I have a lot of memories of the original N64 GoldenEye 007 that came out in 1997, although the funny thing is that I never really played it. Most of my memories came from the sheer amazement of how popular that game was. Every other college dorm room had the game playing with 2-4 people playing with them. The game was definitely the point at which game studios realized that there is money in having an addicting multiplayer. I can only imagine how big the phenomenon would have been if online multiplayer had been around for consoles back then.
Cut to now and the release of GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, an HD update for the classic game. Does it captures the addictiveness of the first game, or are left with a studio getting some quick cash?
Let’s begin with the single-player campaign. Those expecting a loyal recreation of the story of the actual 1995 movie, or the N64 game for that matter, will be a little disappointed here. The game makes a lot of changes to the plot in this one, and even cuts some events out completely. On top of that, all the characters are completely different. Pierce Brosnan (despite being the actual star of the film) has been replaced with Daniel Craig, the current Bond. Characters are either completely different (the magic that was Xenia Onatopp is gone completely) or they have been completely removed (Boris Grishenko apparently wasn’t invincible enough) from the story. Which is a shame, because the original GoldenEye had some of the most memorable characters of any Bond film to date.
Graphically, while the game doesn’t look terrible, you can tell very much it’s an update of a N64 game. The textures look terrible on a lot of objects, to a point that some areas look like an amateur created them. Some items like the guns look like they were taken straight from the old game. In terms of being an “HD update” it’s a pretty lazy attempt. Granted, this may have been on purpose to give the game a more “like the original” feel to it, which may please fans of the classic. However, for myself after playing HD updates for Metal Gear Solid and the Team ICO collections, it’s a little disheartening.
The game play lived up to my expectations. It was very much like playing a history lesson in gaming, as a lot of the stuff that’s normal in FPS games now is in here, such as the button layout and look. I also enjoy how the game gives you the choice on whether you want to be stealthy or a killing machine. This is one of the few games I’ve played that gives you some benefit towards being stealthy. Being silent and deadly means not only that you don’t get shot at but you also have to deal with fewer enemies to deal with as well. Becoming John Rambo and shooting everyone in the room alerts more people in the area to where you are, and you end up dealing with double the original amount of enemies.
The game is fun, which is the most important detail. I had fun sneaking around and subduing enemies, as well as simply shooting people. For the most part, I felt like 007. I say for the most part because the big let down for me was gadgets. Instead of any of the gadgets from the movie, you get a smartphone. That’s it. You simply get a phone with a lot of great apps. It kind of kills the spectacle of being Bond when I technically have the same tools that he does.
Some other critiques I have for the game is the length of time of the single player campaign. The solo game is short, even with secondary objectives. The game is very linear, and the levels are really short. You could probably wrap this game up in 6 hours, maybe less. I guess Activision was focusing its attention to the multiplayer, but that’s a shame that the story mode took such a backseat. The original GoldenEye was a topnotch 007 film, and it’s a shame they neutered the story and characters like they did.
New to this remake of GoldenEye is a special mode known as MI6 mode. In this mode, you play survival different missions that focus on offensive, defensive, or stealth missions. While some may find these missions to be a nice timeout from the multiplayer and single player modes, I found them boring. They didn’t add anything to my overall experience in the game, I didn’t get anything from playing the missions, and I ended up wanting to play the other modes again. However, it does make for some good practice, but you can easily get that by just playing through the game.
Now for the part everyone has been waiting for — the multiplayer. Good news, as the mode does not disappoint. In fact, this has to be some of the most customizable multiplayer that I’ve ever seen. There are 13 different modes you can play in, ranging from classic death matches, bomb defuse, and survival (Escalation); the game has plenty for you to do. You can do this on your own or with a clan (which you can create and invite people to). As you play more and more games, your profile level goes up, which unlocks more guns and skins to customize your character with. I enjoyed the multiplayer, and highly recommended it.
One thing to mention, as it’s surprisingly a big deal for players of the original game, but the maps for multiplayer are different now. I suppose this has to do with the developers wanting to give new players to the game some sort of advantage. Players I’ve talked to were really ticked off at this, but obviously I had no qualm with it, as I rarely played the original.
I did enjoy GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. It was a nice game for what it was, a nice little throwback to a really awesome game. However, I can’t help but feel that fans of the original will have a bit of a problem with some of the changes. In fact, I dare say you may have more fun with this game if you never played the original or even watched the film. While the multiplayer was fine, the story was butchered and could have used a lot more work. The graphics also didn’t look like HD, and looked more like a PS2 game than PS3. I guess my biggest critique is that it didn’t live up to my expectations. I would recommend giving this game a rental before laying down the cash to pick it up, especially since you don’t need an online pass for this one.
FINAL GRADE: C+