Review: GoldenEye 007

Greg Tito | 4 Nov 2010 12:00
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GoldenEye 007 is the first Wii game I've played that doesn't feel like a Wii game. Even though you could call it a remake of the shooter from 1997 that merely updates James Bond and brings the story into the 21st century, it is much more than that. The mission design and characters of the campaign are highly entertaining but the multiplayer is what everyone will be judging this game on, and it doesn't disappoint. The fast-paced, yet strategic, combat works great in local split screen and online in probably some of the best multiplayer the Wii has to offer. Combined with the fantastically written and designed campaign and GoldenEye works on nearly every level.

You have a lot of options in how to control GoldenEye. The best one is to use Nintendo's Classic Controller Pro, which is basically a Gamecube controller. You can also use the standard Classic Controller or the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, but these are inelegant at best. The only good thing about using the motion control is that the melee punch is mapped to the accelerometer of the Nunchuk, so punching equals punching, but I found aiming and turning with the Wii Remote difficult to master. Nintendo was smart enough to bundle a gold Classic Controller Pro with GoldenEye, and I think that's how the developers expected most people to play the game.

It's easy to forget that you are playing a Wii game in the campaign of GoldenEye. Yes, the graphics aren't as high definition as the rest of this generation, but I stopped noticing after a while because the rest of the game plays so well. Eurocom was able to squeeze as much of a framerate as they could out of the little Wii to deliver some really great action sequences and animations. I even found the blurriness of the image onscreen to enhance the action, especially during the surprisingly fun quick time events that punctuate the hand-to-hand combat for which the Bond series is known. It is somehow more Bond-like to play scripted fight sequences; I felt more like 007 blocking Xenia Onatopp's kicks and punches by pressing the appropriate buttons than I would if I shot her in the back from 50 feet away.

Although GoldenEye is definitely a shooter, you're not just blasting away the whole time. The designers made the excellent choice of allowing you to sneak up on enemies and sometimes even past them. By crouching, you are undetectable and can move up behind guards to subdue them with a melee attack that doesn't alert his comrades. There are also cameras that you must take out, or the alarm will sound bringing heavy guards down on your position. You can go through the whole game shooting at everybody at a distance, especially on the easier difficulties, but I liked that I had the option of stealth if I wanted to feel more like a spy than a soldier. It's not quite Deus Ex, but the option is nice. And if you want to complete the game on the harder difficulties where health doesn't recharge, stealth is almost necessary.

The story of the campaign is based on that of the 1995 film but it's gotten an update. Bond starts off at a dam in the Soviet Union and teams up with agent 006, Alec Trevelyan, to investigate a weapons cache but ends up stumbling onto a much bigger plot. The mission ends with Bond jumping off the dam, which spurs an authentic opening credit sequence complete with silhouetted women and slow motion guns firing. The rest of the level design is similar to the linear story-driven play of the first game, but with many different objectives to be completed. I especially liked using Bond's smartphone in some missions, either to take photographs of an EMP-hardened helicopter or to hack into wireless computer networks.

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