GoldenEye on the N64 was brilliant. GoldenEye on the Wii is at times great, occasionally a bit ropey, but mostly quite alright. Following a game that, for many, is one of the best FPS experiences of all time was never going to be easy, but developer Eurocom has done its best to deliver a game that stands on its own two feet - all while carrying the odd nod to the game we know and love. Questions over the Wii's ability to house great first-person shooters still remain, while the CoD-like multiplayer can't quite capture what made the original such a hit.
GoldenEye 007 isn't a scene for scene remake of the exalted Rare game, instead basing itself on the movie while simultaneously bringing everything into the modern era. Pierce Brosnan is gone, replaced by Daniel Craig, and with him comes the brutal Bond we saw in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. There's also far less emphasis on gadgets this time around, with Bond much more adept with guns and his fists. Bond basically has to stop the bad guys, using a whole armoury of firepower, stealth and a smartphone.
While it's perfectly possible to play GoldenEye with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, this still doesn't feel as natural to me as a standard dual-analogue controller. What's on offer here is one of the best implementations of Wii Remote aiming I've played, but it still pales in comparison to the Classic Controller and GameCube pad, or better still the Classic Controller Pro. The standard Classic Controller's flaw is its odd shoulder buttons, and the GameCube pad forces you to press two buttons to melee due to only having two triggers. The Pro pad is the best of the bunch, essentially being as competent as a PS3 or 360 controller.
With control options out of the way it's time to discuss the game itself. It's a cheap way out, but the simple truth is that GoldenEye feels a lot like Modern Warfare - this is largely due to the snap-to iron sight aiming and the supply of high-tech guns. You can also shoot enemies through light cover and grenades show up as handy on-screen icons if they land near your feet. The pace is somewhat slower than the arcade-like quality of the CoD games, but this suits Bond well. Enemies come just as thick and fast and generally don't put up much of a fight.
Where the game doesn't mimic CoD is in its use of set-pieces during gameplay. There are some pretty neat moments during cutscenes, including the famous dam dive at the end of the opening level, but in-game action is predominantly shooting goons with the odd exploding truck thrown in. QTE sequences make an appearance, but are so sporadic that I failed them a handful of times due to being surprised that I had to press buttons.
In a throwback to Rare's FPS games of yesteryear it's also possible to fail missions even if you reach the end of the level. Miss out on snapping a blueprint and you'll get an objective failed message on completion, meaning you won't be able to continue on the difficulty the objective is associated with - so you can either go back to the start of the level or proceed on the next difficulty down. It's an odd system and one that will likely cause at least one annoying moment when you look at a disappointing level complete screen.
Multiplayer has always been one of GoldenEye's defining features, so it's good to see developer Eurocom has included plenty of options if you want to shoot friends, or enemies, in the face. The biggest throwback to the original game comes in the shape of four-player split-screen, complete with plenty of customisable options. It works surprisingly well, with a generally acceptable frame rate - although the already slightly rough visuals take a big hit and turn very, very blocky.
If you don't often get the chance to get three friends sat on the sofa with you, GoldenEye 007 also offers online multiplayer. I was expecting this to be yet another token gesture as seen in the majority of Wii games, but it's surprisingly solid and a lot of fun. There's a heavy CoD influence throughout, including on-screen XP popping up when you kill (or eliminate as the game calls it) enemies, a ranking system complete with unlockable perks - sorry, gadgets - and attachments such as the reflex sight. There are 10 game modes, too, covering team and solo play, customisable load-outs and multiplayer challenges.
It's time for the part of the review that details the visuals, in which I say that GoldenEye looks pretty smart... for a Wii game. It's true, compared to the majority of titles on Nintendo's console GoldenEye is quite the looker, but that doesn't mean it's pretty. There are some neat visual effects and the character models are decent, but the frame rate nosedives far too often and many of the environments look incredibly rough. Voice work and the soundtrack can't be faulted though, with suitably Bond-like music accompanying the action alongside Daniel Craig's gruff tones.
Strangely, what I didn't get too much of from this re-imagining is nostalgia. While many levels are similar to those featured in the N64 game, the changes made and the new character models make the end product feel quite dissimilar. Part of this is down to the lack of gadgets, with Daniel Craig's Bond only having a smart phone as a kind of Swiss Army Knife of the gadget world. That's what Bond is these days, but it's just not very GoldenEye.
But GoldenEye 007 is still a good game. It's a bit ropey in places, especially during multiplayer games, but the single-player campaign is simple fun and the online play is surprisingly entertaining and thorough. Eurocom's game isn't likely to make anywhere near the same impact as its almost sacred predecessor, but when judged against the rest of the Wii's FPS line-up Bond stands very near the top. Well worth a look, just don't expect to be overwhelmed with nostalgia.