Electronic Arts gives us a glimpse into the evil side of the Bond universe in GoldenEye: Rogue Agent. The fast paced gameplay delivers some thrills now and then, but for the most part this is a pretty average FPS. It has its moments, but Rogue Agent is the quick cash in we all feared rather than the stunning tribute to the N64s GoldenEye that we all hoped it would be.
The original GoldenEye for the N64 is one of the most beloved games of all time. Back in 1997 it set the world on fire with an amazing single player game and awesome four player deathmatch mode. GoldenEye the movie also stands as the last really good James Bond movie. Strangely enough, Rogue Agent doesnt have anything to do with either of them. Instead, Rogue Agent tells the story of a former British agent who was kicked out of the service for being too ruthless and brutal. Auric Goldfinger then offers you a job to help him in his fight against Dr. No. Goldfinger also replaces an eye that was injured in a previous encounter with Dr. No with a mechanical one. Thus giving you the name GoldenEye. It is as if EA knew they wanted to use the GoldenEye name and then had to come up with a lame backstory to fit the name. That just screams quick cash in and is more likely to turn off any of the real GoldenEye (movie and N64 game both) fans that EA so obviously wanted to attract.
The gameplay in Rogue Agent is very fast paced and rather fun at times, but there are a lot of little annoyances that bring the experience down. The best things about the game are that you can pick up new weapons and dual wield dozens of different combinations of guns with simple button presses. When you run out of ammo, there is always a steady supply of dropped weapons and extra bullets you can pick up so you are always running and gunning and are usually doing it with the weapons you want rather than the weapons the game allows you to have by limiting ammunition. The pace of the game is extremely fast and you are literally always shooting at something. It is easy to play and undeniably satisfying to just run through the levels blasting everything in sight. There are machine guns, several pistols, rocket launchers, x-ray guns, and many more and most of them can be dual wielded in any combination you want. This is a fun shooter. At least for a while.
After a couple of levels, the thrill of battle fades and you begin to notice a lot of problems. Similar to Halo 2, your health recharges when you arent in the line of fire. There is so much cover in Rogue Agent, however, and the enemies are so unwilling to move in order to flush you out, that the game is incredibly easy because you are never really in any danger of losing all of your health. The level designs are also a weak point in Rogue Agent. There are only eight levels, but most of them are overly long and tedious and boring. You fight the same handful of enemy types again and again and again and the levels are very simply designed. To make things even more bland, there is an onscreen arrow that tells you where you have to go next.
Its Good To Be Bad
Rogue Agent does try to bring some new things to the table, but they are poorly implemented and dont really play that big of a role in the overall gameplay. A big draw of the game is that since you are a fallen agent working for the bad guys, you are encouraged to be bad yourself. The only problem is that what the game allows you to do isnt really all that evil. You can use enemy guards as human shields and then toss them into other enemies and that is pretty much it. You are just a bad guy killing other bad guys. No big deal.
Also, your golden mechanical eye gives you some special powers, but you really dont have to use them in order to be successful. You can see through walls. You can hack machines which allows you to work switches as well as jam enemy guns. You can put up a bullet shield. And you can use a telekinetic attack. This all sounds well and good, but in the heat of battle they just arent all that useful. The bullet shield comes in handy, obviously, but the rest of them are only used in a handful of specific situations. It is usually better to just run and gun than mess with the powers. So, basically, it is nice that they tried to add something different, but it just wasnt implemented very well.