Review: GoldenEye 007 for Wii – It’s Good, but is it Golden?

“He’s in the bathroom!”, and, “Stop looking at my screen!”, were two very common phrases back around 1997. GoldenEye 64 was the go-to game for multi-player. It was a great game, but in addition to that, there weren’t many other 4-player games to compete with it (let alone 4-player FPS); aside from the Bomberman series, there weren’t many games that allowed you to gather three other friends to play for hours on end. Enter the new challenger, GoldenEye 007 for Wii. Can it live up to the legendary legacy that is GoldenEye 64?

Michael Bay? Yep.

One thing I really loved about the original game is that the levels were pretty open, and so they allowed you to create your own path through them; this same design extended itself well to the time trials, which allowed the player to figure out the best route, and thus gave the player great satisfaction upon completion. This new game is surprisingly quite fun, but unfortunately very linear. Most of the levels have a set, somewhat narrow path that doesn’t allow for as much improvisation as the original. Having said that, the levels are still designed well. This game takes a more modern approach in that you are on a roller-coaster ride filled with explosions, destruction, and lots of enemies to take down. I’ve played through several levels more than once, and they’re still fun, so it really comes down to whether or not you’re okay with mostly linear levels (many modern FPS games are like this, including Call of Duty).

The enemies in this game will dive for cover, and seem to take a liking to self-preservation, as they will use cover as if their virtual lives depend on it (which is certainly the case). The enemies run around a lot, and even run away from you while still shooting, which is pretty cool. The enemies usually start off not knowing you’re around, which gives you the chance to take them out, without going into alert mode; once you are seen, heard, or you’ve shot someone, any enemies that have been alerted to your presence must be taken out in a couple seconds, or the area’s soldiers will be on alert, and backup soldiers will immediately come to kill you. I thought it was quite annoying when someone would hear my footsteps, and instead of investigating, the area would immediately go into alert mode; really? Couldn’t it possibly be one of his soldier buddies just walking around? I might also want to mention that these soldiers’ aim is godly. You don’t die quickly in this game, but your death may come sooner than you’d have hoped while you’re trying to hide behind cover to heal; if you can be seen, the enemies will nail you almost every time without fail. The soldiers go into alert mode, perhaps a little too easily, and their aim is not realistic, but they still make for good foes that keep you on your toes until the end credits.

The graphics are surprisingly nice. It’d be nice if more 3rd-party developers would take as much time on their games…

There are several difficulty settings, which mostly have to do with how many objectives one has to complete in order to beat the level. However, also included is a 007 classic mode. Normally the player can heal over time without doing anything, but in 007 classic mode, instead of automatically healing, the player must find body armor to stay alive. This mode makes the game a bit more intense, as each bullet that hits matters all the more. It’s also great because it gives some incentive to replay the game. The mode that I loved in the original game, but not much in this game, is the time trial mode. The levels in this game are much longer than the original, so while original time trials might have been as short as 1:17 or so, this game’s time trials are mostly around the eleven minute mark! This makes time trials a lot more difficult, as there is more gameplay to perfect. Even worse is that the time trial mode is extremely tacked on; all of the original in-game cut-scenes are in the time trials. This can be very frustrating when you’re just trying to play the game, and you have to sit through several 15-30 second scenes every single time you attempt to beat that difficult time trial.

If there is one thing that matters in most games, it’s the controls, and GoldenEye 007 delivers. You can play the game with the classic controller, nunchuck + Wii-mote combo, or even a Gamecube controller. The “regular” controllers are easy to get right, but it’s with the nunchuck + Wii-mote combo that the developers impressed me. You can finely tune both your regular aim, and your “aiming down the sights of the gun” controls to your liking. In addition to that, there are many button configurations for all control options. One major problem I have though is that when you’re playing split-screen multi-player, anyone who is using a nunchuck + Wii-mote, and is not the first player, can change their button configuration, but the turning/aiming controls are set to default; meaning the other players cannot use custom control settings.

It’s a gold gun! Its awesomeness needs no explanation!

Lastly we have the multi-player. GoldenEye 64 had a great campaign, but it’s the multi-player that brought all kinds of people to your house. The multi-player in GoldenEye 007 is a lot of fun. There is the typical death-match, team death-match, and a mode in which players must capture and control certain points on the map. There are also a few more unique game-types, one of which has players all fighting over control of the golden gun. The golden gun is a single-shot gun (must be reloaded each time), but killing with it earns you five points, while other kills only get you one point. I found this mode to be quite fun and hectic; the thrill of holding the golden gun and wanting to keep it makes it exciting. Another mode (is only available online) has two teams fighting over a briefcase. One team holds the briefcase, and for every second they hold it, a bar fills up. The other team must destroy the briefcase, or simply prevent the other team from holding it for too long. Every mode is fun and distinct from the others. There aren’t a whole lot of modes, but there’s enough to satisfy your multi-player needs. Here’s the section of the paragraph where I need to say something negative, so here it goes: Why is there no “pistols only”, “rockets only” etc. option? Instead of this type of option like in the original game, each player chooses whatever “loadout” (can we say Call of Duty?) they want. So, while I have a machine gun with a grenade launcher attachment, you can choose a sniper rifle, machine gun, or even rocket launcher. How this was overlooked, I really can’t fathom. Of course you can always play by the honor system and play “pistols only”, but then you have to switch to your pistol every single time you respawn.

Sorry, Daniel, maybe next time.

GoldenEye 007 has great graphics, and good yet linear level design. The multi-player strangely lacks the typical “pistols only” type of modes, but will still be a blast online, or with 2-4 players. The time trial mode feels very tacked on, but the 007 classic mode gives incentive for a challenging replay. The original GoldenEye 64 was special, because it was great in its own right, and there weren’t many 4-player games available back then. The new GoldenEye 007 for Wii copies Call of Duty perhaps a little too much for its own good, and it might be difficult to differentiate it from the myriad of multi-player options available to gamers today. It’s a good game, and it’s worth your time and money, but it doesn’t quite live up to the legend that is GoldenEye 64.

Grade B+

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