It's the Blonde Bond argument all over again.
I don't think there's any doubt that one of the best four-player games of all time is GoldenEye 007 for N64. It had just about everything you could want in an early shooter: tight controls, a plethora of weapons, plenty of maps to play, and even the one-kit-kill legendary Golden Gun (and, hidden deeper, a Golden PP7 with multiple shots to take out an opponent). On top of that, it honestly felt like playing through the movie.
[image1]This incarnation is a little bit different. Bond is no longer a generic figure in a suit; now he looks like (and is voiced by) Daniel Craig, the latest actor to play the greatest spy in the world. Combined with M, played by his film counterpart Dame Judi Dench, and there is some serious acting chops behind the pixilated faces. The world is different, with Bond wielding a smart phone to hack door locks or turret controllers and going to parties in Dubai, but the fate of the world still remains on stopping the jerks responsible from stealing the keys to the GoldenEye satellite.
The campaign is fairly short, but if you've played through the original, then you know just what to expect. There are plenty of levels to work through, each one filled with ambiance, but some of the designs and a very linear playthrough can lead to some frustrating situations when you can be overcome by a flood of gunfire and not see anyone nearby. Some areas are either very dark or just packed with dark, shadowed areas, making it difficult to detect any movement from the guy chucking grenades at you.
And, if you've played through CoD4, then you know the style it steals mimics. The presentation wants to look next-gen, so it's packed with set-up descriptions in similar fashion. Surprisingly the game looks nearly next-gen… it's one of the prettiest things I've seen on the Wii yet. A lot of work was put into making it look like an A-list shooter, and it has that in common with the original.
[image2]But the point of a campaign mode is usually to make a player better at multiplayer, and that's a highlight here. If you're looking for the classic experience you might remember from your youth, you'll find shades of it enhanced with new-school shooter traits like being able to looking down the barrel to enhance your aim.
Still, gone are the days of picking up anything on the map; except for the Golden Gun, you can easily go multiple rounds without picking up anything. No weapon upgrades, no special treatment for stumbling into that secret stash of body armor and the Colt – just a watered-down version of Call of Duty. I don't say that as an insult necessarily, but it doesn't have anything that every other modern FPS hasn't done before (or done better). Still, it can lead to some fun multiplayer matches and fighting over the precious Golden Gun… mostly because you can't switch to any other weapon when it's grabbed and the reload time is juuuuuust irritating enough.
There are four multiplayer modes to choose from: Conflict, Team Conflict, Golden Gun, and You Only Live Twice. All four are pretty standard deathmatch modes, the only differences being with GG and YOLT: The Golden Gun is a one-hit kill with infinite ammunition (but only one loaded bullet at a time), and YOLT has each player starting with a set number of lives. It would be nice to have some variety, like some kind of Capture the Flag or a last-longer-with-something (the Gun maybe?), but there is a pretty nice selection of levels to choose from. Some of them are taken from the campaign, so they're designed to be filled to the brim with AI and feel bigger than they need to be.
[image3]On the Wii, there seem to be two camps: people who love first-person shooters and people who don't want to hold their arms up as if they're holding a gun for extended periods of time because it hurts. I tend to sit in the latter camp, which is why I'm very glad that I could find my Gamecube controller to use because I can't stand the way the motion controls twitch. The view is already restricted to how far up and down you can look, and using the Wii-mote just pulls the view tighter. Sure, you can shoot a little further down maybe, but you can't actually see anything you might want to aim at.
This is not your older brother's GoldenEye. It's been updated, re-skinned, had some control adjustments, and instead of reclaiming the crown of top four-player shooter, it's just another face in the crowd. Back in the day, it really was the best multiplayer game around… now it just reminds you of how much fun you had playing with a three-pronged monstrosity of a controller. Those days are gone with the days of CoD and Battlefield taking the reigns, and GoldenEye a distant memory.