Review by Theisbanc

"Call of Duty is a pretty fun game"

When I first heard they were remaking Goldeneye for the Wii, I was not optimistic at all. While I loved the Nintendo 64 game and naively wished the game could make it onto the Wii's Virtual Console, I knew that was nearly impossible due to the convoluted license ownerships regarding the game. A few years ago, when Goldeneye: Rogue Agent was released, I had looked forward to that game being a remake of Goldeneye, and we all know how that turned out. When this game was announced, I anticipated a similar outcome. I was pleasantly surprised.

Its gameplay reminds me very much of Call of Duty, though without the war theme. This is not surprising since Call of Duty is one of the most popular first-person shooting franchises of this time and Activision, who publishes the Call of Duty series, published this game. The single-player campaign even begins with a target-shooting training sequence very reminiscent of the beginning of Call of Duty 4. A great deal of the single-player campaign consists of following the gray dot. Annoyingly, the gray dot sometimes directs you toward an impenetrable concrete wall so you sometimes have to go in the complete opposite direction to reach the gray dot. But I suppose they can't make the game too easy for us.

A lot of the single-player levels, while based on the Nintendo 64 game's levels, are quite different. It's not trying to be the kind of remake that simply recreates levels with modern graphics – it's a whole new game with brand new levels, just with a similar plot outline to the original game and it tries to hit nostalgic spots with certain parts of levels (the beginning of the dam level, the bathroom sequence in Facility). So if you wanted a recreation of the original Goldeneye with modern graphics, this game is not for you. But if you were afraid of getting this game because you already had Goldeneye and didn't want to buy a game exactly like it, fear not.

While the default version of the single-player campaign feels a lot more like “Call of Duty: Goldeneye” than Goldeneye 64, I did notice that the developers made the highest difficulty, “007 Classic,” a lot more reminiscent of the Nintendo 64 game. Unlike the first three difficulty levels, which have the Call of Duty-esque regenerating health, the fourth difficulty level features the classic health and armor bars (they even look like they did in the original) and body armor pick-ups. Another plus in the difficulty modes that's a throw-back to the original is that in the higher difficulty modes (Agent and up), not only are the enemies tougher but additional objectives are added as well.
Numerical Rating: 9

The multiplayer is a major reason why the original game was so popular. How does this game's multiplayer measure up? In short, it's very much like Call of Duty. However, they do have splitscreen and online, albeit no computer opponents you can play against offline. And you cannot play splitscreen online. They have the standard gameplay modes (FFA, team deathmatch, a Battlefield 2-esque type of game) and some nostalgic gameplay modes (e.g. golden gun, You Only Live Twice,). There is no Capture the Flag mode, in case that's your cup of tea. Note that some of those modes can only be played offline while others can only be played online (you might want to look at a FAQ for details on that if interested). When playing online, you play as a randomly chosen character with a map voted on between 2 randomly chosen ones. In the splitscreen mode, you can choose your character, however. One plus about the offline multiplayer is that there's a number of “modifiers” that are hearkening back to the “cheats” in the original Goldeneye game. Paintball mode is an example of one featured here.

What makes the game's multiplayer like Call of Duty is not the game modes but how the game is played. Gone are the days of having a certain weapon set on the map and trying to pick up the best weapon. In this game, you start off with certain weapons you choose that you always spawn with, which include one primary weapon, one pistol, and some grenades. This system was used in the previous Bond game, Quantum of Solace.

Another aspect of the multiplayer, one that has been critiqued by others, is the experience system. For some reason they try to make the game like an RPG, with leveling up and whatnot. This can potentially pose a problem with online play since newbies just starting off at level 1 wouldn't fare too well against a level 30, let alone when the level 30 has superior weaponry and power-ups. However, I suppose the newbies could use the auto-aiming featured in the online multiplayer (that cannot be turned off) to their advantage. But this is a weird scheme and the game might have benefited without all that.
Numerical Rating: 8

One extremely positive aspect of the game is the variety of options regarding the controls. You are not confined to using the Wii/nunchuk control scheme. You can also use the classic controller, and you can also use the GameCube controller. At the moment of its release, this game appears to be the only first-person shooter that allows you to use the Nintendo GameCube controller. If you're into that kind of thing, this should be a definite buy for you. While you cannot completely map out the controls, there's a number of preset choices and you can also adjust settings like the sensitivity.
Numerical Rating: 10

The graphics of the game, like most current generation video games, look quite realistic. James Bond looks like Daniel Craig, the characters look human-like, and the environment is designed visually well. Some faults in the graphics are that some sections are too dark, making it incredibly difficulty to maneuver yourself through. Some night vision goggles would have helped or they could have just lowered the contrast (even if the TV and the game were set to the maximum brightness, some areas still look pitch black, which should not be).

One little quirk in the graphics that should be noted is that when you reload your firearm or apply a silencer, the screen focuses in on your weapon, making everything else blurry. This can get a bit annoying. You are already disadvantaged when reloading because you cannot shoot and now you are partially blinded as well. I suppose that does add some realism to the game, but do we really want realism in a remake of Goldeneye? Did the original fun in Goldeneye derive from its realism? Maybe partly, but I'd like to think that most of the fun came from other aspects.
Numerical Rating: 9

other aspects
The music of the game sounds very Bond-like and the sound effects sound very weapon-like, with the voice actors doing a job that I had no problem with. I'm not sure if they got the actual actors to do the voices of the characters, but I do not think that matters very much. The story of the game follows the general outline of the Goldeneye movie, though with a different look and a more modern setting. It is told in a manner similar to the recent installments of the Call of Duty series just before you go into the level (also like Quantum of Solace) with additional story told while in the perspective of Bond. There are occasional instances where you have to press a particular button or shake a particular controller in these parts.
Numerical Rating: 10

Overall, the game fulfills its purpose of remaking Goldeneye with modern gaming technology. And not only this, but they did it well. While they may have made the game a bit similar to Call of Duty, it's not like the Call of Duty series is generally considered bad. Because of all this, despite its faults, I shall give the game 10/10. This is really what I had hoped Rogue Agent would be. While it is a brand new game, it still inputs enough nostalgia to remind you of the old game. It's a game unique to the Wii and even if you prefer dual-stick controls over motion controls, there are options available to you.

If you like first-person shooters, first-person shooters on the Wii, first-person shooters not on the Wii, Call of Duty, and/or James Bond, I would say that this game would be a pretty good buy for you.

If you dislike games like Call of Duty, this game is probably not for you.

If you desire a game that recreates the feeling of Goldeneye 64's multiplayer, go play TimeSplitters 2. You could give this game a rent if you want.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/03/11

Game Release: GoldenEye 007 (US, 11/02/10)

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