|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Eurocom||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: November 2, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by J. Matthew Zoss
It seems that every gamer that is old enough to have lived through the Nintendo 64 era has fond memories of the same game. The original GoldenEye 007 is one of the most revered and successful games of all time, thanks largely to its groundbreaking split-screen multiplayer.
Thanks to great gameplay, well-designed levels, and addictive gameplay modes, gamers around the world racked up millions of hours playing as some of the James Bond franchises most iconic characters. Over the years, there have been attempts to recapture the magic of GoldenEye, such as the ill-advised GoldenEye: Rogue Agent and an unreleased remake of the original for Xbox Live Arcade. Activision has unveiled another game bearing the GoldenEye name, a new Wii-exclusive title that recreates the original game with both familiar elements and new surprises.
To be clear, GoldenEye 007 is not an exact remake of the original game. Its an update based on the same movie, but there are a few key differences. First, Pierce Brosnan is out and Daniel Craig is in. The current Bond actor is lending both his face and voice to the game, as is Judi Dench (who played M in both the GoldenEye film and the last two Bond movies). David Arnold, who has scored every Bond movie since Tomorrow Never Dies, is providing the updated music. Bruce Feirstein, the writer of the original film has provided the updated script, which modernizes the story a bit to make it fit better within the continuity of the current films.
However, these sorts of fiction updates arent the only changes that the new GoldenEye has in store. While the game follows the story of the original movie and game, dont expect to see the same exact levels as the original game. Most of the same locations will return, but the layouts of the stages will not be the same. Activision now owns the rights to Bond series, but developer Rare still controls the rights to the original game, so a room-for-room remake was legally out of the question.
Of course, the fact that Activision and developer Eurocom couldnt deliver an exact remake allows them to add new features to the game. A few modern FPS tropes have been added to the mix, such as destructible cover and contextual actions. In the opening stage of the game, we saw a contextual action that allowed Bond to take down a guard quietly by grabbing him from behind and knocking him out. We also saw cover degrade from fire after a frenzied firefight broke out. In other words, we saw a single-player game that looked like a fairly current first-person shooter.
Still, the single-player mode is only a small part of the GoldenEye formula. Multiplayer is the biggest attraction, and Activision has big plans for the remake. While GoldenEye 007 will feature online multiplayer, it will also features four-player splitscreen. Lets be honest, you cant have a GoldenEye game without splitscreen multiplayer.
We recently had a chance to play a few rounds of the splitscreen multiplayer, and found that it closely matched our memories of the original game, for better or worse. The levels we played, as in the single-player game, were all new but did a good job approximating the look and feel of the original game. We fought against familiar foes like Oddjob and Jaws with weapons that felt immediately recognizable. However, the downside is that the speed of gameplay felt too much like the original game. By necessity, the original titles gameplay was slower than what weve come to expect from todays shooters. Compared to most current shooters, GoldenEye 007 feels pretty sluggish.
Of course, a slower pace isnt a reason for us to be less excited for the game. The original game was played by a variety of people, and Activision clearly hopes the new version is as big of a success. The slower pace of multiplayer will probably be a big selling point for those who are turned off by the often intimidating speed of many shooters. Another big selling point is the versatility of the control methods. We played with the classic controller while one opponent used the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. No matter which controller type you have for your Wii, you can play GoldenEye. Will these concessions to casual players make the new GoldenEye as big a hit as the original? Only time will tell, but well only have to wait until November to find out.
J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer