GoldenEye is now available to play on Nintendo Switch. Ah, how long we've waited to type that sentence! After 25 years as an N64 exclusive, Rare's seminal first-person shooter has finally escaped from its 64-bit confines and is now playable via a Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack subscription, or on Microsoft's Xbox.
However, anyone who has tried the game already on Switch may well have run into control issues. Frankly, the way the N64 pad inputs map to a modern dual stick controller is a bit messy to say the least, and the default layout is almost guaranteed to have you pressing the wrong buttons and pulling the wrong trigger — at least to begin with. On Xbox, it seems, the controls have been tweaked for dual-analogue control by default, but not on Switch. It's possible to remap buttons at a system level, of course, (and check out the video above to see Alex explain the simple steps), although remapping can be a minor hassle.
However, we've discovered a little trick that any Switch owner can use to quickly transform the controls into something a little closer to the dual-analogue setup that's become the standard for the genre over the past two decades. Granted, it's not the most comfortable control scheme, but it's a decent workaround for anyone who is struggling: Split your Joy-Con and swap the hands you're holding them in.
There's a little more to it. You'll also need to go into the in-game settings via the pause screen and switch the control type from the default '1.1 Honey' to '1.2 Solitare', but by switching your left Joy-Con to your right hand and vice versa, the 'left' trigger pulls up your sights and the 'right' one becomes the trigger — just as you'd find in any standard FPS these days. It also puts WASD movement on the 'left' analogue stick while you look with the 'right', just as normal.
For reference, here are the instructions in bullet points, 'cause we're nice like that:
- Start the game as per normal, using two Joy-Con as a single controller (hold 'L' on the left and 'R' on the right)
- Once you're in a level, pause immediately, go to the Controls screen on your watch and switch the style from '1.1 Honey' to '1.2 Solitare'
- Also, change the 'Look Up/Down' setting to 'Upright' if you want to invert the default Look controls
- Unpause the game and put the left Joy-Con in your right hand and vice versa
- Play GoldenEye on Switch with controls that feel more natural in 2023
Is it perfect? Obviously not. Switching weapons or opening doors isn't so easy anymore. However, it's a decent workaround if you're just not clicking with the unwieldy default NSO layout and don't want to screw up your other games by remapping buttons.
ALTERNATIVELY, as we mentioned, you can use the Switch's system-level button remapping feature to switch the sticks from Left to Right, and, optionally, also remap ZR>ZL, and ZL>R.
This has the advantage of you not having to switch your Joy-Con between hands and also working with the Switch Pro Controller. The disadvantage here is that you'll have to manually change the buttons back again to function 'normally' with other games, although you can save the setup as a preset to quickly change between them. Either way, there's no need to struggle with the default layout — you've got options!
Of course, we would definitely recommend playing this one with the official Nintendo Switch Online N64 pad if you've got it, but those have been in very short supply ever since they debuted, with stock disappearing the moment it pops up on Nintendo's online stores. If you're not lucky enough to have one of those, remap those buttons or give this unconventional setup a go and let us know if it helped!
(Also, don't forget to switch the ratio to 16:9 in the settings for a full widescreen experience — a first for any game on Switch Online, we think. It looks sharp!)
How does that work for you? Have you found a better workaround, using two controllers perhaps? Let us know in the polls and the comments below.
Here’s some suggestions to fix the controls on Switch. The menu option is awkward - there’s 4 screens in the menu (use d-pad to toggle thru)
Change the default control option from 1.1 honey to 1.3 kissy
Change default look up & down from Reverse to Upright
Change Aspect Ratio from Normal to 16:9
Why not just use the built-in button remapping?
@Ainze Beat me to it!
And this is why I NEED an N64 controller for switch, before I play this,
RE-STOCK IT UK NINTENDO STORE! And then lose my order/send it back to the warehouse and give me no reason for it, and then chuck the item as you cant re-sell the item to me
Here's another tip, trade your Switch for an xbox!
Handheld mode sounds like a problem then?
I got lucky with a N64 stock drop. You just need to follow the Discord stock alerts and they pop up every so often.
Best fix: buy an N64 controller. Oh wait never in stock 🤦♂️
PS: I have one from the first batch. But I can imagine how frustrating it is for people who don’t have one.
@TKundNobody I had to beg a friend to sell me one of theirs. It's insane how hard they are to get.
The controls are a disaster. While I thought of flipping joy cons, that's no good for handheld mode.
I found the best solution is play on Agent mode. It's so easy that the controls don't matter.
I feared GE would be a disaster, which is why I already stop the renewal for the online expansion.
I bought the N64 Controller solely for this game. Appreciate they can be tricky to get ahold of, but just wait until you have one and then play it properly.
Anyone playing without the N64 Controller is going to get very frustrated! Especially with the online... you're going to be losing a lot !
Seeing as I can’t get the N64 controller for switch I will have to play this on game pass but that means having no online multiplayer as it’s exclusive to switch what a ball ache absolutely ridiculous
I purchased the Expansion pass so I could buy N64 joysticks in anticipation of Goldeneye coming to Switch. And now it’s here! The controls aren’t as I remember them, but the game is perfection…
The 1.3 Kissy Control Style works wonders for me.
Made a thread on Reddit yesterday explaining how to do this, but it seems people are figuring it out on their own
It reminds me when I started playing Timesplitters 2 on Gamecube after years of "1.2 solitaire" on N64. It took me a while to get use to move with the left stick and aim with the right stick. It's a shame that Nintendo didn't remap the controls by default, twin sticks FPS controls have been standard for 20 years now (Halo CE was released in 2003).
But hey, it's Nintendo. At least Goldeneye is officially available, which is a miracle on its own. And there are solutions thanks to the greats options available in the base game and the system level customisable controls.
I wish I could buy the game, I really don't like the subscription model.
I also made Y into B and B into A.
The only issue I still have is that the sensitivity is realllllly high. So fine aiming with the sights is frustrating. At least the helpful auto aim works well.
Having great success with 1.2 Solitaire, and then System map ZL to R, ZR to ZL, Y to B, X to A, and swap the sticks. Feels like a normal shooter. Don't know what everyone's problem is.
I attempted to do something similar to this where I swapped the X axis on both sticks, normal walking works great, strafe with L stick and rotate with R stick, but the controls for the aiming reticule become a mess. Something like the R stick controls the X axis and the L stick controls the Y axis, it's just unusable.
@Panopticon Yeah, that'll happen unless you change the in-game controls to 1.2 Solitaire.
EDIT: And swap the L and R sticks entirely. Not just the X axis.
@Ainze That convoluted button mapping process is the problem. Most people don't read this site and the mapping must be done for each session. There should be a Switch controller option in the game settings. It's really sloppy work. As an aside, the system mapping doesn't recognise the Hori Split Pad Pro, so your great idea goes to waste for me.
@HalBailman I totally get your point, although it can be saved as a preset, rather than doing all the mapping each time. Still, your proposal would be far far better.
@Ainze I'll look into it when I play on TV. Much thanks for the information.
I wish both joy cons had the sticks at the top. I really can't stand the asymmetric sticks and both down low like on PS isn't always that comfortable. I still find the Wii U Gamepad to be the perfect setup and controller.
I have an N64 controller from the first announcement/drop so I’m one of the luckies but I feel for y’all without one. I won’t even play my Switch N64 handheld or without the N64 controller because it just doesn’t feel right. I feel like I need to relearn the controls every time and that’s just not fun. Luckily muscle memory is retained for the N64 controller! I can fire that watch laser from the damn hip.
Playing the game on xbox now, the controls are good, I dont know why they dont use the same xbox confg on the Switch versión, the xbox versión even have dead zone confg and look sensitivity.
@Zisssou are you in the UK? I've been trying to get one of those damn controllers for over a year.
Quite why Nintendo didn't offer some custom control schemes or add a remap feature to the emulator I don't know. They put a custom scheme in for Sin & Punishment (by making the right analogue stick also work as the stick), so they can do it if they want to.
There are many things I like about my Steam Deck, but by far and away the #1 feature is the ability to configure every single aspect of the controls on a per game basis. You can change any button to be any controller button, keyboard key or mouse button, as well as adding gyro aiming to any game and tweaking every aspect of it to the nth degree. It has been an absolute revelation to me.
@CaptChaos yep UK. I was in the same boat. I just setup an alert and suddenly it popped up.
Nintendo Life. You legends. Just swap the joy-cons.
Yeah I will remap the sticks and buttons if I'm playing for a long time but if all I have time for is a couple of Goldeneye minutes then this swapping joy-cons actually works really well.
Love the switch, but this is up there on the dummy scale. They knew people wanted this game and now we’ve got to jump through hoops to play it comfortably?
The standard control setup is terrible on Switch, but much better on Xbox. Literally night and day unfortunately...
Considering it took so long to get this game to be re-released you would think Nintendo could have sorted out the controls better.
The n64 controller is great but it’s still hard to remember how to play with one stick!
I wish they would put the controllers in retail bundled with a code for NSO expansion.
@BionicDodo Custom layouts are an absolute dream on Steam Deck. Every time I play a game that would benefit from gyro I go straight to community layouts and there’s always one that’s perfectly tuned and set up ready to go, it’s awesome.
I never played GoldenEye on the N64, so this is the first time I've played it. And it's also my first FPS. (So I had to learn the controls for the first time.)
@larryisaman I do use some community layouts, but I also love tweaking the controls myself. I particularly find that with a bit of effort first person games can be tweaked from really difficult to control to pretty much perfect, which is saying something as I've always been pretty much a keyboard and mouse or nothing guy when it comes to FPS. Also, why doesn't every controller have those four back buttons?!
It sounds like we need another Flip Grip. 😂
My main struggle is how heavily Bond breathes when I'm trying to snipe. Was that a deliberate design choice? It's like "hold this button to toggle on both zoom and Joy Con drift."
Turok had the best setup with movement on the C-buttons and looking/aiming with the left stick (which, yes, is an option in Goldeneye too), somehow that's the only controller FPS configuration that makes any sense to me, with keyboard+mouse being obv superior.
I’m just going to play the Xbox version tbh. But I knew that before the game released
@BoFiS you could do that with goldeneye though
I’m going back to halo 😊😆
Nintendo really just needs to allow control configuration options in the N64 emulator. Otherwise the best option here is switching the control layout from left to right.
N64 controller all the way!
It was hard when I first started playing but after a couple of hours I was playing just fine. The only real issue is the aiming controls due to the difference in how the control sticks work.
Stop’n Swop strikes again.
The button remap works great for me.
@JayJ and to save them by game.
They also need that in the regular Switch OS.
Shouldn't be that hard. Small indie company.
@Doomcrow I logged on to say this. 1.2 doesn't fix the controls issue. It just makes it the same 2 stick movements as 1.1. 1.3 actually changes the sticks to forward and back movement with turning. The other stick will be aim up/down with strafing. You have to remap the sticks so you control with the left. Aim is ZL...fire is A. The only thing you can't do in this setup is peek. You're unable to aim, strafe left for the peek, and press A at the same time.
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