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GoldenEye 007 review

Just forget about the original - this is its own game

So, the majority of the game ends up being standard shooter fare where generic guys run around and duck behind cover and you do the same. Luckily, the standard controls of remote and Nunchuk feel good when aiming and shooting during most of the combat. There are issues with certain aspects of the aiming, like the aforementioned sketchy headshots and some quirks we'lltouch onbelow, but outside of those slight annoyances, for the most part pointing with the remote and pulling the (B) trigger feels nice and has good feedback -the guns themselves are often nastily satisfying to shoot, with punchy bullet impacts and badass firing sound effects. There’s a hefty variety of them, too, with multiple handguns, shotguns, SMGs and assault rifles, also equipped with a nice spread of laser sights, silencers, ACOG scopes, and the like, so picking up almost any gun feels like a new experience.

There are some occasional weird quirks with aiming and firing, though. For some bizarre reason you can’t aim up or down at anything more than a shallow angle – if an enemy is above or below you, you literally cannot shoot them without maneuvering to a different location. The aim down sights mode (ADS) also behaves erratically if you turn off the “snap to” function (where it auto-aims toward enemies when you hit Z) – which we did, because we didn’t want auto-aim taking away our satisfaction of pulling off skillful shots. Unfortunately, we learned why the ADS snap-to function is on by default – the game can radically alter the angle at which you’re looking every time you hit the Z button. Point at a guy’s head, hit the Z button, and you may be looking at the crate next to him. Don’t move the reticle at all, release Z, then hit it again, and you might be pointing at the wall.

Above: Where the reticle goes when we hit Z... nobody knows

Still, even though there are annoyances with some of the aiming (which you can bypass partially by swapping in a Classic or GameCube controller), and a decent portion of the combat sections isn’t hugely inspiring, there are quite a few awesome parts to the game. Like we said, when the stealth worked, we really felt like too-cool James Bond, taking out guys with silenced shots or creeping up and smacking their faces into control panels. And the set-pieces that do happen are all well designed and allow for some amazing moments.

For instance, the tank driving level is full of beautiful demolition, giving you machine guns, tank shells, and heat-seeking missiles to flatten half the city – with actual entire buildings collapsing in the mayhem. Another level has you infiltrating a facility while rival factions battle outside. It effectively evokes a war zone, with bullets flying everywhere and enemies getting plugged right before you can train your sights on them. Running, sneaking, and shooting your way through it is seriously exciting. And these fantastic sequences increase in frequency until basically the whole last part of the game is like it.

Above: This tank owns our face. Also, that helicopter's

Of course, GoldenEye is nothing without multiplayer, and we’re happy to say that here is where the game really shines. Taking a cue (in a long line of games taking a cue) from Modern Warfare, GoldenEye invokes an online multiplayer system where you gain experience, levels, and unlock weapons and gadgets (perks, naturally). Up to eight players can compete in a multitude of modes, including Conflict (free for all), Team Conflict (team deathmatch), Golden Gun (the super gun spawns randomly in the map, and whoever has the gun gets bonus points per kill and of course, a one shot kill), Black Box (objective-based mode where MI6 needs to destroy the box, while the enemy needs to download data from it), GoldenEye (domination - hold control points), and Heroes (one player on each team has more health, damage, and gives a health boost to nearby teammates). We also saw License to Kill, Team License to Kill, and Classic Conflict as additional modes locked until you reach higher levels.

Yeah, so it’s a beefy offering. There are also ten maps, so plenty of variety to go around. We had a lot of fun with the multiplayer, we must say. It’s hard to tell how well designed the maps are without a lot more time put in, but the combat was fast and intense, and the different modes really changed things up. We particularly enjoyed Golden Gun and Heroes because either becoming a super soldier for brief moments or killing that super soldier always got the heart pumping. We could see people playing the online portion for quite a while, especially with all the goodies to unlock.

Again, though, it wouldn’t be GoldenEye without offline four-player splitscreen, and here the game is slightly different from online, with smaller maps to account for fewer players, and the addition of many classic and new modifiers to mix things up, like: Hotshot (only headshots are effective), Paintball, Move Your Feet (standing still will kill you), Revenge (get damage boost each time you’re killed), Rubber Grenades (super bouncy grenades), Sticky Grenades, Nick Nack Mode (all players are tiny and cannot vault over obstacles). Getting four sets of controllers over for some trash-talking parties might not be easy, but the gameplay makes it worth it, and yes, the multiplayer does mostly capture the feel of the old GoldenEye (although we must admit our memories are colored by time).

Above: Paintball spices things up when you're feeling a bit goofy

So, we certainly have a good GoldenEye, with a pretty fun single-player campaign and multiplayer that’s even more fun. Does it live up to the original? Heck no – we said it was impossible, remember? It is a damn fine, “serious” shooter on the Wii, and that’s saying something. Even without the limited options for mature action for Wii owners, GoldenEye 007 is a solid game in its own right. If nostalgia is still tingling strong or you’re hankering for a real, guns-blazing and sneaky-assassinating experience, you won’t go wrong here.

Nov 2, 2010

More info

DescriptionWas this re-imagining necessary? No, but it's still great.
US censor rating"Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"16+","16+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Matthew Keast
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.