It's been seven years since the release of GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64, and next week EA will finally revisit the most popular James Bond game ever made with its new first-person shooter, GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. If you've kept up with our coverage of the game, you'll probably suspect that Bond himself is nowhere to be found in the new game, and you're basically right--we've only seen the famous superspy for a few minutes in the game, and his role wasn't that prominent. While we've had some solid hands-on time with the game's multiplayer in the past, we've now gotten access to a near-final version of the game and played the early missions to see how the campaign component has shaped up.
Not only is James Bond nowhere to be found, but Rogue Agent also wastes little time with do-gooding, launching you into "bad guy" status right after the first mission in the single-player campaign. As reported previously, you'll start out as an MI6 agent who's soon kicked out of the illustrious spy organization for utilizing questionable methods. Not long after your expulsion, you'll receive a golden cybernetic eye that imbues you with crazy powers, including the ability to see through walls, "hack" enemies' weapons to partially disable them, and generate a defensive shield. Though we've managed to run and gun our way into the third mission without too much trouble, it seems that later on your eye powers will go a long way toward making your life as a bad guy easier.
You won't be able to use all these powers initially--none of the powers are available in the first mission, and the second mission allows you to use only the MRI feature, which lets you see the silhouettes of nearby enemies through walls. This works nicely in conjunction with the available rail gun, which can fire through walls. The rail gun in Rogue Agent actually takes a full second or so to discharge after you've pulled the trigger, so it's not just a matter of sitting behind a barrier and shooting fish in a barrel. With the enemies moving around, you'll have to track them accurately until the rail gun actually fires to score a hit (which, thankfully, results in a one-hit kill). In the third mission, we also got the hack ability, which lets you zero in on enemies' weapons and mess with their aim, though in the time it takes to perform a hack, you could also just shoot them instead.
One of the most significant mechanics in Rogue Agent, and one that's apparently been beefed up a bit since the project's inception, is the ability to dual-wield your guns. With a few exceptions, you can pick up just about any of the game's weapons with your off hand and run around getting all John Woo on the hordes of assailants you'll gun down. We're not just talking about dual pistols, either--everything from P90 submachine guns to shotguns and even the rail gun can be dual-wielded. It might not be terribly realistic to fire a machine gun in one hand and a shotgun in the other, but the visceral thrill of ripping through a bunch of enemies is undeniable.
So far the levels in Rogue Agent seem to be shaping up pretty nicely. One of the big features in the game's multiplayer is the inclusion of death traps, which are features of the environment that you can activate at the touch of a button to ensnare hapless opponents. It seems the single-player campaign's levels have some death traps of their own--one area allowed us to dump a container of molten gold on a bunch of enemies who were firing at our position. There have also been a lot of exploding barrels and such that we've been able to use to take care of enemies who think they can hide behind cover.
The cutscenes between missions have been fairly sparse so far, but we've heard some quality voice acting from Dame Judi Dench and Christopher Lee, who reprises his role as Francisco Scaramanga from The Man With the Golden Gun, and who has so far been the one to bestow our eye powers. How will the rest of GoldenEye: Rogue Agent's single-player campaign shape up? What about the online multiplayer, which has a lot to live up to in the wake of the game's illustrious predecessor? Stay tuned for our full review next week to find out.