Review: GoldenEye 007 Reloaded

Platform: PlayStation 3 (also on Xbox 360)

Developer: Eurocom

Publisher: Activision

# of Players 1 – 4 (Online 1 – 16)

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A

Eurocom’s high quality reworking of Rare’s Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007 was truly amazing on the Wii last year, but on the PS3, it’s the definitive version of the game and an absolute must-buy. GoldenEye: Reloaded adds HD resolution (1080p!), a new MI-6 Ops mode, tight controls with the PlayStation Move and gameplay that rockets along at a solid 60 frames per second. A solid single player campaign and fun multiplayer modes that feature a ridiculous amount of customization options makes this the perfect package for novice to expert shooter fans alike. Don’t let the timing of the release (sliding neatly between BF3 and MW3)  fool you one bit. No matter which mode you hop into first, what’s here can easily stand on the same ground as other modern shooters.

The campaign mode updates both the film the N64 game, dropping Pierce Brosnan in favor of today’s Bond, Daniel Craig (who provides his likeness and voice). There’s an arms dealer to take down, some globetrotting to do and plenty of enemies to take down in numerous ways. Stealth plays a huge key in the game, as you’ll find the best way to avoid firefights is to kill silently and move on as much as possible. Granted, you can play through the bulk of the game as a pure shooter, but the game feels a lot more rewarding when you mix things up as much as possible. On the easiest setting, some of the enemy AI and the no-fault auto-targeting system make popping out of cover and taking down the bad guys far too easy to the point of the game almost playing itself. Thankfully, you can adjust the options so you’ve got a bit more challenge.

Outside of the combat, the game uses a highly cinematic style that really puts you in Bond’s shoes. Activision’s past few Call of Duty games were no doubt key influences on Eurocom in making this reboot and some of the more exciting portions outside of the gameplay are where the camera takes over and shows off a dynamic set piece that has brief to no interaction from the player. While taking control from the user for a cut scene isn’t a new thing in gaming, it works spectacularly here because the illusion is near flawless. The game flows between you playing as Bond and a series of cinemas shown primarily from his viewpoint that add to the level of immersion.

While the campaign can be completed in around 10 – 12 hours depending on your skill level, the game is highly replayable. Bumping up the difficulty adds new objectives, new areas and tougher opposition. It’s great to replay a map and find a door or passageway originally blocked off or otherwise inaccessible now open and allowing Bond to do a bit more exploring and dispatching of enemies. Also, there’s MI-6 Ops, a new game mode that is packed to the gills with single player objective based challenges, all tallied and uploaded to an online leaderboard. The Time Trial mode found in the Wii versions is absent from the game, but I really didn’t miss it at all. Given that the campaign tracks your time anyway (and you’re hinted at how “fast” you need to complete a map anyway), I’d say that MI-6 Ops is a better addition.

As for that multiplayer, it’s purely insane how much there is to offer. Between the 40+ customizable characters, the different maps and all sorts of ways to tweak and play, there’s a never-ending party in this package. grab up to three friends for a paintball party in your house with split screen play, or take it online for some more serious competition with up to 16 players. Sure, the number of folks who can run about blasting each other is smaller than certain other shooters, but there always seems to be people around to play with (some nicer than others, as usual) and finding matches is pretty quick overall.

As this is an Activision published shooter, yes, the game borrows a few popular elements from the Call of Duty games. XP is absolutely in play for multiplayer, so if you’re one of those point-crazy gamers, you can go for those kills and rack up the bonuses. PS3 owners get an extra playable avatar for MP in the form of Hugo Drax and they also get his sort of goofy-looking laser pistol, which is pretty deadly.  Personally, I don’t play a lot of multiplayer shooters, but there’s something automatically hilarious and grand about introducing new players to GoldenEye. That first few minutes (or few matches) when a new player hasn’t figured out EVERYONE cheats by looking at the radar, or how someone picking Oddjob isn’t to be trifled with thanks to that damn flying bowler cap… Yeah, those moments are priceless…

Even if you’re a diehard fan of the Wii game and the film it’s based on, it’s impossible to deny that Reloaded looks and plays far better than before. PS3 owners who happen to have a Move and Navigation controller combo (with or without the Sharpshooter attachment) will find pinpoint shooting control is excellent. Yes, things are great with the standard Dual Shock 3 as well, but it’s nice to see more great games using the Move so well. Music and sounds are the same excellence as in the Wii version, although now that I think about it, I’d have preferred the old style classic Bond theme than the modern remix that plays through the credits.

Some core gamers out there are probably going to ignore this latest version for any number of reasons, but I say doing so is a huge mistake if you can afford a few games this time of the year. GoldenEye 007 Reloaded is an excellently made instant classic in its own right and should be a game you buy without hesitation. Particularly if you’re immune to the military shooters and their endless hype and want something a lot less jingoistic and a bit more unique in a few areas.  As there’s finally been a new Bond film announced (SkyFall), I wouldn’t be surprised if Activision has given Eurocom a call about whipping up a game based on the upcoming movie. Granted, less than a year is a short time to make a game, but let’s see what happens and hope that if there IS a new Bond game, it’s as good as or even better than this slice of greatness.

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