GoldenEye 007 is easily one of the most requested game sequels of all time, and Nintendo announced as part of its E3 2010 press conference that in partnership with Activision and Eurocom, it would bring back the classic first-person shooter based on the Bond license. We got our first taste to see if the time between martinis has been kind to this much-loved franchise.
In typical spy style, our single-player demo opened with a video mission briefing directly from MI6. Dame Judi Dench reprises the role of M, lending her voice and steering us through the objective at hand: the destruction of a weapon cache being held at a Russian Federation stronghold. This is a reimagining of the original Nintendo 64 game, and as a result, Pierce Brosnan has been given the flick in favor of a more modern Bond in Daniel Craig.
We join the action (complete with classic camera pans) with Bond and Agent 006 slowly descending the steep slopes of a hillside on the outskirts of the compound. Gray, uninviting weather and bland surroundings signify that we are indeed in Russia as intended. Our guide explains that this GoldenEye game will cater to both shooter and stealth fans by offering branching paths and sections that can be handled as per the player’s play preference. Scoping out a pack of nearby soldiers, we move forward slowly, splitting from our teammate to secure a nearby lookout post. We peer through a window, eyeballing enemy positions before ducking back behind cover. A single silenced shot makes short work of the first target, and we slither silently into the building to strangle the dead soldier’s buddy as he stands alone and unawares.
A roaming patrol descends on our position oblivious to our presence. The first shot kills one and startles the remainder of the group, alerting them to our location, and they open fire with gusto. Destructible environments are a blessing and a curse, providing realistic-looking structures that crumble as they take damage but also making it necessary to keep moving, lest you take a bullet to the face as your protection disintegrates around you.
With the group defeated, we assume the role of the deceased soldiers and commandeer a nearby truck. Our overarticulated English accents are poorly concealed as we attempt to bluff our way through a security checkpoint. Things go south and necessitate a little more force than finesse when several trucks loaded with heavily armed troops attempt to stop us.
Once we are safely inside the complex, we dispatch a small group of guards as they endeavor to activate an alarm. Our guide informs us that had they successfully called in backup, we’d be looking down the barrel (both figuratively and literally) of a large-scale corridor shoot-out. Our demo of the single-player portion of GoldenEye comes to a close as we click a few happy snaps of sensitive documents pertaining to the location of the weapon cache.
We were eager to try the action for ourselves, so we picked up the controller to take part in a four-player split-screen match. GoldenEye will offer the classic same-console multiplayer experience of its predecessor as well as new online play. The latter will include comprehensive leaderboard support and will rely on peer-hosted matches rather than dedicated servers. A veritable smorgasbord of multiplayer modes will ship in the box, rebooting classics like paintball, deathmatch, team deathmatch, and Golden Gun, as well as introducing new, as-yet-unannounced, offerings.
Only free-for-all deathmatch was available during our session, but we did have a chance to experience some of the extensive character customization present. You will be able to play as classic Bond villains, including Jaws, Scaramanga, and Oddjob, the latter equipped with his trademark hat, which he throws at targets in place of a melee strike. Wii Remote and Nunchuk play and Classic Controller Pro will both be supported, and we found the dual-stick option to make for responsive and accurate shooting.
Our time with GoldenEye left us feeling a sense of freshness and familiarity. The choice to deviate slightly from the main story of the original game while still maintaining many of the fan-favorite features means it has potential to appeal to two very different audiences: those who were around when the first game was released and a new generation of Bond fans. The game will be released exclusively on the Nintendo platform when it launches at the end of this year.
Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage from E3 2010.