It is difficult to mention the N64 without talking about GoldenEye. Back in the day, GoldenEye (Rare developed) proved that fun FPS’s were not just for PC gamers and that having a movie license didn’t mean the game tie-in needed to be bad. Instead of Rare taking the development helm, Activision and Eurocom have reimaged the classic game exclusively for the Wii.
This Wii GoldenEye is very different from its N64 predecessor. The overall plot remains the same, but every other detail has been changed for a more modern setting: Pierce Brosnan has been replaced by Daniel Craig, the nightclub is more like Vegas as opposed to a small dank bar, Bond doesn’t use his wristwatch laser to escape the exploding train… Just about everything in this game has been given a new cosmetic makeover but still retains the feeling of the original game and movie; this is something that very few reimaged game sequels have achieved. For comparison purposes, GoldenEye Wii is like Batman Begins – a complete reboot.
There are many control schemes available: Wii remote and nunchuk, classic controller, or GC controller. Surprisingly, the Wii remote option works much better than you would think but turning quickly with accuracy will take some getting used to. But the Classic and GC controllers work like a typical FPS although there are strange button combinations, like melee attacking, that isn’t as responsive as a single button press could be. Luckily, all control options are highly customizable so there is bound to be a comfortable controller setting for everybody.
Although the game is linear, the player is still faced with options as to how the game is played. Thanks to the addition of stealth kills, players have the option of moving quietly or rushing in with guns blazing. And like the original N64 title, the higher the difficulty, the more mission objectives will need to be completed which is a solid way to increase solo player replay value. Like most modern day games in the same genre, GoldenEye uses an automatic health recovery system – find some cover once you take too much damage to avoid being killed. However, the classic mode can be activated which gives the player a dedicated health and armor bar, harkening back to the original game.
It is not hard to see the Call Of Duty influence in GoldenEye. Everything from sprinting, to reloading animations, to enemy behavior, to even level design and mission structure all have a resemblance to Activision’s other popular FPS. But mixing the knowledge gained from the CoD series with the nostalgic N64 classic has resulted in one of the best, if not THE best, FPS on Wii.
Multiplayer is also built in the shadow of CoD. Either split screen or online, up to eight players can compete in a few different multiplayer modes with a decent variety of maps. Most actions during a multiplayer session reward the player with experience points which are then used for upgrades like different weapons and loadouts. While this might sound like a great way to keep players coming back, it throws off the balance of the game. A Level 1 player can easily get into matchmaking against players that are Level 20. These Level 20 players not only have all the maps memorized, but they also have more powerful weapons to pick on n00bs. It is a system that continually rewards the most dedicated and experienced players while suppressing newcomers. Like the other CoD multiplayer games, it sounds fun on paper but ultimately suffers from unbalanced gameplay. Props, however, must be given as the developers have done away with tedious Friend Codes and make it quick and easy to get into an online game. Sure, there is some noticeable lag when playing online with multiple players, but it actually holds surprisingly well especially for a Wii game. The biggest downside to online multiplayer is the lack of voice chat; WiiSpeak and the new Wii headset are not compatible. At the same time, multiplayer level designs are on smaller sized maps so coordinating advanced SWAT tactics probably isn’t necessary for the average gamer.
Graphically, the game is pretty detailed especially considering this is on Wii. Motion captured movement means that each enemy will move realistically instead of with the usual robotic charm while environment and level design show enough variety keep the game from becoming too repetitive. However, the one graphical element that I am not sure that I believe in is the reloading screen blur effect. Each time a weapon is reloaded, the screen slightly blurs to put emphasis on the reloading animation as opposed to the enemies and environment in the distance. It is an interesting effect and is a slight wonder as to why the developers included this subtle feature, but reloading can start to cause a headache a few levels into the quest.
GoldenEye Wii is nowhere near a straight port of the N64 classic and it is not supposed to be. Instead, players are treated with a classic experience but told through fresh eyes; the experience is impressive. The implementation of modern day gameplay elements works extremely well in this Wii exclusive.
Not As Memorable As: playing split screen multiplayer with a group of friends until the wee hours of the morning on N64
Also Try: James Bond 007 on original GameBoy or Perfect Dark (XBLA)
Wait For It: Conduit 2
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