So, Rare’s 1997 classic, GoldenEye 007, is finally officially making its way onto Xbox consoles via a remastered version of the N64 shooter that’s just been announced for Game Pass. Hooray! We should all be ecstatic right now, yeah?
Well, we would be if it weren’t for the fact that all manner of complicated legal issues has resulted in us Xbox owners being saddled with a version of the game that arrives sans its online multiplayer component which is, quite frankly, a crushing disappointment.
This remastered Xbox GoldenEye 007 was announced at the same time as the Nintendo Switch Online version of the game was revealed, a version which does come with online multiplayer thanks to the Switch’s N64 emulator automatically making this possible. So, we’re now in a situation where a technically “weaker” console is getting the one aspect of the GoldenEye experience that we all really, really wanted to be able to enjoy while the Xbox misses out.
All of this is made doubly frustrating by the fact that the leaked XBLA remaster, a fantastic remake which everyone and their granny has been playing via nefarious means over the past year, does have online multiplayer included, and that’s a 99% completed version of the game. Why on earth couldn’t we just have had that one on Game Pass? Why does everything have to be so complicated? Well, of course, these things are never quite so simple as they should be and the legal wranglings that have held the XBLA remake back from release all this time have obviously never been resolved, so we’re stuck with an all-new remaster that’s missing its most exciting element, a new remaster that isn't as good as an older remaster that isn't gonna get released because...well...money, innit.
However, look, as annoying as all of this is, and we are fairly annoyed right now after waiting for so long for this announcement to happen, it’s not all bad news for Bond fans on Xbox if we can just settle down and take a breath. The fact is that, yes, the Switch version does have online multiplayer but that’s where the benefits of rocking with that console's port come to an abrupt end.
Indeed, GoldenEye on Xbox comes with a bevvy of substantial improvements over the straightforward N64 port you’ll be treated to on Nintendo’s handheld. We’re looking at a 4K version here with a “smoother framerate” (please mean 60fps), built-in achievements and dual analogue support. There’s no doubt that Xbox owners are being treated to the superior way to play here, even if the missing online multiplayer stings quite badly.
So, yes, we’re annoyed that this whole situation couldn’t be resolved in a manner which allowed us to dive into one of the truly great first-person shooters with no missing aspects, in a full fat and glorious package, it surely would have been one of the most popular games to release on Game Pass this year if behind-the-scenes issues could have been sorted out. However, we’re still looking forward to blasting through a nice, smooth 4K version of one of our favourite games of all time and are more than prepared to grab a few extra controllers and invite a few old pals around, just like back in the glory days.
How do you feel about the Goldeneye 007 remaster arriving on Xbox without online multiplayer? Is it a killer omission or do the various other quality of life and visual enhancements go some way towards making up for it? Let us know what you're feeling in the comments!