Last year, Eurocom and Activision brought back a gaming legend. “Goldeneye” is a word that strikes joy into the hearts of many gamers that were around to enjoy its four-player split screen action, whether in a dorm room or a living room; this game has roots. When it landed on Wii last year, we cheered. The game was back, and better yet, it was good. Now 360 and PS3 owners get a chance to find out what the fuss was about with added modes and enhanced visuals. Get your golden guns ready, and discover why couch co-op is still alive and kicking.
The entire campaign from the Wii version is here with little deviation, but for those who haven’t played it, let me break it down. Yes, this is the Goldeneye story, but it now stars Daniel Craig and is sans Sean Bean. A lot of the same levels and locales are here, but those looking for nostalgia will be disappointed most of the time. The game has been upgraded to today’s FPS standard. Things that worked in Rare’s original simply wouldn’t make for a good experience in a twin-stick shooter. The campaign is solid and should last you a good 10 hours.
You can opt for stealth or straight out action, the choice is yours. Stealth works for the most part, but enemies do tend to be able to see you a little too easily. Unless you are aiming for an Achievement or Trophy, it never becomes an issue, though. Being seen doesn’t mean instant death. Goldeneye plays great, and even on Normal, you will rarely ever die as long as you manage to find some cover. The classic 007 difficulty also returns with multiple objectives. This is where the real challenge comes in. You will be tested, and in order to earn a bulk of the Achievements/Trophies, you will need to play on this difficulty.
In addition to the campaign, you also have MI6 mode, which is essentially an arcade single player experience with leaderboard support. You are thrown in a map with your choice of modifiers and have various styles of gameplay from stealth to wiping out all enemies as quickly as you can. All events are based on time and the modifiers make it more interesting. You can launch foes into the air with a physics boost or simply paint the walls with the paintball mode. None of these make a massive difference outside of the ammo and health ones, but they do make this mode a blast to go back to once the shooting starts to get stale.
Still, none of this is what Goldeneye is all about. Multiplayer is where the game shines, and Reloaded brings back so many favorites that it is hard not to love. The Wii version was already loaded with content, but Eurocom has gone back and (wait for it) reloaded the game with even more goodies. Four new maps have been added as well as four new modes including Bomb Defuse, Escalation, Detonator Agent and Data Miner. These modes are definitely more suited for the player cap increase and add to the already diverse palette the game offers up.
There are also a ton of new characters thrown in as along with new weapons and special combat abilities that change up the way the game plays. Combine that with the modifiers I mentioned earlier, and you have a literal smorgasbord of content that can become infinitely replayable, much like the original Goldeneye. You can pop on golden gun and sim for one hit kills, or shrink everyone to half size making them impossible to hit. This game is loaded with ways to customize your experience, which puts it above other games in the genre. A lot of games tack on multiplayer, but Reloaded focuses entirely on it, making me hope that it will continue to have a userbase even among the heavy hitters this fall.
Obviously, going from Wii to Xbox Live and PSN is night and day when comparing the matchmaking services. Wii suffered from a lack of voice chat and a smaller player limit, so the HD consoles certainly win there. It is also worth noting that while 360 remains classic in controls, you can opt to use Sony’s Move controller for Goldeneye, and the game even has a Sharpshooter bundle, but I still prefer the classic stick action for my shooters. Move controls are solid and mimic the original Wii outing perfectly, so if you do prefer motion controls, the PS3 version is the way to go.
For those wondering how it stacks up visually, you will be pleased to know that it is definitely a step up from the Wii version. Still, you can see that it is obviously not optimized for the PS3 and 360 in any way, shape or form. It is simply a high-res version with some added effects and touches. The game runs smoothly, though, and looks slick, so it really is just nitpicking, but don’t expect it to stack up next to the other shooters launching this holiday. Sound is excellent, with Daniel Craig voicing Bond and several other cast members reprising their roles. The music is fitting and the sound effects are decent, but nothing spectacular. I love the slick cut scenes between missions, but I wish the menus were just a touch larger.
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is an interesting dilemma. On one hand, you have some greatly addictive multiplayer that simply begs to be played both locally and online, and on the other you have it releasing in the worst part of the year, something I cannot fault the game for, but still needs to be addressed. I could see myself getting buddies together for Goldeneye parties again with all of these options, and I hope the game sees the distance it deserves. However, if you are coming in alone, you will be hard-pressed to get your money’s worth out of the campaign and MI6 alone (sorry, no bots in multi for you solo gamers). For those with that itch and the people to play with, this is a no-brainer. Reloaded delivers on nostalgia while making enough strides forward to make it worthy of the name “Goldeneye.”
Review copy provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.