Any James Bond video game of note must have insanely good multiplayer, thanks to the standard set by the classic GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64. In other words, Bond and multiplayer go hand-in-hand, like Mario and Luigi. I was able to play more than an hour of split-screen matches in GoldenEye 007 for Wii — as well as learn more details about online play — at an Activision press event last Wednesday in San Francisco. (Check out my single-player impressions here.)
I immediately crashed on a black leather couch with three other players. We jumped into various modes, with Station being our mainstay level. The setting acts like a huge construction site playground, with multiple catwalks and cement barriers. But players can also look forward to classic levels in the finished product, too, according to Graham Hagmaier, an Activision producer.
“[Developer Eurocom] has some new levels in there like Station and Nightclub, and then there are classics like Archive and Facility,” said Hagmaier. “[Eurocom] has a mix-and-match of both [old and new multiplayer maps].”
After playing a couple of classic death matches, the group switched the game mode to Golden Gun. This type of multiplayer match allows for one-shot kills to the person who gains possession of the iconic Scaramanga weapon. As such, a mad rush consumes everyone to pick up the powerful pistol, or at least kill the person holding the weapon. By far, this was my favorite game to play of the night, but there are plenty of other modes and modifiers (though no AI bots) to entertain gamers as well.
“With offline [multiplayer], you are going to have modifiers and different game modes, like Golden Gun, Team Conflict and Conflict,” Hagmaier said. “There are then 17 different modifiers — like Invisibility, Tag Mode, and Paintball — and then 50 different characters to choose from. Overall, you can really customize your gameplay, with more than 200 different types of gameplay.”
Navigating the modifier selection led to an entertaining, laughter-heavy Melee Only battle (Slappers to fans of the original Nintendo 64 game). A fellow player destroyed everyone else (including me) as Natalya, with characters sporting huge hands for comedic effect as they chopped away.
In general, the split-screen setup feels really good. The character speed felt a bit sluggish in comparison to the multiplayer mode in Call of Duty, but this may be intentional to slow the speed of the game down a notch. The frame rate stays smooth, even with explosions and action consuming the screen. And, trust me, time tends to fly while battling it out with a group of peers on the same screen.
Players can also enjoy a TV screen by themselves and jump on Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to battle with up to 8 players. Not only that, but you will find some significant differences between local and online multiplayer.
“[Online and split-screen] are basically two different flavors of multiplayer, so you have a reason to play both,” explained Hagmaier. “With online, it is up to 8 players and you are playing different modes, like Black Box and others. You can also play with four different factions. You have Zukovsky’s henchmen (basically, Russian mobsters); you have the Russian Army faction (Gen. Ourumov and Xenia Onatopp); you got Janus organization (like Alec Trevelyan); and then you finally have MI6 (heroes).
“So you play as one of the four different factions and then rank up similar to a more modern [gaming] approach, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Thus, you can do different weapons and perks, as well as exclusive online content.”
Though there are four factions, Hagmaier noted that only two organizations show up in a match (no 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 battles). Hagmaier elaborated further on Goldeneye 007 online by saying the game will have experience points, kill streaks and a leveling system. The producer “thinks [developer Eurocom’s] cap level is 56, so it is pretty high.” But all the levels in the world will not help without some killer online modes, which led to Hagmaier talking about the online multiplayer mode called GoldenEye Control.
“You have substations of little satellites that are all around the level, and you have to go and capture them,” said Hagmaier. “If you capture all of the substations, the GoldenEye beam fires on the enemy’s headquarters and takes it out.”
The mode sounds perfect for some cooperative team mechanics. Sadly, though, the game fails to support WiiSpeak or the upcoming PDP HeadBanger Headset. But so far, that sounds like the only negative for the multifarious online title. Developer Eurocom is even cleverly expanding the maps for Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection battles to accommodate the additional players.
GoldenEye 007 for Wii hits store shelves Nov. 2 as a standard package at a MSRP of $49.99 or as a Gold Controller Bundle at a MSRP of $69.99.