The original GoldenEye for the N64 is considered by many to be one of the greatest FPS games of all time. Revisiting the title now may give a different impression, since time and technology have vastly changed our perception of what a quality game should be, but taking into account everything that GoldenEye brought to consoles most definitely marks a grand change for the FPS genre. Split-screen gaming, headshots, expansive maps and various character models to play as all made the N64 a prime place to go for parties and get-togethers. It was a staple for every household that owned the system, and set the bar high for shooters of that era. That being said, the new GoldenEye title has a lot to live up to in just about every department. It's a tall order trying to live up to the expectations of a game that's years old, but still infamous for its phenomenal development. So does the new GoldenEye live up to its predecessor's legacy?
That depends on how much detail you happen to remember from the first game, and how much of a 'purist' you happen to be when it comes to game remakes. The story of GoldenEye is mostly intact, though shifted slightly for a more modern time, and likewise the levels are all still there in some form. From the dam sequence to the tank chase, just about everything from the first title is intact visually, which should leave fans with quite a large amount of nostalgia if they happened to memorize every single route.
Not because every single route still exists though, but rather because each level is still there in some form or another. Instead of just slapping a fresh coat of paint over the old game, developer Eurocom have taken each older level and instead modernized their layout. Those fans of the first title may remember when multiplayer levels were the exact same ones played through the single-player, instead each level has been modernized to give a more linear progression. The result is a game with a little less freedom and a little more focus on the storytelling. In some ways this change is naturally endearing to anyone who appreciates a good Bond story, but on the same level it feels like just about every other FPS out there on the market now.
Another problem with GoldenEye are the controls, which are can be a little clunky depending on what kind of controller you're using for the game. For example, any sensor based controllers may be a little easier for players to manage accuracy wise since players are simply pointing at the screen. Regular controllers feel like they've been left with fewer options when it comes to overall sensitivity, which may pose a problem for those naturally uncomfortable with one or another.
Multiplayer is naturally the most memorable part of the first title, and as such this new version of GoldenEye attempts to do everything possibly to make sure the multiplayer solid. On some levels they succeed in capturing that old nostalgia perfectly, with game modes that feature classic Bond villains, Big Head, and the classic Golden Gun. It's certainly fun to romp around for a few evenings with friends, and relive a bit of the magic that was split-screen gaming. However in the long run, it feels like you'll only play this for a few evenings before it outlives its worth.
It's hard to place exactly what's wrong with the multiplayer, perhaps 'casual' interactions in FPS titles have simply moved into a new era.
Much like the single player experience, the multiplayer does a fantastic job reviving the original fun, without completely copying old levels over and tossing a fresh coat of paint on them. And again, much like single player, there's a strong feeling of familiarity which crosses over into the multiplayer features that very few games have ever been able to bring to the table. One can't help but feel that, in trying to stay so pure to the original game, Eurocom missed an opportunity to bring this classic title thoroughly into the modern era. Reviving classic options is certainly fun, but as a result it feels like absolutely nothing new has been brought to the table. This sentiment echoes throughout all aspects of the game too, with new age cutscenes and cinematic sequences that feel so different from the very slow-paced style of FPS that's been revived here.
On a much brighter note GoldenEye is one of the best looking games on the Wii to date, which is impressive considering most titles on the platform are not nearly as realistic looking. Character models look quite detailed which actually makes multiplayer much more fun to partake in, particularly when shooting as/against the villains of Bond's career. Sound wise things take a bit of a dive as weapons/explosions are a little underwhelming while the soundtrack itself is ripped straight from a 007 film (in a good way).
So the new GoldenEye is by no means a bad game, in fact it's one of the best Wii first-person shooter titles out there. It offers a stellar multiplayer experience where many other titles fall short. GoldenEye's downfall is a rather disappointing one because it revolves around the developers trying to genuinely recreate a classic experience that has been long left behind by the rest of the industry. Playing through the single player mode is certainly enjoyable once, and multiplayer definitely has its perks, however once the general nostalgia wears off it's hard to remember why the developer would go back to try and recreate a classic rather than bring it into an entirely new direction. Either way, GoldenEye still presents a great opportunity for a younger generation of gamers to take a look at what classic gaming was (more or less) like, while at the same time letting the older generation take part in a classic game successfully re-imagined.