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GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Review

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On 12/23/2011 at 02:08 PM by Esteban Cuevas

The newly re-imagined title comes back in glorious HD and manages to be fun, if uninspired.

Those who are fans of the N64 original and of shooters in general will enjoy this game. However, this will probably be a game you’ll play when there’s nothing else better.

The original Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 should have been just another movie tie-in game. However, with Rare at the helm, it became one of the most important games in video game history. The fast paced gameplay and incredible multiplayer made it one of the best games of 1997. After being a beloved game for 13 years, Activision (now holder of the James Bond license) released a reimagining of the game for the Nintendo Wii. Now that reimagining is available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and the rules are a bit different because of that.  Although there are shooters on the Wii, they are absolutely plentiful and then some on the PS3 and 360. So it’s not enough to be a good shooter; you need to be different as well. So does Goldeneye 007 Reloaded stand out from the crowd?

For better or worse, Reloaded doesn’t differ from other shooters in its controls. However, one way Reloaded sets itself apart is with its cover mechanic. Getting behind a low wall is done by simply ducking. It in no way locks you against the wall like in titles like Gears of War; however, when you pull the left trigger, which is to aim, you actually will rise up above cover automatically. This can be helpful when shooting enemies but this means that it’s impossible to aim down the sights while crouching, which will annoy players from time to time.

Also, melee attacks lack impact. From time to time, a scripted takedown will be activated in lieu of a standard bash with the butt of the gun. These are entertaining but the standard melee attacks have no recoil or feedback whatsoever. It ends up just feeling like you hit a button to make the enemy collapse. These complaints aside, controls are tight and responsive and just as good as any shooter out there.

The frame rate is stable but the graphics are generally a mixed bag. The game has been updated to HD for its release on the 360 and PS3 and is a noticeable improvement from the Wii version. For the Reloaded port, Goldeneye 007 was completely redone with a new graphics engine and it results in better facial and body animations. However, when you compare this title with other releases on the two platforms, the visuals fall short. Textures up close are pretty blurred and character models are not as detailed as they may at first appear. Also, for some reason, hands look weird in this game when they’re not holding a gun.

Environments are rather varied, ranging from snowy landscapes to nightclubs. However, there is an abundance of industrial buildings. Luckily, they are quite different in their interior design so that repetition doesn’t set in. Sound design is well done and features voiceovers from Daniel Craig as James Bond and Judi Dench as M.

Single player consists primarily of its campaign, which is a “reimagining” or retelling of the Nintendo 64 story, which itself is a interpretation of the film it’s based on. Some elements such as Bond using his phone to collect information are an example of how some of the gadgets have been updated to reflect current times. The campaign is a fast paced adventure with few lulls in the action and firefights are prevalent in each and every level. You do have the option to crouch and sneak up on enemies to do stealth takedowns and avoid being seen in order to prevent waves of reinforcements from showing up, but it’s much easier to treat Bond like Rambo, busting into the room guns blazing and shooting up the place until everything with a heartbeat stops moving. If you prefer strategy, this is not your game.

Difficulty is fair but challenging; I played the game on normal difficulty and I did find myself dying occasionally. None of these deaths were due to glitches or some kind of overpowered expert marksman henchman. In addition to all these firefights, there are missions such as hacking computers, neutralizing a helicopter and taking photographs of information. Also, there are emblems to find and destroy in each level. These help give you some more objectives to do. This all sounds well and good but therein also lies a problem.

While the action is good, and entertaining enough to keep your attention, everything feels extremely scripted and predictable. In a sense, it feels like a movie but unfortunately, not in a good way. The set pieces, the plot twists, the on-rails sequences all feel extremely artificial and it’s because of this the game lacks any kind of identity. Its soulless sequences make the campaign an interesting, if unmemorable experience.

Goldeneye 007 Reloaded also adds a new MI6 Ops mode not available in the Wii version. In this mode you pick a map and an objective, such as kill all the henchmen in the area. After completing this task, you’re given a star rating. If you complete these objectives with a better time and score, you’ll rise higher on the online leaderboards. For those who enjoy that sort of worldwide competition or some relatively quick arcade aspect to the gameplay, this mode is great for a quick fix, but nothing substantial.

However, a better decision would be to spend time on the multiplayer. As soon as you log in to the multiplayer servers, you’ll be presented with a long list of available modes of play. From Golden Gun to the new Escalation, where you show off your skills with a certain weapon before moving on to another one until someone goes through all of the weapons, variety seems to be this multiplayer’s family crest. Matches themselves tend to be more on the slower side, which some players may enjoy and others not, but gameplay is action packed, just like the single player, and death comes swiftly and often.

You’ll gain experience and level up as you play, improving your rating and eventually unlocking additional weapons and gadgets for your different load outs that you choose before starting a match. This feature is functional and is incentive to continue playing, as it’s practically standard for shooters now. Unfortunately, it also suffers from not being different enough from the rest of the FPS pack and will eventually end up feeling bland. Plus you have to wait a considerable amount of time before online matches can be started.

The greatest compliment I can give the multiplayer is the local portion of it, which allows up to four players on one console and is a great flashback to games of yore, before online multiplayer effectively killed off split screen play. It’s extremely easy to go into local multiplayer, perfect for a night with a group of friends. You got your two pizzas, one with pepperoni and bacon, the other with pepperoni and pineapple, you got your two 2-liters of soda, and you’ve got your console. “Hey guys, who wants to fire up some Goldeneye?” Did you think you would be saying those words 13 years after the original’s release?

 It may not reinvent the wheel in any way whatsoever and it may be hard to get a multiplayer match going online, but at the end of the day, Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is fun. No question about that. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the game or its gameplay. It’s a blast to play even if it’s not going to blow your mind. So throw on some Savage Garden and invite your friends over for a Goldeneye night. What? You guys don’t like Savage Garden? You don’t even remember them? “I Knew I Loved You”, “Crash and Burn”, “Truly Madly Deeply”? I don’t think we can be friends anymore…

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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