Review by Archmonk Iga
"Bond is blonder, Oddjob is taller... but for all its tweaks, big and small, this remake is fun as can be."
I remember that when I was little, most of my sleepovers at my best friend's house were spent playing either Mario Kart 64 or GoldenEye 64. And while the many sequels to Nintendo's amazing kart racing games come and go with every new system, hearing about a remake for the revolutionary console shooter was quite a surprise. Suffice it to say, many Wii owners were pretty excited. And while GE Wii is actually very different than the 1997 hit, it still has that same potential to get people hooked, both with its campaign and multiplayer.
Something funny about my views on James Bond is that, um, I don't think the movies are that good. Sure, the action is neat and Bond's amazing ability to always come out on top is cool, but they all end up feeling pointless for me because I always know what's gonna happen.
On the other hand, I always like the games more because the stories count on the player for anything to happen. In GE on the Wii, the story is altered, both from the original movie and the N64 game. Characters and little happenings are different, though all the major plot points are similar. You start in the facility, with an ally being shot seconds before you decide to blow the joint up. Afterwards, you'll be walking around a busy nightclub, avoiding crossfire between the Russians and um someone else, and quite a few crazy new things that make the story work just as well as the old version. It also has a more modern feel to it because of the higher technological prowess seen throughout the game.
Daniel Craig has replaced Pierce Brosnan, and many other characters return or are introduced as you get closer to your goal. They all enhance the experience in their own crazy ways, though like any Bond story, their quirks are nothing more than that. There isn't much of a connection between you and the characters, or even among the characters themselves. And though I said I like how the games play out more than the movies, they are still Bond missions and therefore are a bit concrete and set in their ways. Not much of a unique or revolutionary story here, folks. It's Bond. James Bond. You know the drill.
There are some incredible sights to behold throughout GE. The guns and characters look great, and their facial expressions are especially realistic. Though Natalya's work clothes are um a lot less than what most scientists wear to their nine-to-fives. Maybe it's different in Russia?
What's really amazing to look at are the locales. The heavy blizzard in the outpost, the neon purples and golds throughout the nightclub, even the gritty industrial site all look about as good as it gets on the Wii. On top of that, explosions and bullets damaging the walls and windows push the visuals that much further. Occasional lags and jags will rise up now and then, but for the most part the game runs smoothly.
Daniel Craig and Judi Dench give us some solid voicework in GE, as do the rest of the cast. Natalya's accent seems a little forced, but at least it provides for some laughs during the part where you need to protect her (I'm HAUGHRRRT!!)
Music is similarly solid, bringing back a couple tunes from the N64 and movie but changing them around a little bit. The original tracks are grand and loud, and are therefore fitting. GE's sound effects are also impressive. Footsteps of oncoming foes get louder as they get closer and gunfire sounds quite lifelike.
If you have played The Conduit or any other FPS on the Wii, the basic controls for GE will be similar. You can also play the game with a Gamecube controller or the Classic Controller. Having so many control options really helps GE appeal to all FPS fans, no matter their console of choice. But in my opinion, if you're gonna play the Wii, you might as well take advantage of its awesome controller! Aiming with a right thumbstick just doesn't cut it for me these days. Wii Remote all the way.
Aiming with the remote, shooting with B and moving with the nunchuck, GE tries to let Bond either bust up the place in an uproar or sneak by quietly. Having a silencer sure helps if you're trying to be stealthy, but it still becomes a bit of a joke pretty quickly to try and sneak past everyone. You WILL get caught almost all the time, which means you might as well just shoot your way through levels in the first place. That's not easy either, especially since the AI is actually somewhat decent not perfect, but decent and they tend to come in hoards. The later levels are especially challenging, forcing many restarts. Even on the easiest mode, GE will be a tough game for everyone. It makes me pretty happy to play a legitimately difficult FPS campaign mode, in a world where FPS campaigns seem to just be plopped in all the time.
While doing the whole shooting everyone thing, there is a lot of strategy that you can take into account. Taking cover provides some protection, but only for a little while because it will likely be blown apart by the enemies' gunfire in seconds. Crouching increases your aim but you move slower. The same goes for the GE-exclusive Aiming Down Sights, or ADS, which is basically a zoom-in auto-aim feature. It's not really a new feature in FPSs, but it definitely helps out. You can also throw grenades with the + button, which is much more favorable than shaking the remote in The Conduit. If you shake the nunchuck, you will do a powerful melee attack. The guns spread throughout GE are many, and they all have their benefits (or lack thereof).
Campaign mode also grants you some other cool little additions. Alternate paths are said to be available to advance, though at times they're not very obvious. There are also some quick-time events, though they are all pretty silly and pointless. A lot of the time you don't even need to be quick to get the GTEs done. There's a reason they have the word quick in the name. Even sillier is Bond's cell phone, which is used to take pictures and hack computers. The controls with the phone are strangely sluggish compared to the guns, and well, using the phone just ain't that fun. It's not enough to ruin the pacing, but I'm sure I wouldn't have found myself saying dang, I really wish I could use a cellphone in this game if it wasn't in it.
The online in GE is about as good as it gets on a Wii FPS. Take that as you will, but trust me when I say it's worth it. Sure there are tons of problems with it. You can't create your own character or even choose a character. The loading times in between matches are sometimes unbearable. The friend codes are pain, as usual. WiiSpeak and keyboard communication is not supported. Heroes mode is a bit of a broken mess now and then. There is no wiggle room in terms of customizing matches to your liking. Worst of all, however, is the hosting. The host's name appears at the top of the player list. If the host quits, the game is over. So that means, if you are in first place and have 1500 experience gained from this match, the host could quit with a minute left, the match would abruptly be over and you would lose both your prideful victory AND all that experience you fought so hard to gain. I don't know what they were thinking when they decided to go with that hosting thing, because NOTHING good has come of it. Word of advice: if you are a host (meaning, if your name is at the TOP of the player list in a match), PLEASE do not quit until a match is over. It makes everyone like and respect you and makes the experience much smoother. That all being said, it is easy to argue how behind the times GE is in terms of online shooters.
But despite my negative nancy news on the online, it really is the most online fun you'll have with a Wii FPS. Once a match is on, it runs very smoothly even with the full capacity of eight players, and lag is pretty rare in most cases. And you will always find a match to play in since the online community with GE is actually very strong. Not to mention that the GoldenEye board here on GFAQs is full of great players who are always willing to trade friend codes and play with you. The maps are mostly great, even though you might get sick of the popular ones because they are picked by voting. The different online modes are amazing though. Golden Gun is a favorite especially for newcomers, and Black Box is about as exciting as it gets. Though I must say, my heart is always in the basic Conflict and Team Conflict. There are some unlockable modes too, though you will really have to work hard to get them (maybe I'll update this review and the score will be completely different once I finally unlock them all and try them out? lol).
To keep you coming back online, you gain experience through kills, weapon use, bonuses, and victories. Gaining levels takes FOREVER, but I guess that's legit because it keeps you coming back. As you get higher, you will unlock more and more stuff, like guns and gadgets, to make yourself pwn the noobs that much more.
And if online isn't to your liking, you can't forget the awesome split-screen mode for when you have friends over. With all the different customization you can do with the local multiplayer, there are some really great times to be had. It also brings in a certain nostalgia when you play this game with friends.
So while there are a couple of questionable choices that were made in the campaign mode, it's still very fun and challenging. The online for all its faults, of which there are many is also a blast. Pair all that with the wide appeal of the various control options, and you have some seriously impressive FPS gameplay with GE.
The campaign is actually quite long more proof of how seriously the creators took this game with around ten hours for many players. The online is still bringing me back almost daily, too, despite the frustrations it causes. The experience system and great online community is what really seals the deal for that. This game is a definite buy for anyone with online. If you don't have your Wii connected, GE is a good reason to get it that way. If you can't, then a rental is probably recommended unless you have lots of friends to play with locally. It can take you hundreds of hours to get that final unlockable, so there's some incentive right there. Unlike any CoD title, which will last most a just year because of its annual recycling campaign (AKA releasing a Madden-esque sequel every damn year), us GE players aren't so sure we'll be getting another one for quite awhile. This game should be enough.
LASTING APPEAL: 9/10
A fun campaign, some great online, and an overall amazing audiovisual experience make GoldenEye 007 for the Wii a must-have for any FPS fan. It may not be as bestselling as CoD, but for many it is far superior in terms of fun factor. So go ahead and save the world and then go online and kick some rear from all across it. And if you see Goon2aGoblin in your room, then yours truly will be doing it alongside (or against) you!
Thanks for reading =)
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/06/10
Game Release: GoldenEye 007 (US, 11/02/10)
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