Feel like Daniel Craig's Bond; fantastic single-player campaign; intelligent enemy AI; enjoyable multiplayer online and off; good controls
Framerate stutters from time to time; a couple rough edges with visuals; a few hiccups with IR controls
After the credits roll in GoldenEye 007, the text scroll reads, “James Bond will be back.” Will be? This re-imagining of Nintendo and Rare’s Nintendo 64 classic gives gamers an over-the-top, action-packed experience. As such, Bond is already back, thanks to Activision and developer Eurocom’s exclusive Wii title.
The most impressive aspect of the game: GoldenEye 007 makes you feel like Daniel Craig’s Bond. This is not your typical first-person shooter that places you as a run-of-the-mill soldier or faceless space marine. You transform into the gritty, instinctual Bond of the recent films, ready to be stealthy but also willing to blow up anything and everything in your way. Eurocom also deserves credit for having the nerve to take weapons out of Bond’s hands during the single-player campaign. In the Spanish nightclub level, players witness firsthand Bond’s lavish ways as he navigates a bumpin’ late-night scene with only a phone to search for a target. He then meets up with a contact, who displays realistic animation and provides entertaining banter for the shaken, but not stirred hero. Certain areas of the single-player campaign like this add great pacing to the adventure and break up the shooting aspects well.
Foremost, though, this is a first-person shooter. GoldenEye 007 definitely takes cues from the Call of Duty franchise, as Bond aims down sights, hops over obstacles and uses cover regularly. At the same time, Eurocom adds enough Bond-esque elements to the shooting formula to make the game stand on its own. For example, stealth plays a major role throughout the adventure. Players can slowly sneak up on many foes and take them out with sleeper holds and silenced shots (courtesy of P99 handgun). The sneaking aspect shines because of fantastic enemy AI. Bad guys will react naturally to your actions, shouting out your location to others and counteracting your movements accordingly. The opposing force will flank Bond, take cover (watching enemies slide headfirst into cover puts a smile on your face), and attack at opportune times. While the enemy AI is not overly realistic, it’s accurately tuned just enough to give you a challenge while still allowing players to mess around with stealth in fun ways.
There is nothing wrong with causing explosion-filled chaos, too. There are great, scripted Bond moments placed throughout the single player campaign. For instance, a helicopter will tail you for one level, but Bond fights the chopper back by firing anti-aircraft missiles. Other level segments fill the screen with bad guys, huge blasts and smoke. You run around unloading lead and causing havoc, feeling like a blast-my-way-out-of-here Bond. Action-packed experiences like this really put you in Bond’s shoes.
The environments and locales Bond travels to feature crisp visuals and great diversity. Bond travels to a beautifully lit jungle, with sunlight breaking through the canopy; the wet and damp dam from the original game; and the harsh, cold Russian mountains, with some spectacular particle effects for snow. Not all is perfect in Bond’s world, though: the game does stutter a bit during action-heavy sequences. And while the levels as a whole are eye-pleasing and exotic, some of the smaller elements — like computer monitors and tech gadgetry — appear rather low-res and bland.
A few rough edges also plague the Wii remote controls. The IR sensor’s accuracy is fine but fails to surpass the smoothness of The Conduit. Speed and precision, though, come courtesy of the remote and nunchuk setup, and Eurocom provides enough customization to please players. However, a minor hang-up with IR controls relates to navigating inclines and declines (like stairs). The reticule goes haywire for a second or two before re-centering, leading to a few frustrating outbursts, especially during multiplayer. On the other hand, there are plenty of other controller options to tickle a player’s fancy, with Classic Controller Pro and GameCube controller support, both of which provide a serviceable dual-analog scheme.
Obviously, GoldenEye 007 is not a single-player only affair. Multiplayer plays a major role, with split-screen and online options. The local four-player mode features a plethora of goofy modifiers, such as paintball and melee only (slappers). These modes are a big nod to the N64 original but provide a grin-inducing good time. The online multiplayer diverges from the split-screen mode with bigger levels, and most importantly, a ranking and level system similar, once again, to Call of Duty’s.
Yet it must be noted, just like single-player, GoldenEye 007 blazes its own trail with multiplayer by focusing far less on customization and realistic strategy. The weapons and perks you can earn and equip are simple and straightforward, so players are on a more level playing field, regardless of their level. Weapons/gear load outs are also integrated into the affair but cannot be updated between games. This may annoy Call of Duty enthusiasts and those looking for more depth to their online game, but this decision seems like a way for Eurocom to keep the focus on easy-to-play, traditional shooter matches.
The best part of GoldenEye 007‘s online multiplayer is the Bond-specific modes, like Golden Gun and Heroes. The latter, in particular, really utilizes the Bond universe and adds a fun twist to regular team conflicts. One player on each team gets to be a hero, such as Bond, or a bad guy, like General Ourumov, and each celebrity character possesses special abilities, like character-specific weapons and/or stronger health. Needless to say, the Heroes mode quickly becomes addictive and proffers some diversity from other online shooter experiences. The only complaint with Goldeneye 007‘s online gameplay revolves around some noticeable lag during certain games. Once again, the game stutters the most during grenade-heavy and explosion-filled segments.
Take a step back, though, and the rough edges fade away to reveal a stunning and superb James Bond experience. GoldenEye 007 provides the quintessential first-person shooter package for Wii owners, with a well-paced, action-packed single-player campaign and fun multiplayer component. Most importantly, Eurocom nails the Bond look and feel, letting Wii owners step into the shoes of the secret agent. The shoe fits all right; Bond is back.
Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.