Nostalgia is a powerful and dangerous thing that more and more publishers are using against gamers to pull them back into titles that have fond memories of from yesteryear. N64 smash Goldeneye 007 is one such game, which was back in the day a true system seller with its (at the time) fresh take on the up and coming FPS genre, as well as having a “brilliant” multiplayer mode that saw many hours lost too… and more than a few punches thrown across the couch. So the idea of it getting a remake/remaster/re-release was a thing on most gamers lists for the longest of times, especially given how many Rare and N64 titles have been given the treatment, and especially after rumours started doing the rounds about the game being fully ready for release. However, the official release was trapped in a legal minefield of who owned the rights surrounding the game.
Well it’s 2023 and Goldeneye 007 has finally been set free into the wild… for better or worse as I’ll be honest right away, my memories of playing this around at my mates house are 10,000% better than this pile of crap. My rose tinted glasses are right off in more ways than one here, as this is a blurry mess of a thing right from the get go. With the on-screen text making me feel like I had the eye sight of an 80 year old. It’s that fuzzy and blurry on my telly! Now it’s had “work” but it’s far, far from a full fat remaster or to the standard I look for from a remaster more to the point. Sure it runs in widescreen off the bat (but only while playing the game, not in menus), it runs sort of smooth (well on the Xbox) and the sound is clear. But that’s it… hell they didn’t even remap the controls to work with modern controllers, which is a real issue on the Switch version as it’s seeing players having to do a number of changes themselves to get it even remotely playable. Again, this just highlighting how much of a half arsed port it really is, especially given how long it’s been sitting on the shelf rotting.
If you have never played the game it follows the Goldeneye movie for the most part, with all the standout moments like the dam, driving a tank through Russian streets and dropping a huge satellite on poor Sean Bean’s face. Plus it did do a cool thing where changing the difficulty actually changed the things you had to do during the mission, beyond making the enemies stronger. It’s an FPS from a certain time in history and if you played this re-release with any level of expectation, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Not to say there wasn’t a time where this was ground-breaking in ways and it’s more than earned it place in the history books of gaming, it’s just that time has come and long gone. The game has split screen and online play depending on your version, as the Xbox build doesn’t get the online side oddly. It is fun for about 5 secs or till someone goes Oddjob and you remember why you got thrown out your mate’s house for starting one too many fights.
Goldeneye 007’s re-release is a title that trades extremely heavily on one thing and one thing alone… nostalgia – which can and does run out fast. It’s a poor port that is beyond rough with an overall half ass level of work done to it, and it ultimately served to remind me of two very important things. Firstly the memories are always better, always; and secondly, Perfect Dark was a million times better then Goldeneye, plus that actually has a good HD release too.
An Xbox review copy of Goldeneye was provided by Rare’s PR team, and the game is available now on Switch and Xbox… the latter has it on Game Pass which means seeing how poorly it’s aged won’t cost you anything if you’re a subscriber.
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