PS3
4 stars
Amazon
64.99
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Overall Grade
4 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Game Itself
4 Stars
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
3 Stars
The Audio: Rating the Sound
4 Stars
Replay Factor
3.5 Stars

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded

Street Date:
November 1st, 2011
Reviewed by:
Review Date:1
November 10th, 2011
Game Release Year:
2011
Platform:
PS3
Publisher:
Activision
Developer:
Eurocom
ESRB Rating:
T (Teen)

Introduction

Bond, James Bond. The most famous spy in the history of the genre. A character who has been immortalized in over twenty films, many books, and an increasing amount of video games. In the past three gaming generations, countless Bond games have come and gone. Some of them were good (Everything and Nothing from last gen springs to mind), others not so much (the disappointing movie tie-in for Quantum of Solace did the series no favors). But without a doubt, the most acclaimed and revered Bond game to date was the one that started it all: Goldeneye. Originally released on the Nintendo 64, the game was most memorable for its split-screen multiplayer that inspired epic gaming sessions. Anyone who had a Nintendo 64 remembers just how fun it was to get three friends over for a long night of Goldeneye’s multiplayer. The game proved so popular that EA saw fit to commission a remake. The Wii version has been out for several months, and now we belatedly see a release on the other consoles. Does this version scale the same heights as the original, or does it fail to recapture the magic?

The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Goldeneye Reloaded is not a hi-res redo of the original game. Rather, it’s a new game that uses the original as a foundation to create a new experience. The biggest change is immediately obvious. In the years between the N64 game and this one, Bond actor Pierce Brosnan has come and gone, replaced by Daniel Craig in the films and for this game. Some players may lament the loss of Brosnan, and I will admit it does feel strange to play through classic moments without him, but Craig has proven himself as Bond on film, so ultimately I have no problem with him taking over here either.

After that initial shock, the other changes become more apparent. While Goldeneye is loosely based on the film of the same name, it takes plenty of liberties in the details, providing you with a different take on events. This allows for some immaculately crafted levels. The main gameplay tactic is stealth, and you’ll certainly spend a lot of time crouched down and sneaking through vents. Should a firefight break out, though, you’ll find the game has the same sharply honed shooting mechanics that the original did.

Interestingly, for a game that relies so heavily on stealth, there’s no real penalty for being seen and shooting your way through a level. Compare this to something like Metal Gear Solid, where you get bonuses for getting through levels without ever being detected, and this lack of consequences feels a bit surprising. In fact, unlike so many stealth games these days, once you take out a target, he quickly disappears, leaving no trace. In most games of this kind, the body would remain to be discovered unless you had the foresight to hide it out of the way. Given how tight the shooting mechanics are, perhaps the developers wanted you to blow holes in bad guys more often than not.

One of the best things about Goldeneye Reloaded is how each level is constructed to allow for different tactics. Hidden routes are littered throughout each area, some of them not even apparent until second or third play throughs. There’s certainly a main path that is very obvious, but half the fun is in finding the alternate routes. And in later levels, when the difficulty ramps up considerably (perhaps even too sharply), finding and using these roads less traveled become almost a necessity if you want to make it through alive.

If you just want to recapture your glory days as the best shooter among your group of friends, Goldeneye Reloaded is ready to accommodate with classic four-player split screen multiplayer. You can play as several famous characters from the Bond series, some of them with their own attacks (Oddjob throws his hat, just as you would hope). As an added incentive to buy the game new, packed in the case is a voucher for Hugo Drax from the 1979 film Moonraker and his laser gun. The multiplayer is as fun as it was back in the N64 days; a joy undiminished by the passage of time.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Goldeneye was first developed for the Wii and only given a release on the other consoles after a window of exclusivity. For the 360 and PS3 the graphics have supposedly been updated, but honestly, Goldeneye Reloaded looks like a Wii game. Character models are blocky and stiff. Even Bond himself (for the few times you see him as the game is mainly first person) looks severe. Textures are not particularly detailed, and animations feel less than natural. The game plays very well, but it clearly was not built from the ground up for these more powerful consoles.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

As mentioned, Daniel Craig takes over voice duties as Bond. Bond feels more terse here than he does in some of the other recent Bond titles, but when he does pipe up you know you’re getting the real deal. Judi Dench returns as M, head of MI6, giving Bond his mission briefings. Other than those two, the voice acting isn’t particularly distinguished but it gets the job done. The best element of the sound are in the wide variety of weapons you get to use. They all have their own sounds, and they are oh so satisfying when they connect and you hear your target crumple to the floor.

Replay Factor

Goldeneye on the Wii featured time trials, where you could replay missions from the game with an eye to getting through as quickly as possible. The time trials were taught and completely changed the way you played the game. Inexplicably, they’ve been removed for Goldeneye Reloaded, replaced by MI6 Ops Mode, which give you specific objectives to complete. These don’t quite make up for the loss of Time Trial Mode, but with 40 of them available, you’ll certainly have your hands full.

The main campaign itself also offers a lot of replayability, as harder difficulties offer additional objectives to complete that aren’t even mentioned in lower difficulties. And if you play on the hardest setting, your health no longer regenerates, forcing you instead to find health packs. This significantly ramps up the challenge as stealth becomes even more vital.

Final Thoughts

Goldeneye Reloaded pulls off a major feat: It manages to recall a great game of the past without simply rehashing it. However, it’s not without a few flaws. The graphics, originally designed for the Wii, feel decidedly last gen. If you already own the Wii version of the game, there’s no reason to upgrade. In fact, it’s hard to call this an upgrade because it drops the exciting Time Trial Mode, replacing it with the less interesting MI6 Ops. Still, these few issues aside, Goldeneye Reloaded is a smart, sharp first person shooter that should satisfy anyone’s desire for a license to kill.

Tech Specs:

  • Blu-ray

Video Resolution/Codec

  • 480p
  • 720p
  • 1080i
  • 1080p

Audio Formats

  • Dolby Digital

Multiplayer Mode(s)

  • Online Versus
  • Split-screen

Motion Controls

  • Yes

Exclusive HD Content

  • Hugo Drax Multiplayer Character and Moonraker Laser Pistol

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