While the status of the next James Bond movie remains thoroughly up in the air amid talk of an indefinite hiatus, the world of video games is another story entirely. Activision is working on not one but two James Bond titles for release this year. One of these is a name that you ought to be very familiar with whether you know anything about the upcoming game or not. That game, of course, is Goldeneye 007 for the Wii. Developed by Eurocom, this first-person shooter is described by Activision as a "reimagining" of the Nintendo 64 classic. We got our first look last month at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and with Comic-Con 2010 bringing the world's entertainment industry to San Diego, we recently had a chance to see a brief update to the multiplayer component.
Like its 1997 predecessor, Goldeneye 007 will feature a robust multiplayer mode that can be played either via local split-screen or--in an obvious departure from the original--online using this newfangled "Internet" business. A familiar cast of playable characters will reprise their roles from the first game, including both Oddjob (whose height has been tweaked somewhat to make him more of a target to gunfire) and Jaws. And aside from updated graphics, the general look and feel of the game seem pretty faithful to the original, along with the familiar blood running down the screen when you die and post-match accolades telling you how you did after the match.
Where the game seems to depart the most from its predecessor is in the control scheme. Whereas the appearance and feature set are quite inspired by the first game, the way you move around seems to take most of its cues from modern shooters. You can sprint, vault over objects, and even stare down the red dot sight of your AK-47 for extra accuracy. You'll also find dedicated melee and grenade buttons, allowing you to do a lot of things within a very small window of time. There appears to be a lot more depth to the controls, which seems like a given considering you're no longer confined to a Nintendo 64 controller.
Our hands-on time was spent playing Golden Gun on a new map called Station. Golden Gun, a classic shooter mode if there ever was one, is an obvious holdover from the Nintendo 64 game. But playing it on this new map made for quite a different experience. The density and variety of the construction site setting was a big departure from the relatively empty, plain geometry that the original game's maps were composed of due to the technology of the day. It seems like you can be surprised more easily by people vaulting over objects or popping out from behind a stack of scattered plywood with all the stray objects lying around. In short: the experience was more frenetic than we recall.
Overall, the experience played like a hybrid of new and old. It brought back warm, fuzzy memories of the first Goldeneye and brought up questions about whether this one can maintain that same magic given all the time that has passed in the interim. It definitely seems like there's room for a great split-screen shooter for when you've got a bunch of friends over, but it seems like you'd need to spend a lot more time with the game to see whether that's just the nostalgia talking. We're eager to find out as we get closer to Goldeneye's November release.