Goldeneye 007 Preview
Activision's planning a pretty big Bond night this fall. They'll be launching the remake of GoldenEye on the Wii - one with Daniel Craig's Bond in the lead role - along with an entirely new Bond story on the 360, PC, and PS3 called Blood Stone. Both games come out on the same day, but many gamers are looking to the Wii-exclusive GoldenEye as the bigger game, which right there is an interesting twist. It's easy to see why, though. In a multiplayer session, we got to check out the versus modes in GoldenEye and saw what is probably the most fun online-capable FPS on the Wii to date.
The biggest and most obvious thing is having up to four people all playing in a split-screen mode on the Wii, each using Classic Controllers to control a console FPS without the need for any Wiimote-waggling (although the Wiimote does remain a control option, along with GameCube controllers as well). But the graphics, while rudimentary in your little little quarter-size window on a 480p-powered console, still wind up being crisp and sharp.
You'll get the chance to play as a number of classic Bond characters in multiplayer, including the Daniel Craig-faced man himself as well as many of the classic villains like Jaws and Oddjob. Some of them have special abilities, the most notable of which is Oddjob's hat which can be thrown to take out people in an instant kill. It's not exactly like a throwing knife, though, and there's a significant delay between pressing the button to launch the hat and seeing it sail out of your hand. But it is a fun way to style on people, that's for sure!
The multiplayer modes will include standard DM and team DM, but there's also more modes like You Only Live Twice (with two lives per player in a round-based format) and Golden Gun (where only the person with the Golden Gun can get kills onto the scoreboard, and anyone can kill him to take it from him). There are a number of mutator-style modifiers you can add to a match, like paintball bullets that are still lethal, but they leave marks all over the walls, or a mode where people have to keep moving or they become liable to spontaneously explode.
To demonstrate just how fun GoldenEye's multiplayer is, I'll say that at the event in San Francisco we attended, the station with the single player mode was empty; the nearby stations with multiplayer action were hopping all night. While the single player does actually look interesting in a way that brings back the Nintendo 64 original but adds new surprises and new personalities, it's the multiplayer that many are looking forward to.
There are some interesting things going in, too, like online play for up to eight people in total, all without those ridiculous Wii friend codes if you don't want them. This is certainly not the first game with this more standard version of online play, but it might be the first third-party online title that starts getting played by masses of people on the Wii.
While GoldenEye isn't going to win any awards for visuals, it does have a very infectious fun-based dynamic, especially in multiplayer, that I think will be a hit this year. The only doubt I have is that many of the hardcore gamers that grew up playing games like GoldenEye have since moved on to the 360 and PS3; will they dust off their Wii consoles and shell out fifty bucks in order to get this future-retro Bond experience? I'm thinking yes, and I'm thinking that they'll be generally satisfied with the outcome.