Review: GoldenEye 007

Greg Tito | 4 Nov 2010 16:00
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Having a top-notch screenwriter like Bruce Feirstein from the original film makes GoldenEye sing. There is not a huge amount of dialogue, the mission briefings by Judi Dench as M are sparse (there are more with her secretary Tanner speaking), but what has changed from the film is definitely for the better. Taking place in 2010, Daniel Craig has replaced Pierce Brosnan as the new James Bond, and the animators did a great job of approximating Craig's more athletic physicality and gruffness. Extraneous characters are gone, but I think the plot benefits from streamlining. The romance with rescued computer programmer Natalya Simonova is a little stretched, but, hey, this is James Bond. The main antagonist's motives have completely changed to reflect the economic collapse of this decade, but it makes so much more sense to me than the character's ties to World War II and the Russian Cossacks of the original film. The ending sequence, which alternates firefights with the surprisingly effective quick time events, builds to such a great climax that I don't even miss Sean Bean. Much.

My favorite moments of the campaign were likely added by screenwriter Feirstein. Listening to the banter between two friends at a nightclub, or the dreams a guard has of owning a hotel "after all this is over" allow this GoldenEye to stand on its own, perhaps even above its predecessor.

Add to that the excellent multiplayer, and GoldenEye is a knockout. Split screen local multiplayer is back, and you can set up any kind of match that you could in 1997, plus some additional modes. And even though the maps are not the same as you might remember, each of them is well-designed enough to encourage players to keep moving through the environment instead of holing up and taking pot-shots with the sniper rifle. You can totally do that in the towers on the Outpost map if you want, cheater, but you'll eventually get someone taking you out by sneaking up the back.

Choosing loadouts is where the multiplayer differs greatly from the old game. Instead of the old convention of spawning with no gun and weapons being placed in specific locations on the map, you can pick your starting payload from a number of options, including sniper rifles and missile launchers. Each loadout usually has a main weapon and a sidearm, as well as a number of grenades. This frees up matches to be more strategic as soon as you spawn, without the awkward search for a weapon. When I played in college, we had a house rule where you couldn't shoot your buddy if he called, "No gun." By adding loadouts, I'm no longer tempted to shoot the innocent and unarmed. Although, I probably still would...

Accolades return from the first game, but there are way more of them now. Earning Steeple Chase for vaulting over the most obstacles or Butter Hook for the most melee kills during a match are fun to get, but I loved the more dubious honors. Having the least kills in a match does indeed only offer a Quantum of Solace.

But perhaps the greatest multiplayer development in the new GoldenEye is its online component. You can exchange Nintendo Friend Codes and set up private matches online just like in local split screen, but I found leveling up in ranked matches when you connect to Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection a lot of fun. It's easy to drop into a match (no Friend Code required!) and you earn experience points for kills and special situations, such as headshots or taking out a player on a kill streak. There are preset loadouts, but, as you level up, you can add more powerful weapons and Bond gadgets like sticky mines to your custom loadout. I thought the metagame of online multiplayer in GoldenEye added the modern expectation of reward-for-time-invested to the proven shootouts of the combat itself.

GoldenEye 007 doesn't do anything especially groundbreaking or innovative, but it delivers everything that a game starring James Bond should. The fact that's it a remake or reboot or whatever it should be called makes it even more impressive. GoldenEye is the exclusive Wii game that so-called hardcore players never thought would exist. It pushes the boundaries of what everyone thought was capable on the tiny console by providing a complex and engaging multiplayer experience on top of an excellently written and fun to play campaign.

Bottom Line: More than just a remake, GoldenEye 007 lives up to its predecessor and then some by not only modernizing the story but the multiplayer as well.

Recommendation: Everyone who owns a Wii should probably pick up this game, and even Bond fans who don't have one might consider buying a Wii just to experience the fun of the stealthy campaign and the multiplayer.

What our review scores mean.

Game: GoldenEye 007
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Eurocom
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: November 2nd, 2010
Platform: Wii
Available from: Wii

Greg Tito is thinking about getting the band back together for some Slappers Only in the Complex.

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