Two summers ago, Activision announced the rerelease of one of the most popular first person shooters ever with Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo Wii. With updated graphics (for the Wii…) and control, there was still something missing from the experience: players.
While the Wii has been a focus of the casual gaming market, the hardcore fanbase who would care most about the Goldeneye name had grown up and moved away from the Nintendo systems and their waggle controls and instead found their way to the XBox 360 or PlayStation 3. Enter San Diego Comic Con 2011 and Activision lets us take a peek at actual gameplay of the revamped Goldeneye 007: Reloaded. Business is about to pick up.
It’s hard to review a reimagining of a title without looking at the original inspiration at the same time. The most noticeable difference is gameplay. In the early days, people didn’t really know what a shooter should play like on a console and the gameplay compensated for the limited control scheme with the Nintendo 64’s single analog controller. Now, Goldeneye 007: Reloaded feels and plays like a standard twin stick shooter.
New to the series is the disappearance of health packs since the emergence of regenerating health which has become the industry standard in shooters since the initial release. What is nice though for the Goldeneye “purist” (if those even still exist) is that players can opt for the Classic difficulty setting which takes away regenerating health to give the game a more old school feel.
Also missing from the game which was surprising were Bond’s signature gadgets. Though the recent Daniel Craig Bond has shied away from these, people still remember items like the wrist watch laser that they used in their N64 to cut through steel grates. Now, everything goes through Bond’s smart phone. Hacking consoles, uploading pictures. Things that don’t seem as far away from real life as they did years ago.
Surprisingly, the game ends up having fairly poor AI. Some enemies will run back and forth between two points, firing from each and not advance on a target. Others will rush through a door that five others were shot as they passed through. It is even very rare for enemies to try and get an enemy out of cover effectively using grenades or other tactics like flanking properly.
Also new to the series is the Mi6 mode. Mi6 features a set of maps with different objectives. These include Elimination, Defense and Stealth. Each of these can be modified by adjusting the player’s health, enemy aggressiveness and other details which computes the mission’s difficulty score. These scores then get added to an online leaderboard for players to compare online with their friends. Since the game’s single player campaign isn’t incredibly long, this mode gives lots more single player replayability without tackling the same set of story missions over and allows players to challenge themselves with the optional modifiers.
Surprisingly (or not surprisingly depending on your perspective), the greatest weakness of Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is the multiplayer. Goldeneye’s multiplayer nostalgia thrives on the memories people have from sitting in a living room or dorm with their friends huddled around a single TV in a four person death match. With the change in the way multiplayer gaming has switched to online, it doesn’t have nearly the same impact and feel as it once did.
The four player matches on large maps lead to great games of cat and mouse but now, a lot of it feels just like any other shooter. The problem is the lobbies don’t have very many players online and some game types you can’t even find a single match and are stuck waiting for your own to fill up or the ones you do find for the most common game types are filled with the same group of people leading to frustratingly repetitive gameplay.
As a whole though, the Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is a competent action shooter. It has stealth elements integrated in it but they are not required (except in the Stealth Mi6 mode obviously) that leave it open for how players want to play through certain parts of the game. There is no way to play through totally stealthy though as there are some forced firefights. Make no mistake, the game is a shooter and doesn’t try to hide from it.
The story hits many of the same plot points of the original so don’t expect any surprises here, unless of course you never played the original or watched the movie in which case we will keep this spoiler free. The story of Goldeneye 007: Reloaded has that distinct Bond feel that everyone knows and loves. Characters hold true to their on screen counterparts even though the actors behind them have changed. Still though for the purists, this change might be a bit much for them to deal with but to those people we say relax.
Having fully animated and voice over scenes takes the shell of the original title and gives Goldeneye 007: Reloaded a much more fulfilling experience than just reading text. The game’s story is a standard six to eight hours depending on how long players take fulfilling all objectives in levels and if they try to pass through undetected or engaging in every firefight. It is worth noting that secondary objects are also not required to advance through the story, though they are needed to acquire the game’s achievements in many levels.
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded does a great job of recapturing the look and tone of the original Goldeneye. This time though, instead of the original Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig who is the current face of Bond takes the lead both visually and using his voiceover. The rest of the cast has been reworked as well giving a unique feel to this exploration of the Goldeneye story. The animations are crisp for the most part though there are points with the facial dubbing is off which can break immersion and remind players they are playing a game and not participating in a movie.
The audio is a drastic step up in quality. The original soundtrack featuring a new “Goldeneye” song as well as using known artists like Dead Mau5 help bring back that cinematic feel. The voice acting is stellar and doesn’t feel phoned in during the campaign and keeping Judy Dench’s classic voice as M helps complete the Bond package.
Fourteen years after the original Goldeneye took the N64 by storm, fanboy dreams have been answered by bringing the series to full next gen glory. The game is an awesome reimagining of the classic that does the single player justice, though the multiplayer has a whole different set of logistics to deal with. It is also a HARD time for a FPS to come out between both Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 which will inevitably make Goldeneye 007: Reloaded take a hit in terms of its online community.
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded does what it sets out to do and reimagines the classic franchise and does it justice at the same time. While the popularity may have waned and it won’t be the popular or critical success of the original, there is still a lot of fun and entertaining gameplay in Goldeneye 007: Reloaded for players both new and returning to the title.
XBox 360 (Also available on PlayStation 3)