Review – GoldenEye 007 (Xbox One)

I think we can just skip the bureaucratic opening about what GoldenEye 007 is and what it represents for the evolution of gaming as a whole. Frankly, it’s one of the best and most important games of all time, and that games like Halo, Call of Duty, and many others would have never existed if it wasn’t for Rare’s risky foray into the first-person shooting genre. It was released more than twenty-five years ago, and we all remember every nook and cranny of its code like the back of our hands, even though it had never been released outside of the Nintendo 64. Well, not anymore. Microsoft, Nintendo, Rare and MGM have all sorted out whatever legal nonsense was locking James Bond inside an underground dungeon, and the game is now available in modern platforms, in all its (not quite) remastered glory.

GoldenEye Xbox Hallway

Being able to play GoldenEye on a modern controller is an absolute godsend.

Let me clarify that the Xbox version of GoldenEye might not be an exact straight port of the original, but Code Mystics (one of the best remastering studios in the biz) wasn’t hired to do what 4J Studios did to Perfect Dark back in the Xbox 360 days. This is the same Nintendo 64 game, with brand new controls (to be played on a controller designed by and for actual human beings), a very slight improvement on the framerate, and a more modern resolution. The game still looks the same, as in, blocky and dated as hell. Take it or leave, it’s still the ultimate way to experience the game that defined a generation of college dorms and playground discussions.

GoldenEye VIsuals

Oh boy, the sexiest polygons 1997 could offer.

Being able to play GoldenEye with dual analog sticks is the real game changer. We’re not bound to the Nintendo 64’s controller anymore, mates! That being said, I’m impressed with how trivial the game becomes now that you have access to a modern control scheme. Sure, the 00 Agent difficulty is still tough as nails, and the Train level can still f*** off, but I was able to waltz through the entire game’s first difficulty, as well as half of the second one, in a mere three hours. I’d only die in the aforementioned insanity-inducing Train level. You can now strafe with ease, change weapons with the shoulder buttons, and aim with the crosshair while you move.

GoldenEye Tank

The sound of soldiers being crushed by the tank was the pinnacle of my childhood.

One thing that hasn’t changed, and that’s for the absolute best, is the sound design. GoldenEye still has one of the best soundtracks in gaming history, so I’m glad that absolutely nothing has changed. The pause menu music is still one hell of a banger (seriously Grant Kirkhope, that’s your Stairway to Heaven), the Cradle level theme is still tense, and the Frigate theme is one of the best MIDI works ever composed. Not only that, but every single sound effect and grunt in GoldenEye remains intact. The legendary gun noises, injury screams, and explosion effects… they are all here, they still sound great.

GoldenEye Cradle

The Cradle theme still slaps.

Finally, there’s the multiplayer. Here comes the disappointing bit: the Xbox version of the game does not feature online multiplayer. It boggles my mind that the Switch version, the one where you’re forced to deal with the Switch Online’s terrible N64 button mapping and lagging issues, has online multiplayer support, and the version made for the console which standardized online multiplayer doesn’t. Sure, you can still play split screen multiplayer and relive the glory days of four Oddjobs slapping each other inside an Egyptian temple, but boy, talk about a missed opportunity.

GoldenEye Dual Wield

Dual-wielding machine guns like my name is BJ Blazkowicz.

I’ll be brief: this is still the GoldenEye you have loved for the past twenty-five years, with just enough quality of life improvements to make it feel at home in a modern console. It runs well (though not at 60fps), its new controller scheme is a godsend, and the godlike soundtrack remains intact. It’s more than just nostalgia bait: as a shooter made in a time when console shooters weren’t a thing, it has aged surprisingly well in most aspects besides its visuals. I love that I can finally play this on a modern system, with a decent controller, for the foreseeable future. Welcome back, James. And curse anyone who still chooses Oddjob in multiplayer to this day.


Graphics: 6.0

Even though it got a resolution bump, as well as a slight improvement to its framerate, this is the same GoldenEye 007 from 1997. As iconic as its visuals may be, it has aged. A LOT.

Gameplay: 8.0

Being able to play GoldenEye with two analog sticks renders the game infinitely easier, but also allows for it to actually feel less dated than before.

Sound: 10

Back in 1997, GoldenEye 007 became notorious for having one of the most iconic collections of music and sound effects ever put in a video game at the time. More than twenty-five years later, they all still hold the hell up. That pause menu tune is just perfection.

Fun Factor: 9.0

This is one of the most iconic and important games of all time, and it’s finally playable on a modern console, with a substantial amount of quality of life improvements. That being said, its multiplayer is limited to split screen only. It would have been a 10 for fun otherwise.

Final Verdict: 8.0

GoldenEye 007 is available now on Nintendo 64, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch via Nintendo Online.

Reviewed on Xbox One.