GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Review
Now, I did not play GoldenEye 007 when it came out for the Nintendo 64, and that’s because I hated that system. So at first, I thought I wouldn’t be the right person to review this new version. But there are two facts to consider: firstly, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded really isn’t exactly like its classic predecessor; in fact, the difference is drastic. Secondly, shouldn’t Activision want to cater to gamers who might enjoy a rebuffed gem…? Ala me? If you don't agree, ignore this review. :)
It’s about standing the test of time, and those who weren’t in love with the first game won’t be biased, right? From a visual standpoint, I’d have to say that Eurocom did a bang-up job, giving us a proper modern presentation that respects the old-school style without sacrificing polish. The effects and detail are surprisingly good in some places, and the fantastic diversity (exhibited throughout the game, in all respects) forces the developers to maintain that impressive atmosphere at all times. Some of the environments look a little bland but let’s not nitpick.
Sound-wise, we get the expected solid voice acting, a gripping orchestral score reminiscent of the movies, and a solid set of special effects that enhance both the quiet and explosive elements. Strangely, though, they removed Pierce Brosnan and replaced him with current Bond guy, Daniel Craig. Not that it’s a problem from an audio standpoint – both are fine actors – but I just found it a little odd. Like the graphics, not everything is rosy and glittering but again, I’m not gonna get anal.
For those of you looking for a complete, diverse campaign that is highly rewarding, look no further. Although everyone remembers the multiplayer fun they had with GoldenEye, this is one game that thrives on its single-player adventure. Featuring vehicles, multiple difficulty levels (Classic 007 changes the game entirely, as your health won’t regenerate), and player choice, this is exactly what most are looking for. You can be stealthy or go in guns-a-blazin’, and there are plenty of awesome weapons.
The control is super smooth and extremely reliable; about as good as you’re going to get without the heavier, more realistic physics we’re accustomed to these days. But speaking of which, I have to say, some will complain about the outdated feel: the AI isn’t great, there isn’t anything flashy about the combat itself, and blood won’t be flying. It just doesn’t match the white-knuckle intensity and gripping, movie-scriped drama of current campaigns like Battlefield 3 and Killzone 3.
So in that respect, those who really don’t care that we’re looking at a nostalgic romp may be disappointed. But I’m not disappointed in the slightest. Sure, it feels a little light and can’t measure up in terms of sheer flash and panache, but it makes up for that lacking with rock solid, entertaining gameplay. The variety of the missions, the patented Bond atmosphere, and the great pacing of the campaign kept me coming back for more, even with a ton of other modern productions to play.
If you jump online, you can play with up to 15 other players. Those sharp controls remain and the fun just never stops; you’ll unlock new gadgets and weapons, and the maps are fantastic. As I understand it, there are more maps and modes than GoldenEye has ever seen, so this robust, rewarding multiplayer is once again a big draw. You can also play offline with up to three buddies, and you can fiddle with options (sticky grenades!) and other cool modifiers.
Honestly, if some of you are wondering why this game costs $60, it’s because it has more content than you think. The multiplayer is awesome enough, but the campaign could take you close on to 12 hours, and it’s just great. Yeah, the AI is old-fashioned and the story isn’t overly compelling, but there’s always something new to do. I didn’t particularly like looking around for intelligence because the photo target can be hard to locate with your Smartphone, but other than that… Great fun. It just flows so nicely and over time, becomes quite addictive.
Also, don’t forget about the brand new Mi6 Ops mode, which offers single-player challenges that have sort of replaced the Time Trials (those are gone, by the way). You have to complete a specific objective in the new mode, and your rating depends on your quickness and efficiency. The missions here aren’t quite as intriguing as the objectives in the campaign, but they add depth. Basically, you could spend a ton of time with the Mi6 Ops missions, multiplayer, and distinct difficulty levels in the campaign. So yeah, it’s a complete package.
I didn’t play GoldenEye back in the day. But this is a pretty great game overall, despite the fact that it doesn’t have the “oomph” of current productions. The diversity and pacing is appreciated, the control is spot-on, the weapons are great, and the campaign is completely satisfying. The multiplayer is crazy entertaining and the Mi6 Ops mode adds plenty to the experience. I don’t like a few of the elements and features but mostly, I enjoyed myself. Nothin’ wrong with that.
The Good: Great Bond-esque atmosphere. Top-notch voices. Diverse, satisfying campaign. Smooth control. Blend of stealth and action is awesome. Multiplayer is a blast. Lots of good content.
The Bad: Graphics can seem flat at times. AI is outdated. Lack of flash, and a few less-than-impressive gameplay elements.
The Ugly: “Nothing ugly about an overhauled classic, especially when it’s done right.”
11/3/2011 Ben Dutka