|Genre||Motion-Controlled Classic Update|
|MtAMinutes to Action||12|
|Buy from Amazon|
When I think of GoldenEye 007, I think of a screen split in two by a horizontal line through the center. I think of the Complex, a multiplayer map with plenty of hidden nooks and crannies, as well as one raised bunker room overlooking the map's main area. I think of the claustrophobic staircase that leads into that room. And I think of the countless times I climbed that staircase, RCP-90 at the ready, only to catch a glimpse of an enormous explosion before blood dripped down my half of the screen.
When I think of GoldenEye 007, I think of my brother hoarding the explosives, camping in that fortress of perfectly-placed remote mines, watching my screen until the perfect moment to strike, then pumping his fist and laughing when the blood started to spill. Every. Single. Time.
It was infuriating then, but I can't help but laugh looking back on those days. It seems Activision, the current owners of the 007 videogame license, want to cash in on our fond memories of the N64 phenomenon that introduced so many to the first-person shooter genre. The game-publishing juggernaut announced a Wii re-imagining of GoldenEye 007 at this year's E3 with plenty of hype in tow. Though it stars Daniel Craig and boasts a storyline more fit for modern times, the new GoldenEye appears to be taking many cues from the Pierce Brosnan-era video game, with updates to the gameplay that seem stripped right out of the latest Call of Duty titles.
There aren't a lot of games that can get people excited through name alone, but GoldenEye 007 definitely fits that bill. It's easy to forget, however, that the GoldenEye name has been mishandled before. I've briefly stepped into the gadget-laden shoes of this latest James Bond. How did this first mission go? This briefing is for your eyes only, 007.
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I choose Agent difficulty, which provides regenerating health and a secondary objective for each mission. The game loads for a few seconds, and I'm immediately in control. I'm in a firing range. Some text orders me to go to the counter and pick up Bond's P99 pistol.
01 - Apparently I can hold two weapons in addition to the P99, which I keep at all times. For now, I head to the firing range. Pulling the B trigger shoots. I can reload with the minus button. Some targets appear and I shoot them. Easy.
02 - I am Aim Down the Sights by holding the Z button on the nunchuk. This is more accurate than aiming from the hip. If I'm aiming from the hip in the direction of an enemy, going into ADS mode will snap right to the target. I'm not really a fan of that auto-target help...
03 - I'm told to grab a new weapon. There's a whole selection of assault rifles and sub machine guns here. I can pick up any of them and shoot at targets in the firing range.
04 - The controls are pretty good, but let's explore the options available...I can use the nunchuk/remote combo, the classic controller, or the Gamecube controller. I'll stick with pointer controls.
05 - There are a number of pre-set options for the pointer controls, but you can also tweak just about every option you can think of. Turning speed, aim speed, dead zones, max turn zones...I'll just stick with one of the more advanced pre-sets for now and turn off ADS Snap-To-Target. I probably shouldn't spend this first hour messing with options...
06 - Apparently shaking the nunchuk triggers a melee attack, but the melee attack triggered a keypad on the door as well.
07 - I can climb or vault over small objects by pressing forward and the A button over them. I can sprint by pressing the A button while walking forward. Pressing up on the D-Pad equips my P99 with a silencer.
08 - I press the A button to pull a vent away from a wall and crawl in. I can move slowly and quietly by crouching to sneak up to guards and then shake the nunchuk to take them down silently. Bond grabs the man in a chokehold and brings him down.
09 - "You've been detected! Eliminate the guard before he calls for backup!" There's a subtle audio cue when a guard sees you, and another one signaling that the guard has been taken out and I'm back to being unseen. Pretty handy. That's the end of the tutorial.
10 - Getting a message from M. "Good morning 007. For the past 3 years, a high-ranking Russian general, Arkady Ourumov, has been stealing Russian military equipment and selling it on the black market." Sounds a bit like Goldeneye to me. I'm ordered to go in with 006 (Alec Trevelyan), stop the weapons delivery, and kill Ourumov if need be. Pretty high quality mission briefing, worthy of a Bond flick.
11 - My objectives are to infiltrate the dam and download the flight plan for a helicopter. Yep, this looks like the dam from the N64 game. 006 walks me through a stealth action where we take out a few guards who are busy with idle chatter. Alec's facial animation is pretty good when he's speaking.
12 - Now I'm in full control, and Alec tells me to take out the sniper in the tower ahead. Rather than going over the bridge where I'm sure to be seen, I can climb down into the small ravine and sneak around. I quietly take out the sniper, but a few other guards catch me in the act. Alec takes them out for me. Thanks buddy! You'll never betray me.
13 - A few soldiers cautiously approach from behind the tower. I take them out with the sniper rifle using its night-vision scope and find an AK-47 in the sentry post as well.
14 - I jump right out of the sentry tower and head for the truck that 006 has stolen. The two British agents talk about Ourumov as they approach the checkpoint ahead in the tunnel. Two Russian soldiers inform us (in Russian) that security has tightened.
15 - Alec and James attempt to smooth their way through the conversation (in Russian) but 006 ends the chat with a few bullets. He recklessly drives ahead through the tunnel and I shoot oncoming danger like trucks and soldiers with the AK-47 one of the soldiers dropped.
16 - A soldier hangs onto the passenger side door and grabs my gun. I shake him off with a nunchuk waggle and he hits an oncoming wall. The truck crashes and Alec climbs out, taking out a guard above. Bond shuffles out afterwards and I'm back in full control.
17 - 007 wonders what the Russians are doing with a certain helicopter, but 006 hurries us along. I come upon a door with some Russian soldiers inside. A "Breach" option pops up and we do so. The game goes into slow motion as the soldiers scramble to grab their weapons, but I take them out.
18 - James brings up the helicopter again, saying it looked EMP-hardened. 006 tells him to not worry about it, but 007 insists on sending pics back to MI6. Alec begrudgingly stays behind to cover me.
19 - The visuals are a bit blurry as I move around the environment. There's a bit of GHOSTING going on. Maybe it's my TV. I try to take out an enemy soldier stealthily, but he catches on because I'm making a bit of noise. I took him out before he could call for reinforcements, but my quiet approach is ruined when I end up shooting a truck's gas tank to take out some soldiers ahead.
20 - Some deep-voiced soldiers emerge and an alarm sounds. Guess I was too loud? These guys can take a few more bullets than the regulars. That's extra incentive to stay quiet, I suppose.
21 - I've opened the blast doors in the tunnel ahead, and some soldiers slide down the diagonal walls to take up combat positions. I take cover and peep out by tilting the nunchuk. These controls are definitely preferable to dual analog already.
22 - Nice to see the developers aren't sticking TOO close to the old stage designs. This dam is much larger than its N64 predecessor and has different paths despite its nearly-identical beginning.
23 - A few soldiers ahead are standing underneath a ventilation pipe. I shoot the pipe and the smoke makes short work of them. I am so James Bond.
24 - I'm outside the dam tunnel now. There's plenty of rain falling, and some gutters are pouring out water as well. There's a greater attention-to-detail here than I usually expect in Wii games. A truck ahead has an octagonal wheel, however, so I'm certainly not mistaking this for a PS3 title.
25 - I'm near the bottom of the dam now, and some speedboats pull into the dock. Each has a few soldiers to take down. They're a bit hard to see, but the sniper rifle's night-vision scope helps out.
26 - The regenerating health is a welcome addition, as these guys seem to be able to snipe me with assualt rifles when I can barely even see them up ahead.
27 - There are security cameras ahead. I've never seen security cameras that projected red light into their line of vision...that just seems like overkill to me. Anyway, they're easily taken out. Soldiers nearby don't seem to notice the shattering lens.
28 - I'm pinned in a doorway and have to fight my way out from this awkward angle. The transition from hipfire to Aiming Down the Sights isn't quite as smooth as I'd like. I'm sure I can take care of that from the options menu later.
29 - Climbing ladders, vaulting barriers, looking for the next way to go...
30 - I come to an elevator and call it. 006 asks if I found the helicopter yet. He sounds annoyed.
31 - The elevator comes out to an exit on the side of the dam. A few soldiers talking on the catwalk ahead...I try to snipe them them all quickly and silently but my bullets whiz just by their heads. So I take out my AK-47 and kill them all quite loudly.
32 - I've come out on top of the dam. Sentry towers lining the concrete top...this looks familiar. I can see the helicopter ahead, and a phone icon flashes by my radar, letting me know that an objective requiring my smartphone is nearby. I press left on the D-Pad to take out my smartphone and take pictures of a few areas of the helicopter.
33 - Alec says to meet him at the rendezvous ahead. Some soldiers hear me running toward the waypoint, so it's time to fight again. I decide to run right at them and fire rather than taking cover. It works well enough for the few few enemies, but a sniper ahead makes me think twice.
34 - I slip into cover and duel the sniper ahead, taking him out after a few scoped shots. Another group of soldiers emerge. I've noticed that I can destroy the concrete barriers that they take cover behind with a few shots.
35 - 006 says he's created a diversion to cover our exit. The smarthpone icon flashes, and I'm prompted to activate a Wi-Fi node ahead.
36 - I take out my smartphone and "hack" into the glowing blue Wi-Fi node. Apparently that completed an objective. Not really sure what...
37 - I've come to an elevator now. I go inside and "Use" the elevator's button by pistol-whipping it. I come out of the elevator and sneak up on a guard looking out the window.
38 - Several soldiers ahead surprise me by popping out of cover. There's a good bit of slowdown going on...
39 - One of the soldiers flanks me by heading around the barrier to my left. Before he gets a shot off, I take him out with the butt of my AK-47. I continue to the waypoint ahead.
40 - I've met up with Alec now, as alarms start blaring. He jumps off the dam and uses his parachute. The game shifts out of first-person mode into a cutscene. Russian soldiers catch up to Bond before he can jump. They order him to take off his parachute and he does...then pulls the cord, blinding the guards with the 'chute...and jumps off the dam as they're stunned.
41 - The Goldeneye theme song from the movie starts playing, and we've got a James Bond-style opening. Silhouettes, credits, and intermittent footage of Bond sliding down the sloped dam wall. Looks painful...
42 - The theme song is slightly different from the one from the movie. For one, it's not sung by Tina Turner...still good, though.
43 - "Nice trick, going without a parachute. Trying to show me up?" Alec and James share a few quips, then head into the next mission. I save the game and continue.
44 - Next mission: the Facility. Still on Agent difficulty. Objectives: Infiltrate the Weapons Facility and Gather Intel for MI6 Analysis. MI6 won't be able to communicate with the agents down here, but 006 and 007 can still chat over the low-frequency band. They split up, Alec going for the weapons cache and James heading for the fuel tanks.
45 - I'm back in control, and begin by removing a vent cover on the wall. Heading through the vents now...I don't like how I can't look down at my feet. I can't tell where this drop will go.
46 - 006 says he's going dark (radio silence). Guess we're incommunicado from here on out. I continue through the vents until I come to the bathrooms...ah, nostalgia. I lean down into the vent, and James punches the soldier sitting on the john.
47 - I can look at myself in the bathroom mirror. Character model doesn't look half-bad.
48 - The doors in here automatically slide open. It seems the people here haven't been informed of the ruckus I caused above, because they all seem rather inalert.
49 - Some guards ahead spot me before I get a chance to take them out. This approach is a little noisier than I was hoping for...
50 - I haven't really looked at the radar until now...enemies only show up on it as long as they're in my line of sight and for a few seconds afterwards if I slip into cover. It's still pretty useful, though. Alec breaks his radio silence to say I need to find a way to override the master lockdown in order to proceed.
51 - There's a vent here leading into an office. Nobody's home, but I almost ran into the sight of a security camera. That was close.
52 - The smartphone icon flashes, but I'm not sure why. Guess there's something to hack into nearby? Another security camera ahead. The green sight trail gives it away too easily.
53 - A soldier ahead is angry with the vending machine. I sneak up to him and free the snack dispenser from his abuse. I catch another guard loafing in a chair, and I rebuke him by smacking his throat. Damn it, man, there are lives at stake here! Stay alert!
54 - I found something to photograph with my smartphone. Apparently this is one of three things I need to find in order to complete the Gather Intel objective.
55 - An announcement over the PA system says that there has been a security breach. For some reason, this is announced in English. In fact, the only Russian spoken in the game was earlier when 006 and 007 were in the truck, speaking to the checkpoint crew. What's up with that?
56 - I just ran right into the camera eye, which embarrasses me to no end considering I laughed at how easy they were to avoid not even five minutes ago. Time for a gunfight with the deep-voiced special forces. Is there a reason these guys sound like demons with a pack-a-day voice?
57 - One of them tosses a grenade my way. The standard Call of Duty grenade icon lets me know where it is in relation to my body, and I'm given plenty of time to get away.
58 - There's a man working on a computer ahead. Is he a scientist? Am I not supposed to harm him? I decide to find out by snapping his neck. Haven't failed the mission, so I guess I'm okay.
59 - Some soldiers ahead talk about the dangers of smoking in a facility full of weaponry. I kill them before the cancer has a chance.
60 - Guess I was a little too loud...again. Special forces drop in and make things harder than they need to be. There's definitely some slowdown going on, can't have that in a Wii shooter. I trade my AK-47 for another one with a reflex sight on it. I'll have to try that baby out next time, however, as that ends the first hour.
First Hour Summary
Minutes to Action: 0 to tutorial, 12 to full control in mission.
What I liked: There's an attention-to-detail that's just uncharacteristic for Wii games going on here. Gutters leak streams of collected rainwater, desks are covered with scattered papers, and the character animations are definitely a cut above the norm. The remote/nunchuk controls are excellent, as expected. Finally, Goldeneye Wii has a lot of nostalgic moments to Goldeneye N64 (and the movie, of course) while still feeling entirely like its own game.
What I didn't like: All that detail can be a little much for the game at times, occasionally holding the framerate below what I think developers should deem necessary on Wii.
Video: Frankly, the game looks quite good. It doesn't have the same visual flair as some Wii games that defy the console's limitations with stylistic trickery, but it easily outclasses any other first-person shooter on the system. Character animations are especially strong.
Audio: The new Bond and Trevelyan are a little duller than I like, but that's appropriate for the more serious Daniel Craig-era Bond universe. The remake's soundtrack adopts a grand orchestral arrangement rather than the echoing, industrial score that accompanied the original movie and game. I prefer the original, but the new one isn't bad. Sound effects are fine, with situation-appropriate gunshots and footsteps.
Story: The changes in this update to Goldeneye's screenplay are subtle and few thus far, with a bit more emphasis on action than espionage.
Gameplay: If you've played Call of Duty and any Wii shooter, mash those together for an idea of the basic mechanics. The stealth/action mix is pretty close to the N64 classic, allowing plenty of opportunities for quiet takedowns and silenced headshots.
Challenge: Playing on the medium difficulty setting, I never really felt like I was in danger of dying yet, thanks to the regenerative health. The enemies are all so accurate, however, that I can't imagine I'd have survived this first mission with only body armor available.
Pacing: In just the first two missions, I've seen plenty of variety in the gameplay. Straight gunfights, slow-motion breaches, silent stalking, an on-rails vehicle shooter, and long-range sniping all stemmed from the same base but kept the action fresh throughout.
Fun Factor: It's especially satisfying to quickly snap the cursor over to an emerging soldier and bust a cap. The narrative is pretty enjoyable thus far, as well.
Would I Keep playing? Yes. Nostalgic moments, fluid shooting mechanics, and gameplay variety have me eager to continue on with this new take on a classic.
Words from beyond the First Hour: Janus is defeated. London is saved. And James Bond has made it with a woman he'll never see again. Mission complete.
GoldenEye 007's eight-hour singleplayer campaign is unremarkable, but enjoyable. The first sixty minutes are indicative of the remainder: a healthy balance of stealth options and hectic gunfights with the occasional slow-mo breach and scripted QTE sequence peppered in. It's not without its foibles (invisible geometry, some unclear objectives, buckling framerate, far-too-brief tank mission, disappointing end challenges) but there's no doubt that it goes above and beyond what is expected on Wii and delivers a few moments of reminiscence throughout an otherwise new, capable adventure.
The real meat of the game, and the bigger draw for many people, is in the multiplayer. It won't blaze any trails like the N64 classic, but it's probably the best online play I've seen on Wii outside of Mario Kart. The online multiplayer suite provides nine different game modes split between free-for-alls and team play, a level-based experience system for unlocking perks and weapons a la Modern Warfare, a basic party system for buddying up if you choose to share Friend Codes, stat tracking, leaderboards, and a list of "Accolades" specific to certain weapons and scenarios to encourage variations in play style. A few notable downsides are the low framerate, lack of communication, and 8-player maximum. The offline splitscreen play provides fun for up to four players, four game modes, a dozen interesting modifiers (paintball mode, big-arms melee, explode-on-contact, etc.) and classic Bond characters like Oddjob, Jaws, Red Grant, and more. The small, open maps and low player count provide a more intimate, fast-paced multiplayer experience that feels very busy: you're either killing or you're dying, never idling. It's a setup that calls back to the splitscreen addiction of its 64-bit namesake but feels oddly fresh in today's online shooter landscape.
All in all, GoldenEye 007 for Wii is a worthy successor thanks to its extensive control options, worthwhile campaign, and some of the best online multiplayer on Wii. FPS fans and those looking for a taste of nostalgia should definitely give this one a try, and anybody who's been waiting for a fun online shooting experience through Nintendo's rather barren Wi-Fi Connection should consider the acquisition of this James Bond title a primary objective.