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GoldenEye 007 Wii Review

02/12/2010 Thinking Tired Gamer Review
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GoldenEye 007 Nintendo Wii

GoldenEye 007

Nintendo Wii



Further reading:
Perfect Dark

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Other GamePeople columnists have reviewed this from their perspective - huh?:
Story Gamer (Wii)
Family Gamer (Wii)
Scripted Gamer (Wii)
Reporting Gamer (Wii)
Family Gamer (DS)

right, before i get on to sharing my thoughts about the experience of playing GoldenEye 007 Wii, there are just a few things i would like to say about the concept:

firstly, reviewers have been tripping over themselves to emphasise that although it 'borrows' the name of one of the most popular games of all time, and one of the few hardcore-type games to ever truly shine on a Nintendo playform, this is not a remake, but a totally new imagining of the Goldeneye story that thoroughly competes and deserves to be assessed on its own merits. OK, sorry, a totally new imagining? exactly how much imagination does it require to make a game and call it after an old game that everyone loves?

regardless of what the game is actually like, we can't just ignore the fact that we are clearly being played for fools by a marketing strategy that revolves around cashing in on the status of a game that came out 13 years ago, regardless of what reviewers keen to swallow the PR party line have to say about it. there is no getting around it, GoldenEye 007 Wii is, in essence, pointlessly piggybacking off past successes, and the less like the original game it is, the more that becomes true.

the elephant in the room with all the reviews i've read so far, however, is the question 'why not just use a bit more imagination, make the story slightly more different and call it by a more original name?'

of course, the answer is that the Wii has taken Nintendo in a very specific direction away from hardcore gaming (and mostly towards pleasing gimmicks), and the idea of floating a new 007 title which has things to offer a hardcore audience, as well as the more casual crop that the Wii usually feeds, obviously just didn't do it for the money men. the solution, then, is to invoke the spirit of days gone by, back when it was actually conceivable for the best FPS bar-none to be a Nintendo-only title.

sorry to rant on like that, but i just can't easily get around how cynical it all is. it's this kind of stuff that really make me tired.

i guess the logic went something like this: fans of the original will buy it because by now they're middle-aged and fat, with too much time and money and will do anything to relive the days when they had friends who came round, and kids will buy it because it's 'retro' and their chance to buy-in to the myth of the great video games of yore (like playing Alex The Kid In Miracle World on an iPhone emulator).

sorry to rant on like that, but i just can't easily get around how cynical it all is. it's this kind of stuff that really make me tired.

anyway, here we have it, the game of an old film that's really not of the film (or the old game of the film) but is, in fact, something totally new (except the title, key elements of the storyline and much of the dressing). Daniel Craig is Bond now, and he doesn't need a bungee cord to jump off that dam (ps. remember when bungee jumping was cool and not something that 'outdoor, Berghaus type' couples did in New Zealand?).

despite all the nervy cynicism, the reality is that the new Goldeneye is a really good game. it's stylish, engaging, well thought-out and implemented with no lack of panache.

things i liked:

> the missions are varied and well balanced
> it rewards/requires stealth as well as brute firepower (think Splinter Cell)
> the environments look/feel good and benefit from nice touches like destructible objects
> it's expertly paced and palpably made with a 'light touch'
> the animation, acting, script and plot are all excellent
> level design and construction is strong
> it's menus and packaging in general are very slick
> the controls are really well integrated (I love the 'peepout' done with the Nun-chuck)
> the online modes are undauntingly straightforward and excellent fun

however, despite eventually being impressed by the controls, i initially found them thoroughly awkward. at the outset, i experienced a huge discrepancy between the smooth, solid movement you get from the Nun-chuck and the super sensitive, dizzyingly loose look mechanic controlled by the Wii-mote. within the first few minutes of play i was actually feeling nauseous and had to dive into the seemingly endless options menus to find ways of balancing things out. once this had been done, however, i got genuinely excited by how well it handled.

the thing that Perfect Dark got so right stemmed from the brilliant offline multiplayer experience

while things look fairly good (remembering this is the Wii) most of the time, there are some framerate issues and chop that rear up, especially during intense fight sequences, and online play suffers from a generally sluggish feel. while the motion capture work is fairly tight, it should be noted that Daniel Craig has something of a flat, square face which lends itself well to minimal expression.

also, right, what gives with the whole hide for a bit and your health comes back thing? it makes sense in the narrative world of Halo, but how exactly does it happen with JB, who, despite all the booze and muscles and sexual predation, is just a man? my advice is get good really quickly and then play on the top level where you need to find shields -- much better.

it's widely held that the original was a great game (although just how well it actually stands up now is an interesting question). however, for my money, it was totally eclipsed a couple of years later by Rare's follow-up Perfect Dark. the thing that Perfect Dark got so right stemmed from the brilliant offline multiplayer experience which itself flowed out of a really robust AI and a brilliant system of bots which could be added to any multiplayer game and whose performance could be really closely tailored to what was required. while by today's standard it's refreshing to see any offline multiplayer at all, ironically, the split screen action on GoldenEye 007 Wii would be enhanced ten fold if Activision had followed more closely in Rare's footsteps.

it is a really great game and bodes well for a slide back towards the mainstream for Nintendo.

questions remain about the potential for accurate gun-work with both Kinect and Move, and as such GoldenEye 007 arrives at a really interesting time. the Wii has needed to diversify for a long while, and it might be that it is actually the limitations of its competitors' new motion addons that give it the space to shine, and to move half a step into the hardcore camp.

GoldenEye 007 won't become the greatest shooter of its generation, the gaming landscape has just shifted too much for that and the Wii has too many hardware limitations, but it is a really great game and bodes well for a slide back towards the mainstream for Nintendo, and possibly the end of its recent mantra of Mario and WiiSports plus gimmicks.

one thing that struck me fairly convincingly was how much more i enjoyed it than 007 Blood Stone on the 360 (starring Joss 'Blood From A' Stone), which despite looking better and playing more smoothly, had little to none of the subtlety, art or gameplay finesse which is wrapped up in here.

oh, and Baron Samedi is in it, which is awesome.

[if you'd like to see more of the weird and wonderful world of reallyquitetired then the door is always open at his semi-detached house/blog]

Written by reallyquitetired

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reallyquitetired writes the Tired Gamer column.

"hello. I'm reallyquitetired -- recently described by Depressive Monthly magazine, in a probing centre-page feature, as 'Academic, DJ, blogger (with a penchant for odd humour, non-standard uses of language, frank reviews, utilizing fallacious quotations and recommending music to wash to) and Major Depressive Disorder sufferer extraordinaire.'"

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