GoldenEye 007 (2010)
It’s almost criminal that this game isn’t mentioned more often among the GOATs of FPS shooters, particularly in the James Bond 007 franchise.
2010 brought about a buzz when Activision acquired the James Bond license and announced a reboot of one of the most influential console first person shooters ever made: Goldeneye.
Based on the movie and the 1997 game baring the same name, this title is an oddity that shares some characteristics with other video games which add to the movie canon, such as Ghostbusters: The Video Game or any number of Star Wars games which add to their universe.
In this iteration of Goldeneye, the settings are familiar but like the movie series, it has been completely retooled with its new Bond lead, Daniel Craig. For me, this is over the top and very ambitious – could Activision and developer Eurocom pull this off?
The answer is a resounding yes – so much so that I wish I had a higher rating on this site for a few games that stand out in a category all their own.
The first edition of Goldeneye 007 was released on the Nintendo Wii, and is thus the copy I reviewed here. There’s something off about the “remastered” versions that came out one year later for the PS3 and Xbox 360 – namely, even the first level is laid out a bit differently, and some of the voice acting parts seem to have been cut – leaving me less than impressed I stuck with the original.
We all know the Wii wasn’t an HD machine, but playing this in an emulated state greatly sharpens the graphics and there’s a “film grain” effect to the Wii edition that’s missing from the later “remastered HD” versions.
Plus, playing with a Wiimote and nunchuk is totally satisfying, to a degree, when it comes to the FPS genre. (It also gets annoying in firefights, so I opted to use the Gamecube controller later on, but the classic controller is also supported.)
2010’s Goldeneye recasts all of the actors, minus Judy Dench’s “M” (who has appeared in quite a few films). The settings and plot are all similar, albeit tweaked to match 2010 rather than 1995 when the original film was released.
What that means is that Bond is using a smartphone instead of his Dick Tracy style watch, and that the Goldeneye installation is now part of a solar array.
The tweaks are subtle, and as part of a reboot with Daniel Craig, it hits just right. If this were a movie, it would’ve been a blockbuster, and you get that sense every step of the way playing it.
All of the Bond gimmicks are here and then some.
The game is filled tons of fan service. I swear you’d think this was a Michael Bay production. From the start, you get the same overhead pan of a dam somewhere in, IDK, Serbia? I forget… not the point however, as it brings you back to the N64 days of Goldeneye with Pierce Brosnan. Yet, after you pass a security tower and a tunnel, the game starts to shine immediately with booms and bangs, and you get a sense for how much more polished every detail is.
Carried over from the original game are most of the levels, including the dam, the library, monument park, and a thrilling tank drive through town.
The computer AI is solid as a diverse cast of recurring enemy mercenaries floods the screen, finding cover, ducking and diving about.
Stealth is a huge component of this game, as a run-and-gun style will often get you killed on the spot. The big gimmick is holding the L trigger to zoom in while aiming, as the game eschews your typical “auto aim” feature to hone in while shooting. Your gun will often vibrate or move, realistically, making it harder to hit targets as well.
You can duck behind cover, and use this feature to pop up to shoot.
Other stealth items include shooting security cameras, hacking into drone guns, or simply waiting out entertaining conversations between soldiers – who will move on on their own without any other interaction needed on your behalf.
Beware, however, that one wrong misstep, such as shooting a soldier conversing with another, can bring an onslaught of armies headed your way!
There’s so much packed into the single player campaign that I didn’t even get a chance to review multiplayer unfortunately. Yet, that’s a testament to just how complete and satisfying of a game this is.
If you’re a fan of FPS games, 007, Daniel Craig… you know what. Just play the game.
It’s so darn good that I now wish I hadn’t put off finishing this one for so long – and would love to see this translated onto the big screen as a real Daniel Craig reboot too!