GoldenEye 007 – Xbox Cloud Review

Goldeneye 007 Screen Capture

It’s Only Lived Twice

In the history of gaming few shooters have been as influential as GoldenEye. This game sincerely belongs in the same conversation as Doom, Half Life, Halo, and Modern Warfare. GoldenEye was one of the defining gems in an era full of new, untapped potential in gaming. When 3D graphics were new to consoles and every studio was still trying to figure out how a game should control. GoldenEye was being highly praised in its day, just like those other legends. Yet playing the game now, twenty five years after its release, it’s strange in both how admirably unique it is and also how terribly it has aged. 

Goldeneye 007 Screen Capture

Dr. Meh

When we talk about those greats like Halo or Half Life, we of course mention their innovations and ideas they brought to gaming. But we also talk about how well they hold up. You can’t say the same for GoldenEye. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a very fun video game, and certainly worth picking up if you’re a game pass subscriber. But it’s abundantly clear this is a game made for a controller with one analog stick. 

If you were to play on Xbox Cloud, you wouldn’t know this. This remaster has been modernized to work with dual analog sticks, and you’ll find yourself zipping around the world and shooting around corners like you’re playing Modern Warfare on Newbie difficulty. The base difficulty that the game forces you to play with on your first time through is laughable with the new control scheme.

That’s not a knock if you’re going through these levels as a returning Agent, since you’ll be completing them in a matter of minutes. To an experienced player, GoldenEye is a shockingly short game. To a new player, however, it’s a vexing grind; and that’s where I find GoldenEye difficult to recommend to younger gamers. If you’ve played this before, you’ll have a blast. If you’re new to the experience and want to try this jewel of gaming history for the first time, you’re going to be doing a lot of head scratching.

Goldtrigger

The reason for that is this: GoldenEye isn’t precisely just a shooter, it’s also partially a puzzle game. Each level has a variety of objectives to complete in order to progress in the story. You’ll make your way back and forth across the tiny maps to figure out how to complete those objectives. On top of that, every level has its own unique type of objectives too, which subtly introduce their own gameplay mechanic or objective type. So each time you start a new level, you’re stopped cold by the necessity to learn a new trick that isn’t explained to you. It takes the principles of a Mario platformer and applies it to an early 3D shooter. If that sounds messy, that’s because it is. But it’s also what makes the game feel so unique.

That is also what create the frustrations, however. Aside from telling you what the objective is, the game provides no hints whatsoever. In 1997 that was all well and good, because one of the joys of this game was tinkering around and seeing what was possible. In 2023, when we have more games than we have free time, it’s a nuisance to haggle with. I played this game to death when it was released two decades ago, but as familiar as I am with it, there were several instances where I gave up relying on my memory and looked up a strategy guide, just to have some vague idea on what to do. 

Goldeneye 007 Screen Capture

Live and Let Her Die

Even when you know exactly what to do, you won’t necessarily enjoy doing it. In the second half of the game you’ll spend a lot of time protecting Bond’s love interest, Natalya. This girl is the reason gamers hate escort missions. She has the intelligence of a sleep deprived toddler, and she’s cooperative as a cat on shrooms. What’s worse, she has no idea the guns actually shoot bullets. Her favorite thing is to stand between you and your enemies and stare at the wall. As if everyone is at a high school dance, drumming up the courage to ask her out. It’s fitting that when she dies, her body will fade out of existence to make room for the game’s memory. Which paints an excellent picture for her overall role in the story. I wish I could wipe my memory of her as quickly as this game does.  

From Russia With Drugs

Enemies move with fantastic detail, but they also move around and shoot like they’ve taken an edible. You’ll often catch enemies firing a few shots at you, lower their gun, do a combat roll that looks like Grandpa, and then run back to where they started, so they can shoot at you again. There’s a variety of canned animations like these that, at the time, were profoundly cool; but now they just look dorky. It’s charming if nothing else, but it ages the game even more than some of the other all-time greats.

It hurts to say that, in conclusion, GoldenEye doesn’t really hold up when it’s compared to any other game in its genre. That can be said of many shooters, to be fair. The genre didn’t truly find its way until the PS3/360 generation. But it’s more than that.

GoldenEye was designed to be played with one of the worst controllers ever made, and while that was a revelation in its time, it seems that the game was designed around those limitations, and it cripples it in a modern world where shooters have become the dominant genre and the number of great games you can play with guns is practically unlimited. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to come back to GoldenEye outside of nostalgia and a history lesson. It would seem, Mr. Bond, that diamonds aren’t forever after all.

GoldenEye 007

Marxally

GoldenEye 007 – Cloud Gaming Review
Gameplay
Presentation
Performance
Value
Fun Factor

Summary

While GoldenEye 007 was remembered fondly by many, the recent re-release makes it obvious that the game hasn’t aged that well. Due to controls limitations at the time, and a bare-bones remake, GoldenEye 007 on modern hardware is hard to enjoy.

3.4

Advertisement

Leave a Reply