Goldeneye: Rogue Agent

December 9, 2004

[floatleft][/floatleft][i]Goldeneye: Rogue Agent[/i] is the newest game to be set in the infamous world of 007. The previous [i]Goldeneye[/i] was developed by the also infamous Rare and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was an instant classic and is still revered by many as one of the best console FPS games of all time. With EA now at the helm and the reverence for the recent 007 titles waning, it made sense to try to rekindle the [i]Goldeneye[/i] fever, but did it work? Does [i]Rogue Agent[/i] rehash the memories of the golden days of Rare?

[i]Goldeneye: Rogue Agent[/i] removes the focus from 007 and his secret ops and places you squarely in the middle of a battle for the criminal underworld. As a dismissed MI6 agent, you have been recruited by Goldfinger to eliminate Dr. No and give Goldfinger control of the Bond underworld. The focus of the game is to allow you to play as a ruthless and maniacal villain. Unfortunately, this is where the game falls flat on its face-but more on that in a moment.

Like most of the previous Bond games, [i]Rogue Agent[/i] has had a graphics upgrade. The environments are very nicely presented, and the character models are very realistic. The brand new E.V.I.L. AI engine is fantastic and ushers in very realistic actions and reactions from the enemy characters. It is definitely a step in the right direction regarding enemy AI. There were actually times where the AI outsmarted me and kept me guessing where he was going to pop up next. You will also be surprised when enemies don’t stand and fire, but rather hold their guns out from behind an obstacle and fire erratically at you.

[floatright][/floatright]EA hired DJ Paul Oakenfold to create the soundtrack for [i]Rogue Agent[/i], and he did a superb job. The music in game was great, with the only downside being that you have to play the game in order to hear the awesome rhythmic beats.

The unique addition to [i]Rogue Agent[/i] is the upgradeable synthetic eye that your character has. Your eye has four available functions: MRI Vision, EM Hack, Magnetic Polarity Shield, and the Magnetic Field. MRI Vision allows you to see through walls and view enemies in close proximity. The EM Hack feature provides remote access to certain electronics and even allows you to cause malfunctions of enemy weapons. The Polarity Shield deflects damage, and the Magnetic Field will allow you to send enemies flying across the room. In other words, your Goldeneye is pretty impressive.

Having played most of the recent Bond games, I can safely say that they typically suffer from controls with the sensitivity setting far too low. Luckily, [i]Rogue Agent[/i] allows you to customize this. After tweaking my settings, I still felt like I was driving a bus instead of running around on foot. Turning around to fire at enemies behind me took forever, and strafing just seemed sluggish. I applaud EA for having the foresight to add a sensitivity setting, but it needed to have a greater effect than it did.

I was also highly annoyed to find there was no jumping in [i]Rogue Agent[/i]. Two of your face buttons (A and X) handle picking up and dropping weapons. X handles left-hand weapons, while A handles right-hand weapons. Y is to reload, and B is to crouch. Your triggers obviously fire the weapons or toss grenades. Your black button allows you to melee attack an enemy in order to take him hostage and use him as a meatshield. The D-pad handles selecting your Goldeneye functions, while the white button activates and deactivates the eye functions. Yes, that about covers it-and no jump. I can’t express how frustrating that was. There is no reason why the control scheme couldn’t have been altered to allow jumping.

[floatleft][/floatleft]Continuing on with the problems in [i]Rogue Agent[/i] is what I mentioned before; the whole being a super villain. The fundamental flaw with this aspect is actually quite simple: You are rewarded a Rogue bonus for doing dastardly deeds such as one-shot kills and killing enemies with explosions. What, you say? Those are things that occur while playing as 007 and are in fact hardly dastardly? Those are my sentiments exactly. As a Rogue Agent, I would expect to be highly vocal about being evil, and your character barely utters a word. I would also expect to have an array of weapons and tactics that are far more gruesome than just blowing people up. If you strip out the Goldeneye functions of your character, you would never even know he was a bad guy. You are out pursuing Dr. No just like 007 might. At no point during the game did I feel evil or even partially maniacal. This takes the whole evil agent aspect and makes it null and void.

I didn’t even bother taking [i]Rogue Agent[/i] online because I was having a hard enough time killing the AI on easy, and I figured it would just be a slaughter.

[floatright][/floatright]Assuming you get used to the controls, the lack of jumping, and the fact that your evil villain isn’t really all that evil, then Rogue Agent has a wide array of gameplay open to you. The obligatory single-player campaign is present with 20 intense levels to battle through. Split-screen multiplayer also has 20 arenas to play in and a wide array of death match-style multiplayer showdowns and objective-based team vs. team scenarios with which Bond fans are familiar. The PS2 and Xbox versions also support online play.

What you are left with is a mediocre Bond game with sloppy controls and a super villain who brings shame to the word [i]villain[/i]. [i]Goldeneye: Rogue Agent[/i] doesn’t rehash the golden days of Rare, and the only kind of fever it may rekindle is the one accompanying your flu this year. A nice graphics engine and superb AI can only take this game so far, and unfortunately the accompanying cast of elements are unable to take the game anywhere beyond lame. My recommendation is to leave this one on the shelf. If you absolutely must try it, then I implore you to simply rent it or convince a friend that it is a good game and ridicule him/her as you two sluggishly plow through the game. Either way, the price tag is not worth the package inside.

Score: 1/5

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