GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Review

By Jonathan Deesing - Posted Nov 10, 2011

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is the only reminder you will ever need that stuff you liked as a kid should not be messed with.

The Pros
  • Spec Ops clone offers some humorous gameplay
  • Glimmers of pretty fun levels
  • Daniel Craig and Judy Dench provide solid voice acting
The Cons
  • Uninspired multiplayer both online and off
  • Pathetic campaign
  • AI with the IQ of the asteroids in Asteroids

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Review

It’s easy to become blinded by GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. As a piece of nostalgia, few games can top its capacity for excitement. GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 was a revolutionary piece that still exists as one of the most influential first-person shooters to date. However, unlike Mario, Sonic, or any other great franchise with continued installments and iterations in everything from an Olympics game to a werewolf game, James Bond has not aged well since GoldenEye.

Sporadic installments in the series, along with a storied history of depressingly bad games, make the original GoldenEye stand out even more in the minds of those who spent countless hours in a dark basement shooting their friends in Bunker. So when Activision revealed a GoldenEye remake for the Xbox 360 and PS3, it seemed a promise of a game—like their previous entry on the Wii—to do GoldenEye 007 justice. Unfortunately, the ugly, uninspired, and vapid GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is not that game. Worse, it tugs at the heartstrings of anyone who played the original game every time there’s a glimmer of how great of a game it could have been. And isn’t.


Call Of Bond: Modern 007

The setup of the game is familiar, but poorly handled. Simply put, it’s an ill-fitting suit stretched over the beefy and impressive IW engine used in Call of Duty games. You’re sure to recognize many of the features and the overall feel of the game, such as the snap-to targeting system and the majority of the buttons, which remain the same. However, Reloaded uses a more interactive cover system, which allows you to hide behind cover and peek up automatically when you aim. Unfortunately, this system also means when hiding behind cover and shooting enemies, even if you don’t care to, you’ll be standing straight up, offering your juicy flank for some Russian to shoot.

You have the option for stealth in a few of the levels, but there is only one very thin path to follow in order to stay undetected. Perplexingly, this has no bearing on your success, as tossing stealth to the wind in favor of an overwhelming firefight poses no serious consequences. In fact, it was this ease that led me to switching to the hardest difficulty after only playing the game for a few levels.

Like some strange act of providence, this change of difficulty made every flaw in the game appear even more magnified. The AI—some of the stupidest I’ve seen in an FPS recently—tends to run at the player with no regard for their own lives. Oftentimes I felt as if I was playing an on rails shooter, as enemies would simply appear and stand in massive groups eagerly awaiting the other side of the veil. With higher difficulty, the AI does not improve; the enemies just become larger in number.

Worse still, enemies are almost humorously bullet-absorbent. When unloading a solid burst into an enemy’s center mass, he was more likely to simply stumble—as if he’d encountered an annoying root—and continue on than he was to die. All of this simply grows more asinine at higher levels, becoming less and less amusing as levels flirt dangerously close to parity in the enemies-to-bullets ratio per level. The culmination of this is the final battle with 006, which I actually replayed in order to count how many bullets he must be hit with before dying. Believe me when I say it is north of 500. Funny? For you maybe.

This is an advertisement - This story continues below

A Multiplayer To Disgrace The Good Name Of GoldenEye

Honestly though, no one really gives a damn about the single-player in a GoldenEye game. The multiplayer is what put the original game on the map and ensured it retains its place in the hall of fame even today. To a certain degree, Reloaded does a passable job of recreating what the original provided for couch multiplayer. Unfortunately, this type of multiplayer is dated, and even for nostalgia’s sake, not really worth it. The online offerings—much like the rest of the game—are shoddy Call of Duty clones…in the sense that Kaine is Spider-Man’s clone. As surprising as it was to me, the graphics in the online multiplayer are actually drastically worse than the single-player. Add to this laggy gameplay, unimaginative maps, and difficulty even getting into a game and you have an online game not even worth a lazy weekend.

The one redeeming factor outside of the single-player campaign is the Mi6 Ops Missions; a nod to Call of Duty’s Spec Ops mode. These missions are much the same as Call of Duty’s with the delightful option to customize every aspect of them. From number of baddies to their respective relation with gravity, you can make the Mi6 Ops Missions whatever you’d like. You can even make them incredibly difficult by bumping enemies’ health by four times.

GoldenEye 007 Reloaded

Hurry Bond, You’re Needed in Africa! Or Russia! Or Whatever.

From the moment GoldenEye 007: Reloaded showed up on my doorstep I was giddy with excitement. While others were enjoying other more high profile titles, I was more than happy to relive a very important game from my childhood. However, I soon realized this was not to be the case, because Reloaded does absolutely everything it can to differentiate itself from the original game. And the film, for that matter. Really, if the title were changed, people may have commented, “Hey doesn’t this game sort of remind you of that one game? GoldenEye?”

I would be willing to forgive Eurocom for dashing my dreams of a GoldenEye 007 remake if they had done so with even a modicum of respect for the source material. Instead, the game is a macabre version of the original, so distorted it’s hard to understand why they even bothered to retain the name. The story is disjointed and nonsensical; Bond bouncing all over the world with no clear explanation why. The only returning character from the film is Judy Dench, who does her typical wonderful job of voicing M. Daniel Craig and his likeness have replaced Pierce Brosnan, and every other character from 006 to Xenia Onatopp is unrecognizable and poorly voiced.

“Poorly voiced?” you may ask, “what a strange and nitpicky observation.” It’s certainly an observation I wish I had not made, but what really stands out about Reloaded is just how damned repetitive it is. Beyond a single clunky tank segment, you spend the entire game as a one-man juggernaut not too far removed from Master Chief. The characters—including Bond—constantly repeat the same lines over and over, and during the last endless boss battle, Bond and Trevelyan sling the same three uninspired insults at one another well over a dozen times.

GoldenEye 007 Reloaded

Shaking My Head While Pursing My Lips

I wish GoldenEye 007: Reloaded was just another subpar Call of Duty clone. I wish I could write it off as a bargain bin game, relegate it to the back of my mind and move onto bigger, better games. Unfortunately, I cannot. I cannot judge Reloaded in a vacuum because it has the word “GoldenEye” attached to it. As such, it’s not only a bad game with bad AI, derivative multiplayer offerings, and a pathetic story; it’s a disgrace to its own name.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?