 for the Wii with a new developer, Eurocom. After having some time with the retail version, I have to say that they have done the name proud.
Visually speaking, GoldenEye 007 is a pretty good looking game on the Wii. There are a lot of variances in the levels you play in, and there is ample use of special effects such as transparencies, lighting, weather, and explosions to name a few. Textures look pretty realistic, but they can look flat at times. This in itself is a feat given the limited power of the Wii’s graphic chipset. You will find that the game slows down now and then when the screen fills up with enemies, lots of gunfire, and lots of explosions. This does not happen a whole lot, but when it does it is very noticeable. Characters in GoldenEye 007 also look pretty good. From a very recognizable Daniel Craig as 007 to the varying enemies that you will come across, each character is well animated and helps bring some life to the game. Overall I think that most who play this game will be pleasantly surprised with how solid it looks.
In terms of the audio, GoldenEye 007 is very “Bond-ish” indeed. The music is very reminiscent of any Bond movies and the newly remastered version of the GoldenEye theme song adds a bit more to the re-imagining of the game. There is no doubt though that extended play sessions may cause the music to lose some of its luster, but there are worse things to listen to. The voice acting found throughout the game is very well done. Activision must have spent a bit of money to get Daniel Craig and Judy Dench to reprise their roles for this game but it was money well spent. As well, the voice acting for all the supporting cast is spot on. I would have to say that all the voice acting really does pull you into the game that much more. Finally, the sound effects are solid and manage to convey the weapons you fire, the glass you break, the enemies you melee and the explosions you set off. Bottom line, the sound manages to add to the game in a positive way.
GoldenEye 007 is based on the James Bond movie from 15 years ago. Back then 007 was played by Pierce Bronson and the story was typical Bond with bad guys, gadgets, and girls. The original N64 game was a pretty good translation of that movie, even having digital likenesses of the main characters. When GoldenEye 007 was announced at E3 this year, many, including myself, feared that we would be getting just a Wii port of the 13 year old original game. Well let me tell you right off the hop that this is not just a remake, as it is a re-imagining of sorts. Activision made a very conscious decision to take the original game and reinvent it with new story elements, new characters, and new gameplay. Let me explain.
GoldenEye 007 does keep the basics the same. You are still playing the role of 007 trying to save the world. You’ll travel the globe in your efforts to do so facing what have become typical James Bond scenarios. For those that fear this Wii version takes too many liberties with the story, and make it unrecognizable, don’t worry, you’ll still see many things from the N64 version, including the famed tank chase scene. Basically, the story remains the same, as you can’t change it too much as it is based on the original film, but locations and characters are changed in such a way that it allows for the narrative to seem fresh. In the end, fans of the original don’t have to worry that the game has been “bastardized.”
One of the biggest changes this time around is that Pierce Bronson has been replaced by the current James Bond, Daniel Craig. Given that the last two films starring the new Bond have had a different feel to match the physicality and action orientation of Daniel Craig, GoldenEye 007 now feels much like the new way Bond has been portrayed on the big screen. You will definitely feel this as you make your way quietly throughout the various levels taking out enemies one by one or by grabbing your favourite weapon and opening a can of whoop ass.
Also new is the loss of the original game's key gadget, Bond’s wristwatch. It is replaced by a Smartphone which is indeed the smartest and most useful phone I have ever seen.
Something that really stood out for me during my play through was that you could complete the various levels in different ways depending on what type of mood you are in. You can take a very stealthy approach and do things silently (silenced weapon or melee kills), or should you feel a bit more aggressive you can go on an all out offensive approach and just kill everyone in a mad fit of weaponized terror. The key here though is that whatever approach you take you will still get the same result, reach the end of each level and complete the necessary objectives for each one.
Speaking of objectives, you’ll find that these objectives can vary in their content, such as taking a picture of a key piece of evidence, hacking into a security device, or activating a switch somewhere in the level. Completing these objectives can take a bit of problem solving, but overall you won’t find that these tax your mind. What is key here though is that you will have to look around your environment and think about what you may have to do to continue on your adventure. Something that is also interesting is that the harder the skill level you play the game on the more more objectives you have to complete. Added objectives in the harder skill levels are not just tacked on either, as they will have you going through part of a level you may have avoided before, and in many ways it makes the game more rewarding as you not only complete these new objectives, but you get to see areas you may not have seen in your first pass through.
The enemy AI is pretty impressive in GoldenEye 007. Now given that I just recently finished a play through of Medal of Honor for the Xbox 360, I actually saw a lot of things in each game that I can compare to each other. Most notably, was the way that enemies respawned or came into the scene. In one particular level in Medal of Honor I found myself pinned down with my team members fighting wave after wave of enemies. I definitely saw a pattern with these enemies on how they came to be, where they went, and how they fought. It was pretty standard stuff. In GoldenEye 007 however, enemies seemed to show up more realistically and had some pretty good AI patterns that did not seem too repetitive. Enemies took cover behind objects, they ran from point to point while sliding behind anything that could shield them from harm, and they generally had some ‘self-perseverance’ behind them. There is no doubt you’ll find some wonky AI now and then, but overall is is pretty impressive, and very impressive for a Wii title.
Controlling the on screen action can be done in many different ways. Developer Eurocom has added a bevy of control choices that should suit any gamers who play GoldenEye 007. You can choose from the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, Classic Controller, GameCube Controller, and even the Wii Zapper. This alone is a wide array of choices, but no matter what style you choose, the level of customization within each control scheme is even more impressive. From speed, auto aim to sensitivity or invert to name a few, the amount of personal customization is amazing and you should be able to find something that works for you. Kudos to Eurocom for providing so many options in this area.
Playing through the single campaign can take anywhere from 7-10 hours depending on your skill level as well as the skill level you play the game on. As mentioned earlier there is a lot of re-playability given that the harder the skill level you play on the more objectives you have to complete, and having to complete more objectives you will find more of each level to explore. As well, should you play the game on the hardest level, you will find that it harkens back to the original GoldenEye 007 on the N64 as you will have a heath bar only, and your health will not ‘regenerate’ as it does in the other skill levels. Here you will have to find armor pieces in order to gain any of your health back. This skill setting is very hard and it should challenge most diehard gamers out there. Bottom line, the single player experience offers a lot of play.
If I had any complaints about the single player mode it would be that the cinematics are not skippable. Sure, they should not be in the first play through as they help to make up the storyline, but in any subsequent playthroughs you still cannot skip them. This is more annoying than something that is a bug or glitch. It makes any multiple playthroughs longer than they have to be and given that I have seen the cinematics already, why do I have to see them again? As well, there are also some Quick Time Events (QTE) that take place, and I have never been a big QTE fan, but that being said, some people may not mind these as it is a personal thing.
GoldenEye 007 on the N64 was really known for its multiplayer play and this Wi re-imagining is no different, but this time around you have online as well as offline modes.
For the first time you can take the GoldenEye series online. Up to 8 players can meet up online for some multiplayer madness. You can join games containing people not on your ‘friends’ list should you desire. You will find some standard fair FPS modes here as well as some very GoldenEye specific modes. From your standard death match to the very well known “Golden Gun” mode. There are a lot of things to do online, especially for a Wii game. You’ll also find a very familiar reward system where you earn EXP to open up new weapons, new gadgets as well as new modes. This is very akin to the COD series, and given that GoldenEye 007 and COD are both Activision published titles, this makes sense. There are five slots for different loadouts (what weapons and gadgets you want) and you can tailor these for specific game types. I found that my limited time online was pretty enjoyable and without major technical issues. The lag only hit now and then, which in itself is pretty impressive. If I did have any complaints here it is that GoldenEye 007 does not utilize any form of voice communication, including Nintendo’s Wii Speak. This was frustrating as there were many times I would have liked to communicate with my teammates and generate some strategy. Regardless, the online modes were fun and very welcomed.
Of course there is a 4 player offline spilt-screen mode to add some classic GoldenEye 007 multiplayer play. This is what made the original N64 version so popular as you could invite some friends over and frag the night away. This modern day update still has a lot of the fun that was experienced 13 years ago. Here the main feature is that you can modify the game types to be particular to your mood or tastes. From the type of grenades available (e.g. sticky or bouncy), to players exploding if they touch one another, to playing paintball or having people die if they stand still too long, you can make some pretty interesting matches. Also available in the split-screen matches is that you can choose from well known Bond baddies such as Jaws or Oddjob. This is another enjoyable feature to the local multilplayer as you can be one of many baddies from the Bond series of films. The only major issue I noted here was that given you are playing with only 4 players, there was a lack of people to shoot at. It would have been nice to see some AI bots thrown in along with the 4 human controlled characters.
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