Game Recs

James Bond’s greatest game ever just hit Game Pass and Switch

GoldenEye 007 shaped a generation of gamers.

Sean Bean dies a lot — not in real life, obviously, but on screen. From Game of Thrones to The Lord of the Rings and Equilibrium, the man rarely makes it. The most spectacular Beanslaughter of them all is his fatal freefall off the Arecibo Observatory in 1995’s GoldenEye. But sometimes quantity tops quality, and if you want to kill Sean Bean more than once, now’s your chance. Because that James Bond film’s iconic video game adaptation is now playable on Xbox Game Pass and Nintendo Switch Online.

GoldenEye 007 was an FPS sensation for the Nintendo 64, allowing players to kill Bean’s 006 alongside the rest of the cast in its legendary multiplayer mode. There’s a true-to-movie campaign too, and both have been revamped for re-release on Nintendo Switch and Xbox. Naturally, the nostalgia will hit harder for some than others.

What will hit equally hard is the difference between the Xbox and Switch versions.

The Xbox version updates the controls by default and plays like you'd expect any modern FPS to play. If you want to play on Switch, however, be prepared to remap your controller before getting started. Even with optimal adjustments, I still found the Switch version to handle with the grace of a schoolbus, a damn shame since it's the platform with online multiplayer.

Sean Bean looking a little too alive here. You know what to do.


Controls aside, this is absolutely a remake worth revisiting. For millennials, the appeal is obvious. From the moment you hear the infamous gong, the “feels” begin. Traipsing through levels is to take a trip down a bullet-riddled memory lane as tricks and secrets come flooding out of the long-dormant lobes of your brain. Seeing a guard flap his hand in pain reminded me that this was the first shooter that tracked where you shot an enemy, drawing out my sadistic side as I focused exclusively on the toe and finger shots for the rest of the level.

For younger gamers (or 30-somethings with bad childhoods), diving into GoldenEye 007 for the first time will be a bit underwhelming to start. The graphics are still rather blocky, and things may seem a bit too simple. What bolsters the gameplay, if accidentally, is the lack of hand-holding. There’s no minimap with waypoints. Nothing is highlighted for you. Much like a real covert agent, you have to use observation and intuition to accomplish objectives.

It’s also a frickin’ James Bond game and the pinnacle of the franchise. It’s fun to inhabit the Brosnan-era Bond and all his various gadgetry. The watch laser is a blast to use. There are plenty of explosives. Your arsenal grows across each level as you pick up dropped weapons and discover powerful ones. The action movie feel is in full effect.

Then there’s the multiplayer. As mentioned above, online multiplayer is only on Switch but there are no lobbies or anything. You have to invite friends to play a game, which is a big downer for sure. Each version supports 4-player split-screen though, allowing friendships to be ruined by accusations of treacherous screen-looking. All the classic maps and modes are there, though anything other than Proximity Mines only is a waste of time IMO.

Lethal creativity is the secret sauce of any good Bond moment.


The bottom line is that while the Xbox version is shaken to Nintendo’s stirred, both provide a trip down memory lane or a worthwhile lesson in gaming history. It’s obvious nearly 30 years later why this game was a phenomenon. Play it ASAP.

GoldenEye 007 is available on Xbox Game Pass and in the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. It’s also available for purchase on Xbox.

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