The movie GoldenEye, starring Pierce Brosnan, was a ho-hum experience, as far as the James Bond franchise is concerned. However, GoldenEye 64, the video game adaption, was certainly not, and for many people it was the game that took the FPS genre to new heights. It’s genre predecessors only controlled well on PC, and lacked a form of solid storytelling. But Rare’s GoldenEye 64 functioned well on consoles and offered a massive single player campaign with a cohesive story, all the while maintaining an excellent, addictive multiplayer experience that could be enjoyed seemingly forever. Until now that is. If you have played GoldenEye 64 at all recently, you will notice that the graphics are blocky, the textures are blurry, the framerate drops and the controls are awkward. It is still an enjoyable gaming experience, but does not hold the value that it used to. Since modern FPS games have become so popular and polished, GoldenEye needed an update…badly!
Last year, Activision’s remake of GoldenEye, titled GoldenEye 007 for Wii, delivered a great experience in a genre that was seriously lacking on Nintendo’s home console, and really pushed the system’s capibilities. Everything worked. The single player experience was great. The multiplayer component, whether played in split screen or online, was fantastic as well. The problem was that the game was not coming to Xbox 360 or PS3, where most of the “hardcore” FPS fans spend a lot of their time. Flash forward twelve months, and now the same game is being released with a new graphical coat of paint and some added features for the both HD consoles. But will all of those people who whined about the game being a Wii exclusive support Goldeneye 007: Reloaded in a season inundated with quality FPS titles, or will the game fade into obscurity?
Lets start off with the controls. I’m going to quickly sum it up for everyone. Have you played Call of Duty? Well if you have, you know how to play GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, and if not, where have you been for the past 5 years? Seeing as the game is developed by Activision, this shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Plus, the controls are comfortable, which makes the game feel even more familiar than it does already. However, the lack of a jump button will take some adjustment. Instead GoldenEye 007: Reloaded opts for a context sensitive button, which is okay, but limits your movement. Also, not being able to go prone, well, that just feels wrong. These oversights keep Reloaded from truly feeling like a modern game. It’s funny though, as much flak as the Wii gets, its version of GoldenEye feels like a better experience in many ways. The variety of control schemes are nice on Wii and PS3. On Wii you can use the classic controller, Gamecube controller, Sharpshooter or Wii remote/nunchuk combo. On PS3 you can use the Sixaxis or the Move wand (which still doesn’t feel quite as good as Wii remote). On 360, you are left with the regular gamepad. However, even with the limited options on the HD consoles, it still allows you the ability to peek over obstacles to get that quick shot off from behind cover.
"...this is a great Bond game, probably the best since the GoldenEye 64."
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is basically the same experience as it was on the Nintendo Wii, barring a few alterations which we will delve into. It is an updated re-imagining of the Nintendo 64 classic. The story of the game (the same as the movie) has been reworked to make it more modern and realistic. It is no longer the Pierce Brosnan Bond, but the Daniel Craig Bond. This adds to the realism in that the experience is much more hands-on and rough. The action is fierce and quick, and Bond is a beast! The elaborate gadgets (i.e. the laser watch, etc.) have been replaced by a smartphone, which basically tackles most of your espionage needs. Your phone is used as a camera, a hacking tool and multi tool. It’s integrated well and adds to the Bond/super spy feeling. This is an experience that needed to be available to the masses. The graphics aren’t great, but are a step up from the Wii offering, and still offer some pretty good visuals (this time the Night Club level has fully modelled characters dancing instead of blacked out silhouettes). The horsepower of your system won’t be pushed to the limit, and you will see it in some of the bland environments. The game was great looking on the Wii and will serve it’s purposes well on higher powered consoles, but won’t blow you away. You will still be able to make out the Wii game’s roots, with a slick coat of paint on top. On top of all of that, the single player experience feels lengthier than most of the other big games on the market (COD and Battlefield). In addition, I still have the urge to go back and play with a different style (stealthy or guns blazing?). Some levels put you in on-rails sections, or driving a tank and destroying everything in your path. I can set a different difficulty, which changes the objectives (because enemy A.I. may not offer the challenge you want), and I can even hunt down a couple of little secrets. Not too bad for a pumped up Wii title.
The audio is a strength in Reloaded. Mostly ripped straight from the Wii game, the voice acting and soundtrack are pretty awesome. You’ll hear plenty of distinctive Bond sounds. Judy Dench and Daniel Craig lend their voices, and the soundtrack includes Bond-style music which suits the atmosphere. My real problem is the guns. They sound okay, but don’t offer the oomph that we’ve become accustomed to over this console cycle., which is a real shame. On top of that, another minor gripe is the looping tracks in menus. They will get a little annoying.
Everyone remembers just how well the multiplayer games of GoldenEye was. Playing with friends on one television made for many late and great nights, and the same can be said here. There is no character choice in online multiplayer, but it does exist in split screen, which is a nice option. Some of the weapons here are fantastic, and you’ll notice the variety, which even changes depending on which classic villain or hero you choose to play as. You can throw Oddjob’s hat, and some characters even alter some of your skills, giving the ability to reload faster, gain health faster…so on and so forth. You can choose to play as a number of popular and surprising Bond villains, BUT NOT AS PIERCE BROSNAN’s BOND! Why not!? Although I like the retelling of the story with Daniel Craig as Bond, split screen multiplayer belongs to Pierce! It’s just a minor gripe, but it would make it a little more nostalgic. Isn’t nostalgia what this game was made for? You’ll have a bunch of fun with a few friends, screaming and laughing about being cheap or amazing deaths and some cool customizable game modes.
Here is the real surprise: Can you believe that the Wii’s online component fairs better? Well it’s true (as of now). Although the Xbox 360 and PS3 may have added online levels and modes, it is hard to find a match. I’ll attribute it to a lower install base on these consoles and a strong lineup of FPS games this fall, but it is a severe shame. The set of maps that come with GoldenEye: Reloaded offer a ton of variety. Regardless of which one you choose, you should be able to find a use for any weapon type you like, and the action is always quick and frantic. Although, I do need to note that the online does deliver some really archaic multiplayer menus. Loadouts can only be customized from outside of an online game lobby, which is irritating and makes you jump back and forth from game to loadouts and back into a brand new game. This is simply awful. Loadouts should be customizable from game lobbies at the very least. Even with all of the great multiplayer modes, you’ll be challenged to find online games of Golden Gun, GoldenEye, Escalation… which sucks, because these were great modes on Wii.
I still consider GoldenEye for Wii a great game. It brought something that the Wii was missing, something built especially for it. On the Xbox 360 and PS3, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded feels somewhat like a retread. Sure, the campaign is lengthy and has multiple ways to progress through levels, the MI6 Ops missions are there, and the online modes are varied and many, however, this is commonplace on Sony and Microsoft’s systems. What made this special on the Wii is that it was on a system without a lot of great FPS experiences. Now what we see is that, while Reloaded is still a good game, it doesn’t stand out among all of the Call of Dutys and Battlefields on store shelves, this year especially. It is really unfortunate too, because this is a great Bond game, probably the best since the GoldenEye 64. Had it been released another year, without being pegged in between Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3, Goldeneye 007: Reloaded may have been able to stand out in an increasingly crowded genre.
Release date : 2011-11-01
Publisher : Activision
Developer : Eurocom Entertainment
Gameplay : Shooter
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