OXCGN’S Goldeneye 007 Reloaded Review
Loaded with blanks, or cynic-piercing bullets?
©2011 David Hilton
I know I’m going to shock some of you with this statement: I enjoyed Goldeneye Reloaded MORE than Modern Warfare 3.
There I said it, and I stick by it.
Activision’s newest James Bond game may not beat Modern Warfare 3 for scale, drama, or cinematics, but for actual gameplay it reinforces the argument that not all modern First Person Shooters need to be serious warfare games.
There is still a lot of room for quality escapist Bond fun where there is challenge to achieve extra objectives and sometimes multiple pathways to finishing a level.
Modern Warfare 3‘s single player campaign is a dramatic intense interactive experience; Goldeneye Reloaded is a game.
It would be easy for a gamer to be a bit cynical of Goldeneye Reloaded.
After all, it was a redo of a Wii title that was a remake of a fantastic N64 game. One could almost be forgiven for thinking that this game is just trying to put some flash coating on a title that was once very popular and made FPSs acceptable on consoles and then charging full retail for it.
One could dismiss the use of the title Goldeneye as a way to sell a terrible new Bond game, as it was when EA’s Goldeneye: Rogue Agent sank the franchise to an all time low.
To do so would be to miss out on developer Eurocom‘s blending of the old with the new to create something at once familiar to fans of the original N64 game but also a game that feels new with fresh interpretations of the old levels.
It’s not just Goldeneye HD
After the demise of last year’s Bond developer Bizarre, I feared the franchise might be retired by Activision, with a focus only on the modern shooter style FPS. Maybe the Wii Goldeneye game was just a tribute to Nintendo’s past, and the fantasy spy genre was over.
Luckily I was wrong and Eurocom, who last gen made the fantastic (and still often played by my family) title 007 Nightfire, announced they were reworking the Wii game for 360 and PS3.
I never played the Wii game, but what I felt for most of my playthrough was something unusual: something I’ll call new-nostalgic.
Here was a game that wasn’t just blindly following the original conventions of the original N64 title to evoke memories of a golden past in gaming (real or imagined), but also wasn’t rudely dismissing the source material either.
It really is a blend of modern and old gaming styles to make a game that had me feeling that sense of wonder at rediscovering something lost.
You are a soldier or soldiers working with a team of men desperate to save the world from some serious deadly disaster. Foxtrot this, ‘On Me’ that.
You are told what to do, how to do it, and are pushed forward at a frantic pace to experience one huge set-scene after another.
Goldeneye Reloaded returns to the single agent working alone, being able to count only on himself, moving with caution to try and be unseen, but in a First Person perspective (not even Bond has been First Person for years, but has instead been Third Person).
Admittedly many modern gamers will be impatient with this kind of gameplay style, where experimentation in pathways and routes can be rewarded with silent takedowns or making it through a level without a total shootout and feeling like a real spy.
I may not have had the visceral satisfaction of killing them all myself, but it was even more satisfying feeling clever and watching my carnage work being done for me.
Impatient gamers can play Bond Supersoldier too if they want: just get noticed and shoot up the baddies without a silenced gun and the game will throw some more baddies at you for being so brazen a spy.
They aren’t the brightest tools in the shed, but the AI does roll around, duck behind cover, and charge from different angles to keep you frantic. It’s too bad they all look like clones though. A greater variety of enemy types and looks would have been good.
Don’t start me on the dead scientist bodies that not only look exactly the same, but all lie on the floor in the same pose: what was Onatopp a serial killer who liked to lay her victims in the same exact crooked position?
You can still find alternative paths if you are Bond Supersoldier too: sometimes blowing up barrels will open a hole in the wall behind a door, or cause a crane’s heavy load to drop on enemies.
Well that’s the theory anyway, because sometimes it didn’t seem to matter what I did, they still somehow saw me crouching past them on the other side of a wall and came storming in with their buddies.
Old School Objectives
On harder difficulties there are more objectives and you can find hidden emblem disks to shoot as well. It means I spent a lot of time looking for things, but since the game didn’t always feel like a corridor with people screaming at me to “Hurry up” I didn’t mind looking around.
The environments are similar to the original N64 game, but they are different enough to feel at once familiar and fresh as well.
I’m very disappointed though that the game, in typical James Bond fashion, takes to exotic places like Barcelona, but only allows you to go to a Nightclub there. Too many games take you somewhere that sounds exotic and then puts you in a warehouse or office building.
At the end of that level you jump on a bike, and I’m thinking…yeah, a typical Bond chase on a bike through the awesome Barri Gothic streets of Barcelona.
No, level ends. No chase, no fast alleys, jumps and shooting.
In fact the only vehicle level is the tank through St. Petersburg, but it’s not terribly fast or scenic. It makes a fun change, and destroying things with a tank is always fun, but the tank feels a bit loose and light.
Last year’s BloodStone had car chases that were so fast you couldn’t even enjoy the well-crafted scenery of Istanbul. Vehicle chases are an important part of a modern Bond game, so hopefully it was only Eurocom trying to be authentic to the original story.
Not so serious
Guards say old-school nonsense like “We are under attack” even after 5 minutes of shooting, “Covering fire!”, “You won’t get away”, and my favourite: “Shoot to kill!” Why not shoot to maim?
In another level where helicopter pilots have been killed and replaced by Onatopp and Ourumov there is a sign displayed that advertises protection against ‘identity theft’.
Then there is the Bond quip. This one happens near the end when Onatopp is dragged attached by cable to a crashing helicopter, and he dryly says: “This time it’s on me.”
Bond: Modern Warfare
There are cinematic cut-scenes with explosions, slow-mo moments for shooting, and excellent ambient sounds like jungle birds and wind up on top of mountains.
There are some interactive environmental objects like fire hydrants that make a puff of white you can’t see through or missiles on conveyors that blow up when shot, and a degree of degrading cover in some areas, though not on par with Battlefield or Bad Company.
There is a sense of scale, while not Modern Warfare large, that is still appropriate, but thankfully there are less cut-scenes than MW3.
It adds a wonderful feeling of immersion when things are collapsing all around you and the screen is shaking.
Using night vision very occasionally is also a nice touch. This Bond doesn’t have the millions of gadgets: he hacks electronics with his watch and that’s it.
There are some of the less positive aspects too: clipping is still present, cut and pasted objects and details too similar, and there are blurred textures when you look too close at anything.
New but different
The cover system is excellent. I love the duck down and press left trigger to pop up style. It’s not sticky and it works well with the auto-aim. You can’t go prone though, which I found strange.
The fact you never can use grenades seems initially strange. Coming directly from playing MW3, I often hit the RB button for grenades, only for nothing to happen.
There are many circumstances where if you go guns blazing into a level you’d love a couple of grenades, and enemies certainly aren’t shy about flushing you out with them, but Bond’s style is different to that of a commando.
Still one or two a level might have been good for gameplay.
Melee combat sometimes engages in a good wrestle and knock out of a guard, while other times just looks and feels wrong: you don’t feel a vibration of the controller and the enemy just crumples to the ground unrealistically.
Since James Bond games are for the mainstream, there isn’t blood splattering off enemies and bodies disappear. It makes shooting seem less visceral and it’s odd to watch bodies fade out, but I’m glad there is a shooter my younger kids can play, which is rare these days.
I’d have kept the bodies and just gone without blood though.
The musical score is typical quality Bond stuff, but the guns need a bit more of a meaty feel and sound to them.
So you’d think a combination of both would be perfect. It mostly is.
Like all Bond games should, Goldeneye Reloaded finally has offline 4 player multi as well as online. BloodStone and Quantum of Solace didn’t, and that’s not good enough for a commercial title like this. COD has always had it, so why not James Bond?
Thankfully this Christmas season I will again be able to play offline multi with friends and family on a newer Bond game than Nightfire. We all wish there were bots and some moving environmental hazards like moving trains, or cable cars though.
There are also co-op objectives that add to the value of the game.
The Golden Gun mode is always welcome, with mad races for the gun or hunting the current holder a lot of fun.
It’s a good package but will struggle to compete with big hitters out there at the moment.
More Bond Please
After playing this game I have confidence that Eurocom can still bring another Bond title with the feel of being a spy, but with modern shooter touches.
With a few more car chases, a new globe-travelling tale, some fixes to melee and stealth detection, keeping the offline multi, and a visual upgrade, the Bond series could recapture the attention it deserves.
©2011 David Hilton
Filed under: Console gaming, Game Impressions, New Xbox 360 Games, PC Reviews, PS3 Reviews, Xbox 360, Xbox 360 Game Reviews Tagged: | "First Person Shooter", 007 nightfire, Activision, Call Of Duty, Eurocom, GoldenEye, Goldeneye 007, Goldeneye Reloaded, goldeneye reloaded 007 reviews, Jame Bond, Wii