GoldenEye 007 review
Even though the original GoldenEye really hasn’t stood the test of time at all well, continuing the legacy of one of the most fondly remembered shooters of all time was never going to be easy. Kudos to Eurocom, then, for recapturing at least some of the Bond magic…
As one of gaming’s most fondly remembered titles, GoldenEye was always going to be something of a poison chalice for those developers tasked with bringing it back. EA’s effort back in 2004 was an utter disgrace, due in no small part to the fact that the team behind it appeared to completely miss the point – ignoring everything that made the N64 game a classic, Rogue Agent was a disgustingly cynical and painfully over-literal black mark on the world’s overly fond memories of Rare’s shooter. With that in consideration, we had some concern that Eurocom might be tempted to go in the opposite direction and create a note-for-note remake. But in truth, this competent Wii shooter is only a slight return in terms of content, focusing instead on evoking the same feeling we remember GoldenEye filling us with back in the day – you know, back before we all realised it was utterly unplayable today. In that respect at least, we have little trouble declaring this a success.
Old fashioned in every respect, the reason that GoldenEye manages to recreate the feeling of playing the classic shooter is because it itself looks and plays like one, even down to employing cheap visuals tricks and useless AI, the likes of which would normally be laughed out of the building these days. But for whatever reason, it generally works here, and even though it’s almost exclusively old-fashioned tricks at work (dancing silhouette sprites in the new nightclub level, for example), the pace and feel of the game captures the vibe of the N64 game even when the level design and even story deviate from what you know. This is a game based on a film that doesn’t exist, itself a cinematic reworking of the game of the original movie. Confused yet? Don’t be. All it really means is that they’ve replaced Brosnan with Craig, everyone else with nobodies, and the Cold War themes with a more ‘relevant’ setting for a modern audience. It’s jarring at times, but works in context.
Elsewhere, controls can be an issue but those struggling with the Remote/Nunchuk combo (that’ll likely be most people, then) can switch up to a Classic Controller for a far more enjoyable experience. COD-style auto-aim when using iron sights makes life easier whichever you opt for – a little too easy, arguably, but even when you’re faced with a horde of inept guards, you have to imagine that someone of Bond’s ability would be able to take aim pretty quickly.
Local multiplayer follows the rest of the package in harking back to the glory days of the console FPS, a time when people crowded round consoles and accused one another of watching their screens rather than caring about Killstreaks and Perks (though online multiplayer goes the other way, following the COD Train with experience points and unlocks at each rank). And like the solo game, it does a superb job or replicating the sensation of playing your memory of a decade-old shooter, even if it does so by basically being a decade-old shooter.