Goldeneye 007 E3 preview

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“No amount of presentations is going to answer anything you might want want to know about this game.” Those were the first words spoken during the demo of the ‘new’ James Bond title from Activision. This is something new in terms of tone and platform, but Goldeneye is an older Bond film and game. The platform for this iteration is the Wii and instead of Pierce Brosnan, the game follows the contemporary version of the movie franchise. What does that mean?

Well, it means that gamers will hear Dame Judith Dench as M with Daniel Craig’s likeness and voice, as well as the style of Bond he portrays, are in this game.

The story begins in the Russian federation with James Bond infiltrating a base with a fellow operative, and it plays out in the first-person perspective. Weather effects are in play and the game allows players to select whether they wish to play in a covert stealth manner, go through the game in full-on firefights, or find a middle ground between the two tactics. Environmental destruction is to be expected and what provides cover one moment can be shredded in the next.

The game script is a little predictable early on with foreshadowing like an NPC teammate stating that “if anything goes wrong, prepare to run.” This is a James Bond game so, of course, things will go wrong.

The game is on the Wii, so expect graphics that are not as sparkling as on higher-end consoles but they still convey the essence and feel of the 007 experience.

During the E3 demo, the dev team stated that the game design came down to four main elements: player choice that plays into the combat elements, the environments and how to move through the game space; production values in the particle effects, but the developer wanted it to be more than a compelling visual treatment; it is a Daniel Craig Bond experience, which means that the game is a bit darker in tone and feel, more physical and grittier; and multiplayer with four-player split screen, hosting options, and weapon packs - the dev team wanted the players to be able to create the multiplayer experience they wanted. Multiplayer also pays homage to previous Bond films with playable characters like Dr. No, Scaramanga, Oddjob, and Jaws (there are 40 characters available).

There are different classes of NPCs in the game and that relates mostly to the NPC intelligence and difficulty. For example, there will be those that will make mistakes (the lower class), a medium class that uses cover and will be a bit more tactical, and the high-end classes that will provide tough challenges.

The game wraps around a more contemporary story than the 15-year old game, but it still is about friendship and betrayal. The world environments have been updated to reflect that.

Slated for a November/holiday release, it will be interesting to see if this title can recapture the magic of the original and give Bond and Wii fans an entertaining and compelling experience.

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Michael Lafferty
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