"For England, James?" "No, you yutz. For Wii!"
The task of getting Goldeneye 007 into a new form was a promiscuous process. One, Rare owns the code of the game as well as the level design. Then you have Nintendo who owns the rights to the title Goldeneye 007. Activision contacted Nintendo in order to recreate the Goldeneye experience for Nintendo's Wii console. Is this a title that succeeds, or is it just a mission failure?
Activision's version of Goldeneye 007 loosely tells the tale of the movie and less of the ground-breaking game. Pierce Brosnan has been cut loose, and Daniel Craig has taken his place-- monotone voice and all. The fun all begins at a dam where 007 teams up with 006, Alec Trevalyn, in order to infiltrate the dam, set off some explosions, and get the heck out of there by the skin of their necks. Something goes awry, however, has 006 gets caught which puts a damper on the operation. Shot at point blank range, Alec is seemingly killed. 007 opts to set the timer for three minutes instead of six, gets on a conveyor belt out of the facility, steals a plane, and soars away as the facility explodes in its magnificent glory. This is the familiar beginning of the movie. What changes, however, are plot point and locale locations as well as old characters showing up in new places. It's not an exact retelling of the originally 1995 blockbuster, but it creates an updated story that works well overall.
Most players will hop right into the single-player campaign made up of around fourteen missions and six chapters. You'll drive a tank in St. Petersburg, Russia, go shooting about in the statue park, and funk out in Zukovsky's nightclub. The areas of the game aren't very similar to the original Goldeneye 007. They're entirely new and feel new, too. The level design isn't exactly wide-open, but it's neither linear either. There's secret passages to get a jump on enemies, split-paths to build a sense of exploration in the game, and hidden areas to uncover.
Goldeneye 007 encourages you to play it stealthily. If you don't, you'll sound off an alarm or a loudmouthed guard who will zone in on your position and call for back-up. In later difficulties, this is a headache as the extra enemies are all gunning for you with automatic weapons, and death is no stranger to 007 in harder modes. Instead, the game allows you to use a silenced pistol to shoot a guard in the head like pin the tail on the donkey, or if you're too close for comfort, you can always knock them out up close and personal with a knockout move. Something like a quick hit to the back of the head or a headlock into submission will do.
To my surprise, enemy AI is quite intelligent (hence the I in AI). They'll duck behind cover, and when their cover is exposed after repeated shots (there's destructible cover by the way), they'll run to another spot for cover. Enemies will run and slide into cover, wait for you to move, and blast you until you're turned into an MI-6 memorial star. They're quite crafty as well usually using the numbers game to your disadvantage. On later difficulties, they'll be downright ruthless in 007's death. Sure, you can use the AI's idiosyncrasies to your advantage, but not often will they give you the honor. Still, very impressive AI in this game.
The single-player feels like something out of Call of Duty as does the multi-player (which we'll get to in a bit). There's set-piece after set-piece from quick-time events to riding shotgun in an army truck, blasting any foe that foolishly steps in your path. And why wouldn't the game feel like Call of Duty with Activision publishing it and Eurocom (whose last project was the rightfully overlooked Dead Space Extraction) developing the game.
We've talked about the campaign, so let's move onto the multi-player modes. Firstly, there's the classic four player split-screen action where you choose one of many characters such as certain Bond villains like Dr. No and Oddjob as well as the many enemy models the game has to offer. You can set up modifications for battle such as melee mode, paintball guns, or one of many other options. It's fun for a little bit, but the lack of bots (this is 2010, not 1996, Eurocom) is a bit disconcerting and lowers the fun down quite a bit.
The online multi-player is a different story, and it's very reminiscent of Call of Duty. There's over eight different modes to be played. Conflict and Team Conflict are your standard deathmatch scenarios. Then there's the Golden Gun mode where the object is to grab the Golden Gun, and kill enemies with it. You gain five points per kill instead of just one as you would without the gun. Then there's the Black Box mode where the goal is to either defend the Black Box or destroy it depending on what team you're placed on. Next up is the Goldeneye mode where players hack terminals, and whoever holds the most will have the Goldeneye nuke their opponents' base. Heroes marks one player on each team as the hero. Killing the hero earns major points, but the hero himself or herself has more strength and health. Finally, three other modes are locked until a player reaches the level requirement.
He has a powerful weapon, he charges a million a shot.
An assassin that's second to none-- the Man with the Golden Gun!
An assassin that's second to none-- the Man with the Golden Gun!
Yep, levels and experience points return making this Call of Duty: 007 style. You earn experience for kills, kill streaks, killing a major enemy such as a hero or person with the Golden Gun, and kill/death ratios. As you earn experience, you gain levels which unlocks new bonuses, weapons, and gadgets for you to use. Say for when you reach level fifty (if you have the patience to play this game that long), you earn proximity mines.
Online isn't perfect, however. The game suffers lag and frame-rate issues as well as some hackers already. Friend codes are used to add other people to your buddy list of which one-hundred people can join. Finally, it's just too damn easy to die in this game. Before you can even turn around, you're dead, making for some frustrating gameplay. I have on occasion rage-quit because of how cheap the game can be especially with the lag and frame-rate issues the game possesses.
Visually, Goldeneye 007 is a bad mamma-jamma, and I say that it in a good way. The special effects such as explosions, snow, and rain are all incredible to gaze upon. The character models animate well and are crafted just as well. The voice work, on the other hand, could use some pepping up. Every character, including Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench, speaks in an annoying monotone voice. Is this an action game or a funeral, people? Make up your minds quickly now. Otherwise on the sound side of things, the music is perfect for each location from the statue park to the dam to the nightclub to-- you get the idea, hopefully. To cap off, the presentation is very good, and no "not just for Wii" garbage either.
Overall, Goldeneye 007 is far from a perfect game. The online is far from issue-free and the single-player can screw you out of completing missions thanks to the constant continue points disallowing back-tracking. It's not all bad, thankfully. There's plenty of fun gun-slinging, gadget-using, tuxedo-wearing action to give this game a good rating. Those just interested in the single-player should stick with a rental, but those wanting to try out the infinite online options, feel free to buy before you try. To me, Eurocom is the company that laid the Golden Gun.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.25/10]