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Goldeneye 007 (2010) Review

Review; Jan. 4, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
Let's call this the comeback

Goldeneye 007 is one of those pieces that gamers know by name. All you have to do is mention the name, and a flurry of excited voices talking about their greatest kills in multiplayer and their favorite weapons and levels will erupt. It’s safe to say that Goldeneye 007 is one of those legendary games, the one that nearly everyone has played and from which nearly everyone has some treasured memory. It’s a sacred game, up there with Ocarina of Time, Half Life, Metal Gear Solid, and Super Mario Brothers as a title that has been inducted into the halls of gaming greatness.

Goldeneye 007 (2010) Screenshots
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When Nintendo and Activision announced they would release a remake of the N64 Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo Wii, fans were skeptical. Not only was the original developer, Rare, not on board, but it would be featured remade levels, weapons, and even Bond himself. This Goldeneye would have the newest Bond, Daniel Craig, as the title’s James Bond rather the previous one, Pierce Bronson. Factor in the rabid hate of all things Activision from fanboys across the Internet, and it seemed there would be no way this would live up to the original -- or even be a competent shooter at that.

Fast forward to winter 2010, and I am happy to report Goldeneye 007 for the Wii is a worthy remake of the original. While it doesn’t break new ground for console FPSs, it is still a worthy and respectable remake. Goldeneye 007 feels completely new and, at the same time, boasts similar game mechanics and mission structure to the original. The beginning of the game puts you at the chemical weapons dam, blasting your way through the front gate and eventually bungee jumping into the facility itself. You’ll notice that, while the level largely plays the same as the original, new QTE events are peppered throughout all of the levels. For instance, in the original, you sneak behind a truck to get into the gated area, while in this new title, you actually ride in the truck with your partner Alec Trevelyan driving as you take pot shots at enemies who get in your way. This is a theme which follows Goldeneye throughout its entire single player campaign. Levels may follow the similar structure or objectives as the original, but for this modern version, levels may have been relocated, characters have been given a modern makeover or removed from the game all together, and story elements have been changed to reflect modern sensibilities. No longer is 006 a Lienz Cossack, but instead plans to use the Goldeneye satellite for economic gains reflected by the recent downturn of the British economy. Xenia and Natalya are no longer the super sexified Bond girls of old and are given more realistic personalities and fewer innuendos. Granted, criticisms of the story can be attributed to the same criticisms that the newer, grittier Bond films garner. For those who hate this new style of Bond, you’ll most likely dislike this 6-to-10-hour campaign (depending on difficulty), but for those who appreciate the newer style or both the grittier and over-the-top Bonds, this story falls into a happy medium.

The game play has been given an upgrade as well. Environments are destructible, as your bullets and your enemies’ bullets will chip away at pillars, destroy crates, and force you to move from cover to cover. The enemy AI reacts fairly competently as well as they will take cover from your gunfire, flank you, and call for backup if they feel outnumbered. Another new mechanic brought to the game is stealth. At any time you can sneak through the levels and your unsuspecting enemies. Once you are spotted, though, enemies will call for backup, and heavier armed guards will come to take you out. It’s a mechanic similar to stealth titles like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell and, in this context, works perfectly. Once you’re spotted, the music becomes more intense and some interesting and dynamic shootouts will occur. In a genre where scripted shooters have become a norm, it’s nice to see such dynamic and sometimes unpredictable firefights take place in a single player campaign.

As much fun as single player was, multiplayer is what many people played the original Goldeneye for and will most likely have the most vivid memories of. Multiplayer in this Goldeneye contains a slew of modes and modifiers for both split screen and online battles. The one thing I absolutely loved about the multiplayer was the feeling of nostalgia as I played split screen or shot strangers online. Despite having weapon load outs and no weapon pickups, the multiplayer levels all were small to medium in size and focused on close quarters combat over long range warfare. The N64’s maps were much smaller than most modern FPSs and were the perfect size for only four people playing at a time. Each of the maps is perfectly sized and excellently laid out for smaller matches. Even with 8 players online, the maps still felt like a good size. The online matches were all smooth and lag free. Finding matches was easy, and they provided the same excitement as the split screen, but with a larger player cap. I wish there was a feature to incorporate voice chat or communications of some kind, but it’s hardly a game breaker.

The weapons are your standard assortment of SMGs, assault rifles, and shotguns, many of which are based on real world weapons, just with different names. If there is any criticism to be had in the multiplayer, it’s the lack of nostalgia one gets from the guns themselves. While the levels do a good job emulating similar structures and layouts to the original, the guns are nothing more than modern firearms found in any modern FPS. Gone are the RCP 90, Klobb, Moonraker Laser, and Cougar Magnum. The Golden Gun makes a return, along with Bond’s trusty pistol, but it’s still kind of disappointing that none of the other weapons seem unique or memorable and instead come down to, “Oh, it’s just like that gun from Call of Duty.” Further, each of the weapons comes with added features such as sights and grenade attachments. Perks can be unlocked online to help your multiplayer character in different ways whether it’s through added accuracy or extra vitality. This is where the modern features seem to come in, as all of these reflect a very modern sensibility seen in shooters such as Modern Warfare 2 and Medal of Honor. They’re nice, but it’s definitely not Goldeneye and completely destroys any sense of nostalgia the game otherwise creates so well.

Finally, the controls for this game are excellent and after playing through with a variety of options from the GCN controller, to the Wii nun chuck and Wii mote, to the classic controller, each works surprisingly well, and it’s really hard to pinpoint one over the other as the best option. The only control option which I felt didn’t work was with the Wii zapper. With the nun chuck located within the zapper and the requirement to use the zapper to look and shoot, it was disorienting to do both at the same time. It ended up becoming a struggle just to simply move and shoot at the same time. However, no matter what option you choose, there are a variety of customizations, down to the minutest detail. Everything from sensitivity to area of the turn radius can be tailored to each individual taste. 

Goldeneye 007 is a well-made FPS for the Wii, and an excellent title in the line of James Bond themed shooters. I ended up liking this game a lot, but not for the reasons I thought I would. In no way does this capture the magic and awe the original conjured up years ago, and in no way does this move the console FPS genre forward in any way. Instead it seems to appeal to the raw visceral feelings that you and your friends had years ago, sitting huddled around a TV, shooting each other to bits into the early hours of the morning. It’s the feeling that has become absent from the generation of online shooters, where trash talking and “friends” has become as far removed and anonymous as posting on a message board. Goldeneye successfully brings this feeling back. It has successfully brought back what few games ever achieve: a feeling of long ago; a feeling of comfort; a feeling of happiness; a feeling of pure nostalgia. 

Nostalgia delivered in a super playable, modern format. Not all is as it was before, but the feeling and fun factor are undeniable.

Comments

Review Score
8.7

Teen

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

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