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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Game Play: GoldenEye 007 (Wii)

The original GoldenEye on the Nintendo 64 was such a high watermark that it still pales over console shooters today. The game's level design, pacing, weapon selection and multiplayer modes still impact designs today, but perhaps most importantly was the game's ability to tell a story despite the constraints of the cartridge based format. Gamers who played the game will still remember scenes where they dropped in on guards, protected Natalya from swarms of soldiers, and stormed after Trevelyan ... a far cry from the "find the red key" norm from shooters of the day.

Eurocom was responsible for The World Is Not Enough also on the the N64, one of the few games not done by Rare or ex-Rare developers which clearly had learned from the earlier game. So if any company other than Rare could take the original classic and update it for the Wii, it would probably have been them.

GoldenEye on the Wii follows the same basic skeleton of the original game while adding in-game cinematics, more expansive and detailed levels, more modern weapon selections and online multiplayer. The port is carefully done, with an emphasis on the elements from the original and maintaining new versions of scenes fans will remember while making sure the game doesn't feel out of date for the Call of Duty crowd as well. The result is possibly one of the best shooters on the platforms which can take advantage of modern design while making sure fans of the original can keep their nostalgia safe and secure. It is quite probably the best the Wii gamers could have asked to have.

The online mode is decent by most standards, but top notch for a Wii game ... the platform still struggles for a definitive online experience. I'm not sure I'm a fan of it having experience levels considering how much fun the original was to play with proximity mines and other gadgets out of the box, but again the online manages to capture much of the same pacing and fun of the original. Technically my only complaint with it is that the spawning logic on some of the game modes seems off ... hard to build up a solid defense when you're getting placed far away from your goal. Still, the only real problem is that aren't enough people playing it.

I hate to say it, but I would love to see a Sony Move version of the same game with updated graphics and PSN support. Games like GoldenEye and Red Steel 2 shows that good games are still quite worth playing on the Wii, but the console still shows a serious technical divide when you compare it to the other platforms.

Highly recommend however.

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