You shouldn’t let the name fool you or cloud your perception as GoldenEye 007: Reloaded isn’t as great as either of the things that inspired it, the 1995 film or the classic Nintendo 64 game. As a James Bond adventure the reimagining of GoldenEye is passable to an extent but is lacking the character and entertainment value of the source material – which may not be real-world era gritty but still holds up well today. Game wise GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is simply another average FPS game that maintains a consistent level of action which is hardly enhanced or is varied in any way. It would’ve been great to receive a modern day version of GoldenEye that could live up to the original but instead we have a thoroughly average licensed FPS game.
+ Original soundtrack is amazing.
+ It’s easy to blow through the game in one setting if you’re looking for an afternoon rental.
+ Daniel Craig is still a boss, even in video game form.
- Missions are completely dull and in some cases are broken up in a weird way.
- Gameplay is responsive for the most part but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before (think CoD: 007).
- Reimagined GoldenEye plot has some nice beats but feels odd and well-known characters become mere throwaways.
- No major 007 style presented at all.
- Online modes are laggy and the net code as of now (at least on the PS3) is really poor.
Video games are in a way the last true source of creativity we have going on today. Every now and then we get a film or TV show that breaks the mold by trying something different, but for the most part its video games that allow us to have our imaginations go wild due to the creativity that we’re experiencing and interacting with. The video game industry hasn’t gone down the route Hollywood has taken of rebooting or remaking things that came out ten years ago, but such a thing has been done with Activision’s remake of the classic James Bond adventure GoldenEye with GoldenEye 007: Reloaded for the PS3 and Xbox 360. A HD upgrade of the remake that hit the Wii last year, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is a decent 007 outing but it’s ultimately held back by uninspired action, questionable plot changes and simply lackluster game design.
As a longtime 007 fan I was looking forward to trying out GoldenEye: Reloaded since I didn’t play the game last year on the Wii. After having a go at a few FPS games on the Wii I thought it would be best if I left good old 007 untarnished by potential Wiimote problems since most FPS games on the Wii aren’t the best things to be put on the market. Now ported to the Xbox 360 and PS3, the latter of which has PlayStation Move + Sharp Shooter support, I thought GoldenEye: Reloaded would be a decent game but instead it’s simply ok by today’s standards, if not woefully mediocre to the point where loyal 007 fans may cry upon playing the first mission simply because of how poorly constructed it is.
Obviously the big deal about Activision’s GoldenEye remake is that it simply isn’t a straight adaptation of the 1995 film nor is it an update of Rare’s classic game for the Nintendo. The possibility of playing the classic GoldenEye game in HD came and went due to company politics and now Rare is the champion of pissing on its fanbase while developing Kinect titles, but that’s a discussion best saved for a later day. Back on topic: GoldenEye: Reloaded is basically a remake of the core plot featured in Pierce Brosnan’s debut outing as 007 except this time it’s updated to fit the more gritty and realistic Daniel Craig era – except that the game is so bombastic in its action and ideology that it feels like a late 1990s era Bond film – complete with cliché villains and a beautiful yet helpless heroine wearing obscenely minimal clothing.
I’m a huge 007 fan; I admire the Daniel Craig films and what the new generation of Bond represents, but GoldenEye: Reloaded is just a complete dud as a Bond adventure. Perhaps knowing the beats the plot would hit somewhat took some of the luster away from the narrative for me, but even the deviations that are taken, of which there are a lot and some of them are major, still left me unimpressed. Even moments like the pivotal moment 007 and 006 have in their mission at the Russian dam facility lacked the punch it had simply because things are presented in a completely unengaging way with horrid directing. It’s not that the acting in GoldenEye is bad, though I will admit Daniel Craig sounds a bit bored at times, but the situations the game takes players on are somewhat implausible in the proper Daniel Craig era of Bond and are about two steps away from fulfilling every video game/action movie stereotype. I was open to the concept of seeing GoldenEye’s plot reimagined to an extent but the changes that are made are so disappointing that it was hard for me not groan upon seeing key characters come and go as if they were nothing or merely have any sort of character they originally had stripped away in the favor of realism or fulfilling whatever the plot needed out of them.
As much as I would like to put the weight of GoldenEye’s problems on the narrative changes, the game isn’t disappointing simply because of that but because it’s almost a shell of a FPS game. I probably don’t need to set up the history the original GoldenEye game for the Nintendo 64, but for those who were only two years-old when the game came out I’ll just say that GoldenEye was simply hot stuff that at the time managed to keep the N64 afloat to an extent. Not only was GoldenEye for the N64 a good James Bond game, but it was a fast paced FPS that could be played a near infinite number of times either due to the speed run nature of the single-player campaign or through some simple multiplayer mayhem. GoldenEye: Reloaded is a competently made FPS game but it’s just that – a competently made FPS game with no real soul or James Bond flair. I don’t think GoldenEye: Reloaded will have a problem with gamers due to being immediately compared to GoldenEye N64 despite how high gamers regard the title. Sure, some gamers will do such a thing but I think gamers will instead play GoldenEye: Reloaded and then wonder what era Eurocom, the developers, must’ve been to think that they could release a game of this caliber in this day and age and get away with it.
There may appear to be a certain amount of vitriol in some of my feelings concerning GoldenEye: Reloaded, but the game is just one of those titles that has a ton of potential yet never manages to capitalize on any of it. With the James Bond license and the GoldenEye name, which is known amongst both James Bond fans and gamers as a good thing, Eurocom simply squandered everything away in favor of making a game that could’ve been released for the PS2 in 2002 and still be considered sub-par.
A gameplay segment complete with long load times.
On the surface there isn’t too much wrong with GoldenEye 007: Reloaded since the game is ok to look at but isn’t anything too special – even by Activision standards when looking at titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops or even James Bond 007: Quantum of Solace. I had a few issues with the somewhat uneven graphical fidelity found in James Bond: Blood Stone, but GoldenEye: Reloaded pretty much sustains a consistent look of looking consistently average – with no real powerhouse or memorable moments of the visual variety. Graphics aside, even the gameplay of GoldenEye: Reloaded is ok since it’s simply follows the routine of playing as the best British secret agent to walk the Earth as he foils nefarious plans and shoots people in the face. The problems that arise however is that GoldenEye: Reloaded is just devoid of any personality and doesn’t feel like a James Bond game. The James Bond universe is represented to a degree through certain names or general quips that are dished out, but everything about the game follows a very predictable routine that is just boring and honestly made the game much harder to play for me since I was just depressed instead of being happy.
I may be a hardcore James Bond and a passionate gamer, but I wasn’t expecting too much out of GoldenEye: Reloaded. Give me some cool action scenarios, tight gameplay and maybe a surprise mission or two that changes the variety up and I would be happy. Despite having one of the best, if not most action packed Bond stories to serve as a basis, GoldenEye: Reloaded simply goes on a route of having the player go through location X, kill a near infinite number of spawning enemies and then move on to the next mission. There’s no real variety and the missions never really have that action packed or tense edge that one would expect out of a Bond video game or general Bond adventure for that matter. Almost every mission in the game is simply a straight forward shooter in which Bond has to deal with a bunch of not-so bright soldiers for fraction X, all of whom must be products of the Kamino cloning facility since the soldiers all look the same, and then move on to the next stage. A few sections in the game can be played using stealth but that basically resorts to walking around crouched and creeping up behind dudes to smack them in the face or shooting them with a silenced pistol when isolated – which if I may add simply isn’t that fun to do from a first-person perspective.
Every now and then I did have to do a somewhat menial task as Bond such as taking photos of an object using a smartphone or waiting for elevators to come down while I get stormed with enemies. Being a Bond game there is a vehicle segment which of course is the famous GoldenEye moment in which Bond goes into “go fuc# yourself” mode and hijacks a Russian tank in order to pursue a villain. I was expecting the vehicle segment of GoldenEye: Reloaded to be a highlight but instead it was simply one of the worst moments, partly because there’s nothing to do but aimless shooting against less than imposing enemies and because the secondary action had entire buildings being leveled –which is a bit too out there for the Daniel Craig era Bond.
As simplistic as Eurocom may have gone with GoldenEye: Reloaded, I don’t think they completely phoned the game in or were too restricted in what they could do. There may not have been any jaw dropping action moments but I did get the slight feeling that the team was trying to capture the Bond spirit through a few things. The FPS combat itself may simply feel like Call of Duty: James Bond Edition, but there are a few interactive elements in the environments that will set off chain kills – thus living up to the Bond moments gamers and film goers come to expect from 007. Some of Eurocom’s attempts at channeling the essence of Bond even go beyond the action variety with surprising results. One encounter early on in the game has Bond escaping from a nightclub and once the action got really heavy the music in the game, which in this case was a lyric based pop/club song, was upped while the background noise was lessened –somewhat evoking the feel of the memorable opera escape from Quantum of Solace. During the nightclub escape sequence it seemed clear that Eurocom were indeed trying to offer a stylish Bond adventure with some actual substance but somewhere along the path things were lost and instead we received a game that simply offers lots of explosions with minimal style or character.
A slightly major draw about GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is that the PlayStation 3 version comes with the added bonus of PlayStation Move support. I’ve expressed my feelings about the Move being used constantly as a pointer in FPS games and just like every other FPS game on the market that uses the Move, the results are good but not quite there. One cool thing about using the Move, or even the Sharp Shooter which is also supported, is that I feel somewhat more immersed into the experience since I was holding a “gun”, sadly of the plastic instead of gold variety, as I went through and blasted evil terrorists. The thing is, as is the case with other Move enabled FPS games, using the Move doesn’t quite surpass the traditional DualShock controller and at times can make the experience a bit of a drag. The Move controls aren’t terrible and are mapped out rather well, but there’s still the constant disconnect feeling when utilizing the Sharp Shooter and in the end it’s simply a bonus feature that may be used every now and then but not constantly.
I have a somewhat decent outing in this multiplayer session.
Back in the day GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 was known for one key thing: fast and addicting multiplayer action. That era of consoles may not have had online compatibility, but being able to play with some friends locally through split-screen play was something that brought out the competitive side in a lot of gamers. With GoldenEye 007: Reloaded it’s almost depressing to play the game online and see what the level the GoldenEye name has been dropped to. Far from being completely terrible, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded offers some by the numbers multiplayer action that is often laggy and at times somewhat unplayable due to how choppy the framerate is.
There is some potential in the multiplayer component since modes like Golden Gun or Heroes (one member plays a hero/villain with added team based abilities), but everything about how the game plays online is so archaic to a degree that it’s hard to get into the action. In a way the somewhat simplistic action of GoldenEye’s online efforts can be appreciated by gamers who want a straightforward experience, but the controls are sluggish and the exceedingly long reload times for guns really break any sort of rhythm that’s to be had. Even more disappointing is the somewhat shoddy net code, at least on the PS3, that results in matches dropping out or constant failed connections. GoldenEye 007: Reloaded online modes aren’t as disappointing as what was offered in James Bond: Blood Stone, but it’s far from being that perfect 007 online experience.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is one of those games where the first ten minutes are pretty much indicative of the entire game. In most cases that either means you’ll get a great game or one that sadly misses the mark, the latter of which properly represents GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. I would never say that GoldenEye: Reloaded is one of the worst games to be made this generation as it isn’t a completely muddled mess despite minor glitches and weird gun holding animations. The lack of success GoldenEye: Reloaded achieves is because it’s simply a mediocre James Bond game that pales in comparison to the original GoldenEye in terms of how much fun it provides and is a complete dud compared to James Bond: Blood Stone in the variety department. The constantly dull single-player campaign and average multiplayer modes basically results in GoldenEye: Reloaded being the video game equivalent of James Bond: License To Kill or James Bond: The World Is Not Enough, you may accept it since it’s James Bond and more of that is always a good thing but it’s far from matching the greatness that was previously achieved.