GoldenEye 007: Reloaded
No one from my generation can't help but get wistful at the mere mention of Goldeneye. The N64 title was the impetus for endless nights of delirious multiplayer gaming. It set the standard for Bond games that to this day hasn't been matched. And now, like so many other games, Goldeneye is being run through the reissue ringer. But unlike many PS2-era games, this isn't the same old thing with some hi-res textures thrown on top. Instead, developer Eurocom has rebuilt the whole experience from the ground up, making a whole new game that manages to retain the feel of the old.
In many ways, this version of Goldeneye feels very similar. It still follows the general plotline of the 1995 movie of the same name, albeit with some dramatic license taken to fit the video game form. It still uses a mix of stealth and gun fighting and still features that kinetic splitscreen multiplayer. But there have been several changes that make this feel new. The most obvious and drastic change is that James Bond is now played by current actor Daniel Craig, instead of the then-current actor Pierce Brosnan. This doesn't materially change the game, but it does make it feel a little less like Goldeneye. The between-mission cut scenes also take their look from recent Bond games. And the levels themselves are brand new, meaning this isn't just a retread.
Like before, there are two ways to play through Goldeneye Reloaded. The first is by stealth, sneaking through vents and tunnels to get the drop on your enemies before they even know you're there. The other way is with guns blazing, playing a fatal game of tag with your opponents as you make it through each level. Stealth is certainly less messy, as you can conceivably get through a level without ever meeting an openly hostile enemy. On the other hand, it is more time consuming and feels rather rudimentary compared to most stealth action games today. And unlike a game such as Metal Gear Solid, there's no penalty for going in guns blazing, which ultimately is more fun anyway.
And oh, what fun it is. Despite looking like a last gen game (Goldeneye Reloaded was originally developed for the Wii before being ported to the PS3 and 360), Goldeneye still packs a punch, retaining the same exciting atmosphere as the original. The shooting mechanics are tight and polished (and that's even without using the 1:1 motion controls provided by the Playstation Move hardware), and the levels are well designed for multiple playthroughs. Strangely, the timed mission option from the Wii version of the game is gone, replaced by a mode called MI6 Ops, which give you specific objectives to get through. While these are good, they aren't as thrilling as the time trials, which made you play the game in a whole new way.
And then of course there's the multiplayer. Goldeneye's reputation was built on its stellar split-screen multiplayer, and Activision was smart enough to bring it back for this go around. As before, getting together a group of friends for a night of gunslinging is ridiculously fun, and the PS3 version even includes Hugo Drax with a Moonraker laser pistol as DLC (for those who purchase the game new) for some vintage Bond action.
Perhaps I'm biased because I loved the original so much, but I really think that Goldeneye Reloaded does a bang-up job of updating the game for the 21st century. No, the graphics aren't going to wow anyone, but the mechanics are so tight and satisfying that it shouldn't matter. Whether you're an old hand with a Walther PPK, or a newcomer to the wonderful world of 007, you're sure to find something to enjoy in Goldeneye Reloaded.