We’ve been asking for it since the 90’s. We’ve waited and waited. We’ve reminisced about the original. And now, we finally have what we’ve been waiting for: a legitimate remake of the Nintendo 64 classic, GoldenEye 007. So was it worth the wait? Does it manage to stay faithful to the tone of the N64 experience? Yes and yes. In fact, this game may just be the best first-person-shooter on the Wii. The controls are excellent, the graphics are top-notch (for the Wii), and the GoldenEye feel is here.
The most notable change at the outset is the switch from Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig. We can argue all day about which actor leads the better experience, but the key here is that the change does not impact the game all that much. A half-hour in, you’ll forget there was a switch, and you’ll be immersed in the experience.
The best part of this experience is that Eurocom did not simply renovate the N64 game with a fresh coat of paint. There is a new story and new environments. The campaign is the perfect example. You’ll be roaming around in bunkers, tech-labs, silos, and woods, just as you did in the classic, but they all now appear modern and hip. The storyline has also been written from the ground up to include today’s relevant topics. I was at first a bit disappointed to miss out on a recreation of the old missions I knew so well, but the new material does not disappoint. The campaign clocks in at about 7-12 hours, depending on skill and difficulty level. This is a bit short by most standards, but there is enough content and rewarding gameplay to satisfy.
Thankfully, the campaign is not the end-all of GoldenEye on the Wii. To supplement, we’ve been given an excellent online multiplayer experience that, in my opinion, is the best online implementation to-date on the Wii. Granted, this statement does not carry as much weight as it would on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, but with the growing library of Wii games supporting online play, it is an accomplishment nonetheless. There is a ranking and experience system in place (as in seemingly all new games), which gives better and more active players “perks” and packages. As far as modes go, you have your free-for-all mode, team deathmatch mode, and then a few other modes that serve to keep the experience fresh. My experience, for the most part, was smooth and uninterrupted. I would estimate that 1 in 10 games I played had an issue, ranging from lag to dropped connections. This is annoying, but not a game-changer. There’s a lot of fun to be had here, and once you zip through the campaign, it will be all about the online play.
The controls don’t need much explaining if you’ve played any of the recent shooters on the Wii. One of the strong points here is the number of options you have. For the real men (and women), there is the nunchuck and remote setup in which the remote takes the place of a right thumbstick. This method takes some getting used to, but ultimately is very effective and rewarding if you give it a chance. For the less hardcore there is the standard controller setup. You will be able to plug in that handy classic controller and go to work – analog style. It works, and works well, but in my opinion you lose a lot of the depth in the experience that the remote brings. The controls do feel smooth and manageable, and the game plays very well.
Visually, GoldenEye looks very nice running on the Wii hardware. In fact, it is probably the best-looking Wii shooter we’ve had. In my run through the campaign, I experienced no noticeable drop in the framerate, even through high-action sequences. This is a big accomplishment, given the amount of activity on-screen at certain times. Even though characters do appear blocky and rigid at times, this ends up reminding you of the classic – which carries with it fond feelings. GoldenEye sounds fantastic as well. From the solid voice-acting to the believable weapons and sound effects, there is nothing to pull the player out of the experience, which is all that we can hope for.
So how does GoldenEye 007 on the Wii stack up to the N64 classic? Well, the short answer is that the two really can’t be compared. Will any experience ever match that of the original? Probably not. Does this game do a fantastic job of recreating the Bond universe in a new era? Absolutely. The campaign brings a modern and fresh feel to the experience, and the online play allows us to take the action we used to love across the airwaves. You’ll still be screaming at your opponents, but now they’ll be across the country instead of on the couch next to you – "screen watching." GoldenEye 007 is the best shooter on the Wii to-date, and I recommend it to any fan of the Bond genre and to shooter fans in general without hesitation.