Goldeneye: Rogue Agent
Ah, after two horrifying days I was finally able to write my review. No, it wasn’t G:RA that kept me away from doing my duty: warning you about this game! No, in fact it was my computer which bumped into my fist, got a heavy concussion and lost its memory and all vital functions too. Luckily the doctors were able to read its last thoughts and copy them into another brain so that its spirit will at least only live twice.
Anyway, let’s start with the biography of our Rogue Agent, shall we? Obviously, this time you don’t play as Bond himself but as a colleague, at least ex-colleague as you are responsible for 007′s death in a training exercise for which MI6 discharges you. Luckily, Goldfinger’s job offer is still open at that time so you don’t have to sit at home drinking beer and watching captain Kangaroo. Unlike some Bond fans, this idea appealed to me as much as the next one and I have always thought of it as an interesting innovation. However, the way that this story is told is dreadful: the cut-scenes are long out of date, short and too few. Besides, the story is just emotionless, no voice or face from the now most likely to be ex-Bond, Pierce Brosnan, is going to change that.
A very, very disappointing story obviously can’t justify hours of boring gameplay. I finished the first four levels in three hours on the normal difficulty setting which immediately showed me that this wasn’t going to be game of the year but then the pure misery still had to come!
Clearly, the level-designers had to rush things and instead of making the game short they made it repetitive. It goes like this: you enter a room through a sort of waiting place, then you shoot what seems like and infinite amount of opponents (on which I will come back) and if you were lucky enough to survive, you walk through the now empty place so you can enter the next waiting hall that will give access to another, very similar room or place. It feels as if they repeated that for like twenty times although some times they do it with one waiting chamber, a small pre-place and then one place were all the action will take place. The few open environment which look exciting stop being so when you walk around in them as almost everything turns out to be an invisible wall. In addition, the levels don’t feel like the mine, dam, or building they should represent which is a tremendous shame as I was looking forward to playing in locations from the movies.
Now, the last four levels last waaaaaaaaay longer, in fact so long that you are looking forward to the moment you finally finish them and you can save because if you quit when you are tired of it (not unlikely after one hour of brainless shooting), you’ll probably have to play so much all over again, you will never come to do so.
So, after I told you the levels you play in suck, I will now criticise the other important aspect of the game: shooting the adversaries. On its own, I am particularly fond of the weapon-handling system as it turns out that it is very intuitive, simple and fun but yet allows you to do some pretty nifty stuff. Unfortunately, doing that on the millions “universal soldiers” you encounter will spoil that pleasure rather quickly. These, man/machine things are plain dumb: they can take a shit-load of bullets from you before they finally fall down and immediately disappear without leaving any blood at all. Of course they say it is for the ESBR-rating but I don’t give a fuck about those silly bastards, at least make some option in the menu that allows you to vary the level of gore. All this isn’t enough as I didn’t notice much of the so called magnificent A.I. either except for silly and stupid decisions they make or their extreme abilities to shoot you down with a precision that could only be mechanical.
The last thing I dislike about the opponents is the noise they make as they talk like Alf and they don’t have anything useful to say (“He is reloading”, “He is using the goldeneye”, “He has a machine gun”, …). Damn, it is true, their voices do sound like Alf’s and they do tell as much stupid crap as he does!
Now, as I am complaining about the sound I might as well continue with saying that I missed the nice soundtrack which was present in EoN. In addition, the background music seems like it were two or three mp3′s they found on some old hard disk and that was as far as they were prepared to search for songs. Having said that, I don’t think you still expect that “music” to stress the (absent) exciting moments which I guess are the frustrating ones. Well, at least I know now that the THX certificate doesn’t necessarily implies terrific sound.
As if all that wasn’t enough, they took out the online multiplayer for the ps2-version too. The only thing that could have made it worth the money is cancelled, for what reason I don’t know but as Xbox Live is supported, I guess the motives are clearly of the financial side for which I can’t have the least bit of understanding. It would have been almost no more trouble to incorporate net play too but they just left it out and still make us pay the full sixty euros. Sorry but trying to pleasure me with a split-screen version is futile.
Sure, I didn’t explain the goldeneye feature or how you can combine a grenade with a pistol, or hold two submachine guns in your hand but all that doesn’t matter as everything in this game is so average it won’t be able to entertain someone: it isn’t a good fps, it isn’t attractive for bond fans, the sound is terrible, they made a fine mess of the story which did offer more than enough possibilities to make it decent and the whole game just screams boredom, repetitiveness and frustration.
I admit that I expected a great deal from this game so I might have judged it a little harder but then again, there is no denying: this isn’t what we are used from EA for such an important title. It feels rushed from the beginning until the end so if they had delayed it for a year and worked very hard on it so all the things I dislike, forgive the egocentric approach, are fixed then one might have a game that is fun to play instead of the task this one is. Okay, I am not saying it is buggy but what the game lacks is a human’s touch and that is not the anger and disappointment I felt, let’s be clear about that.