GoldenEye: Rogue Agent PlayStation 2
by EA Games
Developed by Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
Bond games are always going to be very popular because they usually allow people to play as their favourite film character, James Bond. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent takes a big risk then in allowing you to play as a character other than James Bond. That's not the only risk it takes. Having the word GoldenEye in the title is both a blessing and a curse. Many gamers still fondly remember the GoldenEye 007 game on the Nintendo 64 as not only the best Bond game to date but also the best console FPS to date. Having the word GoldenEye in the title many will expect the game to be a sequel to the Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 007 and will hope it's of the same calibre and that's something that would be very hard to achieve.
The game places you in the shoes of a dismissed MI6 agent, dismissed for 'reckless brutality.' Actually what happens is that you fluff a simulator exercise and MI6 decide you're not good enough. With this dismissal comes new opportunities and you're hired by Auric Goldfinger to help him combat the notorious Dr. No. During your efforts against Dr. No though you lose an eye (these events are shown through a cutscene) and Goldfinger's technicians replace it with a gold tinted eye that also happens to be fully upgradeable. Of course having such a coloured eye earns you the title of GoldenEye. In many ways the games characters read like a list of Who's who from the Bond movies. Characters such as Scaramanga, Pussy Galore, Oddjob and Xenia Onatopp are all here in addition to Goldfinger and Dr. No. Various locations from previous movies have been included too to give it that extra special Bond flavour. All it needs then is quality game play.
Anyway it's time to get down to brass tacks and talk about how it plays and it's here that anyone expecting something special will be disappointed. Virtually everything you can do in Rogue Agent you've already done many times before in other FPS games. The big difference of course is your golden eye and the extra abilities, some of which are the MRI vision that allows you to see enemies through cover, EM Hack that allows you to alter weapons and other electronic devices and the Magnetic Polarity Shield and Induction Field which allows you to send enemies flying. You can also dual-wield your weapons and like in Halo 2 you can fire each weapon independently. Hostages can also be taken although the only purpose they serve is a shield for the enemy fire. There's around 16 weapons in the game, ranging from the pistol with unlimited ammo to the Golden Gun, although you won't have access to all of them in both single and multiplayer mode.
The game has eight missions in all which might not seem too impressive but they are quite large. The missions aren't exactly the most exciting we've seen though and you'll notice sections of levels that appear to have been copied and pasted from other sections of that level which initially makes things a little confusing. Enemy AI is also lacking. Enemies either just run at you or simply find cover and then occasionally show themselves long enough for you to take them out. It's all a bit too straightforward and experienced console FPS players will be through the game in around 10-12 hours at the most. Of course your GoldenEye makes things a bit interesting but it still feels simply OK and there's nothing here that will wow you. On the multiplayer side of things you can play in split-screen mode but for some reason there's no online play on the PAL PlayStation 2 version. To make matters worse there aren't any AI bots or co-operative play either so essentially the multiplayer doesn't add much to the game.
Visually speaking Rogue Agent is all very basic and that is rather disappointing. The textures on many of the games objects have very little detail or any kind of quality about them. Had the game been made early in the PlayStation 2's life it wouldn't have looked so bad but there are so many games out there on the PlayStation 2 that look a lot better that you can't help but feel more detail is easily possible on the console. To it's credit though the frame rate remains solid throughout, which is more than we could say about other recent FPS games on the PlayStation 2. Still it's a shame that the game doesn't at least look as good as last years Everything or Nothing.
Rogue Agent is subtitled although they are not enabled by default. The games cutscenes are all subtitled and the text is quite large and easy to read. Tutorial messages are given in text too which is useful. During the main game, important conversations are shown in text. Not all speech in the game is subtitled but the speech that's unsubtitled is usually just your enemies shouting at each other. Pressing the start button will recall your objectives should you ever need them.
GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is ultimately disappointing. It's certainly not a terrible game but it is mediocre and lacklustre in many areas. The missions are long and basic affairs that do nothing to make you want to replay them. The enemy AI does little to challenge you and it's quite easy to pick them off or wait until they run suicidally towards you. PAL gamers get a bit of a raw deal when it comes to the online play too because there is none. I don't know why the US version has support for online play and the PAL version doesn't (there must be some logical reason) but it's omission means that you're left with split-screen mode with no AI bots so it's a four player experience at best (if you're one of the few who own a Multitap) which isn't very exciting. Co-operative play might have given the game added value but sadly it's not included. After the disappointments of The Getaway: Black Monday and Killzone it looks like PlayStation 2 gamers aren't going to get a quality FPS this Christmas.
Game Rating: 5.0/10
Whilst it's great to be able to play the bad guy for a change it's a mediocre experience from start to finish and is far removed from the very enjoyable Everything or Nothing that we reviewed earlier this year.
Subtitles can be enabled and there are no real problems.