Posted on November 9, 2010, Ron Whitaker GoldenEye 007 Review
GoldenEye is one of the most beloved games in history. Originally appearing on the Nintendo 64, the James Bond shooter was one of biggest successes in the pre-Call of Duty era of console shooters. Now it’s back, as Activision is rebooting the game on the Nintendo Wii.
The first thing you should know going in is that this is not simply a re-release of the classic game for the Wii. Eurocom has removed Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond from the game, and replaced him with the current Bond, Daniel Craig. Craig might be my favorite Bond to date, as he comes the closest to the cold, brutal spy that Ian Fleming created.
This change has led to many characters in the game being recast, some being removed, and some game moments have been reworked to fit into Craig’s style. Don’t worry, these changes are not bad.
GoldenEye 007 (XBox360 [Reviewed], DS, Wii, PS3)
Release Date: November 02, 2010
If you’ve seen the movie, you’re familiar with the story. A Russian general steals an EMP weapon, Bond has to stop him, etc. GoldenEye presents a linear progression throughout the story, with each section offering up discrete objectives. The higher the difficulty level you choose, the more objectives you’ll have to complete to advance. There’s also a 007 Classic mode that does away with regenerating health, and hearkens back to the original game with classic health bars.
Completing those objectives is where the game stumbles a bit. It’s not a problem with the objectives themselves, it’s the control scheme on the Wii. Eurocom made every effort to alleviate these issues, giving players a myriad of customization options. You can set up individual profiles, each of which has options for pointer sensitivity, rotation speed, invert look and more. What’s more, these profiles work for multiplayer as well.
If you pick up the collector’s edition of the game with the golden version of the Classic Controller Pro, you’ll have a much better experience than if you try to use the Wiimote-nunchuk combination. Like many first-person games on the console, GoldenEye forces you to turn by moving your crosshair to the edge of the screen. This is so incredibly frustrating in practice that you’ll spend hours tweaking the controls trying to improve it.
You can also opt to use the Wii Zapper, but you’ll have to be a contortionist to make it worthwhile. The buttons remain the same as when using the Wiimote without the Zapper, so you’re constantly having to push buttons on the controller, necessitating taking your finger off the trigger or the analog stick. This makes the Zapper an even worse option.
Once you get the controls to a tolerable level, the game is actually quite good. You’ll have to work your way through stealth sections and gunfight sections. Depending on how sneaky you are, much of the game can be completed by crouching, moving slowly, and using your silenced pistol. Get spotted by a guard or a security camera, and you’re in for an all-out gunfight.
The AI isn’t bad at all. Enemies will dodge, evade, move from cover to cover, and will even slide to get behind cover faster. You’ll still see some guards do the standard FPS AI trick of ducking, popping out to shoot, and repeating in the same spot until you kill them.
Besides the controls, the other big issue with GoldenEye is the framerate. There is a lot of detail in this game, and when you get weather effects, explosions, and environments destructing all around you, you will see some choppiness in the framerate. It’s not a slide show, but it’s definitely worse than what we’ve all grown accustomed to in recent years. Again, this is a function of the game residing exclusively on the Wii.
Contributing to the movie feel of GoldenEye are two big things. First, there are set pieces that remind you of Bond films, like rockets that you can launch to take out enemy choppers, exploding barrels, and the like. None of them makes a ton of sense, but in the world of the movies, it fits perfectly.
Second is the ‘smartphone’ gadget. We’re all used to Bond packing around a ton of gadgets supplied by Q, but in GoldenEye he only has the smartphone. However, this is some smartphone. It can hack computers, take photos, is hardened against EMP, and probably makes martinis (shaken, not stirred).
GoldenEye packs in multiplayer as well, and it’s actually quite good considering all the barriers the Wii throws up. You can play split-screen with up to three other people, or you can take the battle online. Online multiplayer features 9 different game modes, including a deathmatch mode, a capture and hold mode, and even a classic conflict mode that lets you play as Bond villains including Jaws and Oddjob. Online multiplayer also includes an experience points system that lets you unlock more powerful weapons and new gadgets.
All in all, GoldenEye is an excellent reboot of a classic game that is marred only by the horrific control systems that the Wii uses. The updates to the game make it seem fresh, and at the same time very familiar, a combination that is rarely achieved. If you own a classic controller, you should definitely give GoldenEye a spin, as it’s quite possibly the best title that’s been released on the Wii. If you love your Wiimote, or you just don’t want to pony up for the controller, it’s still worth a go if you can contain your frustration with the control systems.
- Excellent reboot of a classic game
- Best AI we’ve seen in a Wii shooter
- Set pieces help give a great ‘movie’ feel
- Control schemes with Wiimote are absurdly bad
- Framerate drops when action gets intense
- Requires the purchase of a classic controller for best experience