8.4

The World Is Not Enough review
Time To Go Secret Agenting Again

Summary:

When anyone mentions the words "James Bond" and "Nintendo 64" together, the immediate thought always turns to Rare's Goldeneye. With good reason of course, as it was an amazing game that showed not only that first person shooters could rock on a console but that movie tie-ins didn't have to be bad. Any followup to that would be hard to do. While Rare opted for more of a spiritual successor with their Perfect Dark, Eurocom developed a game using the actual license and gave us The World is not Enough. Can it match up with Rare's game? Well, no, but it's still a good game you will likely enjoy.

As before, the game is played out from a first person perspective as you visit a variety of locations completing objectives. Familiar weapons return for the game like handguns, machine guns and rifles. Each of these have a solid feel to them and let you unleash death upon any terrorist foolish enough to actually get in your way. The aiming and shooting controls are generally pretty good, with a certain element of autoaim assisting you to make up for the lack of mouse input at the lower settings but mostly robbing you of it at the higher difficulties. The classic watch gadget also reappears, though in a more multifunctional useful role as it packs a taser, sleep darts, cutting laser and a grapple hook for your convenience. Naturally some of these are situationally useful, but the taser is a special case which lets you stun enemies for a moment before dealing a finishing blow.

While there's fun to be had in clearing out the grunts, it's definitely more a case of knocking down targets rather than dealing with clever foes. The artificial intelligence in the game isn't amazing really, with enemies clearly presenting themselves to be shot. The closest the game comes to this is placing enemies around corners or having them rappel in from holes in the ceiling. These set pieces are certainly interesting and give the game a bigger sense of action. Largely because of this, the game felt a bit on the easy side. A few areas will avoid such a feeling by presenting you with more dangeorus scenarios, but for the most part you're unlikely to be phased by the challenge of the game.

Set pieces, on the other hand, is something the game does manage well. Taking just the second level of the game as an example, where a meeting at MI6 takes a turn for the worse and terrorists began invading the building. Explosions and rappelling enemies abound as you make your way from one area to the next, dealing with situations as they arise. Some levels also completely change up the gameplay. The ski slope level acts more on-rails, where the level is more focused on the action rather than complex challenges, but it was a lot of fun to play through. The level that involves swimming through underwater passageways not so much. It performs about as well as you'd expect a first person underwater level. By which I mean not very well at all. Fortunately, that is a small part of proceedings.

As part of this, the objective system ties in nicely. You'll start a level with one or two objectives, but as you progress new objectives get added in as events happen, leading to an evolving state of play where you must be prepared to have new goals to accomplish mid-mission. I thought that was pretty cool, as opposed to sticking to the set of items listed off at the beginning. Objectives themselves pretty much run the usual things. Collect item A, meet with NPC B, reach location C. Sometimes they'll break things up, like a few stealth sections that feel reasonably well done and fun. All said, there's still a good variety of them to deal with though and some help break up the otherwise simple goal of "shoot bad guys".

Helping you complete objectives are the gadgets supplied by Q. Of course there's the watch previously mentioned, but there are also other more mission specific items such as night vision goggles or bombs. These are nice additions to each level you're handed them and contribute to your objectives well. The single player isn't quite as long as Goldeneye's was though and lacks the cheat menu unlocking of that classic game. The game does challenge you to clear levels in specific times for unlocks, but these are more tied to the multiplayer side of things.

Yes, multiplayer exists here too. There is a ton of characters you can play as, many of which need to be unlocked via the single player campaign first, but chances are you'll find someone you want to play as whether it James Bond himself or Grunt A. You can set up a few options for playing, including roping in a few AI bots to increase the numbers. Sadly, any computer opponents have exactly the same level of intelligence as the single player counterparts. As in they don't and will easily be mowed down by any semi-experienced player, but I guess it's nice to have more moving targets to shoot at.

TWINE does succeed in bringing a bigger variety of game modes to proceedings. They'll be familiar to FPS enthusiasts such as deathmatch, king of the hill, capture the flag and so on. Yet the level design isn't quite as good in this game. Some stages stand out, like one that's two aircraft connected by a narrow bridge that's memorable for its sheer novelty (and for laughing at the AI bots as they strafe straight off the edge), but too often I found an arena boring and lacking in options you'd naturally expect a multiplayer arena would offer. It's certainly not a bad way to kill time with friends (or with bots if you want) but it just seems like wasted potential.

The game does look good though, blowing Goldeneye out of the water. Of particular note are the character models, looking distinctly less blocky than its predecessor and sporting good texture detail in their outfits. They move around pretty well too and have some interesting animated quirks like the various ways they'll collapse after being filled with enough lead. Naturally, you'll visit a good variety of locations too that have been crafted well to give them that sense of depth. Set pieces are pulled off well too, like explosions looking quite powerful and effective when they're going off all around you.

As you can expect, the game brings in some pretty solid music for its soundtrack to accompany all the action and it all fits in with the locations you visit. Sound effects are impressive too, giving the onscreen action the backup it needs. Voice acting is used throughout and is fantastic.

For the story it pretty much follows the movie, so if you've seen the film there aren't going to be any real surprises. Of course, some modifications are made in order to create more opportunities to put in actual gameplay and the developers have worked hard to make sure those changes feel natural enough to give the gameplay a reason to exist and to link well into the next part of the story.

Overall TWINE is a good shooter. While it may live in the shadow of its predecessor, it is nevertheless a pretty good game that's still checking out, especially if you're into retro FPS games and/or Bond games.

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