'Goldeneye 007': A Good Game, But Not a Good Wii Game

Image of Daniel Craig as James Bond from Ripten.

Goldeneye 007 is a good game, just not a good Wii game, and it’s all because of the prevalence of iron sights.

Goldeneye 007 is a great game. It’s everything a remake should be. The levels evoke the right amount of nostalgia while still looking distinctly different than their Nintendo 64 counterparts. The story is updated for modern times and adds new twists to the plot, so the game is never predictable (or least it’s as unpredictable as a Bond game can be). Updating Bond himself so that you now play as Daniel Craig fits well with the gritty gunplay. But Goldeneye 007 is a Wii game, which means it has motion controls, and while the motion controls aren’t bad, they also aren’t designed for a standard Wii controller. Goldeneye 007 would probably be better if played with a dual analog controller, and it’s all because of the prevalence of iron sights.

Iron sights are a mechanic designed for dual analog controllers. It’s a concession to the fact that the controller isn’t as accurate as a mouse. Looking down the iron sights of a gun will usually make the gun jump to the closest target, thereby lessening the demands of accuracy from a player. Some games don’t do this or give the player the option to turn off this kind of aim-assist, but even in these cases, looking down the iron sights reduces the sensitivity of the controls, allowing for minute corrections and therefore more accurate shots. Iron sights were made for dual analog controllers to make shooting easier.

Goldeneye 007 uses them in the same way -- even though it doesn’t have to.

With a dual analog controller, you turn and aim using the same stick, so the reticule is always locked to where you’re looking. This prevents the player from getting disoriented by the constantly changing perspective, zooming in and out of the iron sights, and also from the constantly changing sensitivity of the control sticks. You’ll always be aiming where you’re looking.

For Wii games like Goldeneye 007, the shooting reticule moves independent of the camera, and you turn by pointing at the edge of the screen. This is problematic because when you zoom into the iron sights you always zoom where the reticule is pointing, which may or may not be where the camera itself is pointing. You can point at the corner of the screen and zoom in, and when you zoom out, you’ll be facing a different direction than you were before. When surrounded by enemies and forced to use iron sights over and over again, this jerky perspective is confusing.

Since the sensitivity is lowered when looking down iron sights, you have to use more sweeping gestures to move the gun around. You have to point the Wiimote at such a sharp angle that when you zoom out the reticule is at the edge of the screen rather than the middle, which then sends you into a turn.

Shooters on the Wii have more in common with shooters on the PC rather than with those of other consoles. The Wiimote doesn’t have the same level of accuracy as a mouse, but it does have the same range of movement, so aim-assist on the Wii has to exist somewhere between consoles and PC. The Conduit got Wii shooting right. It uses a lock-on system that keeps the target at the center of the screen, making shooting easier without the zoom or change in sensitivity (but it wasn’t the first to do this, it should be noted).

While you can use the dual analog classic controller with Goldeneye 007, that feels like a cop out to me. A Wii game should work with the Wii controller. Goldeneye 007 doesn’t work because it tries to apply the Xbox/Playstation shooter template to a console that doesn’t want it, rather than designing a new kind of shooting experience from the ground up. It’s still a great game, just not a great Wii game.

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