GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Hands-On Preview -- Bond is Back (Again)By Miguel Concepcion - Posted Oct 12, 2011
GoldenEye: Reloaded is one of those amusing game industry anomalies. It is a port of a remake of a game based on a movie while using an updated character model different from the actor who originally played the main character in the film. I don't know how well GoldenEye 007 on the Wii sold, but apparently it made enough of an impression to greenlight an additional release for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.
I was one of those who enjoyed the re-imagining of GoldenEye 007 on the Wii, at least in terms of the story. This retelling took liberties with a number of minor plot points from the N64 game as well as updating Bond to the Danial Craig character model. It was easily accessible as it accommodated the Classic Controller, so it’s of little surprise that Reloaded controls just as well on these other two consoles. Reloaded has also optimized GoldenEye in terms of frame rate. While it's clearly in HD, one downside is that the graphical textures aren't the most detailed for these consoles. At least it is a noticeable improvement over the Wii version.
With all the missions unlocked in this demo session, I took the opportunity to jump around various points in the story. All are loaded with more weapons than I can keep track of, as well as enough enemies to make even the "normal" 007 difficulty setting occasionally challenging. You also need to have a decent tolerance for shooting the same enemy character model over and over in each stage. The last Severnaya mission for instance is loaded with white winter gear-clad guards, sometimes bunched up in groups of five, further accentuating the repetitive nature of these characters.
As one who has seen every James Bond film at least twice, even I find it almost overwhelming to see the list of 007-themed items and unlockables in GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. Some items that weren’t in the Wii version include Rosa Klebb's Beretta, Red Grant's Mauser, and even Dr. Kananga's Shark Gun. On top of the 10 previous multiplayer maps, four new ones have been added: Solar, Plant, Carrier, and Peak. And like the other maps, these merely take the areas and assets from the story mode maps and tailor them for multiplayer.
The deathmatch mode and the level designs certainly lent to countless moments where I was continually swapping between my semi-automatic and my sniper to suit different situations. I don't know if it was a conscious design choice, but there was an added sense of tension in those brief helpless moments when I was swapping between weapons, with a transition time that I suspect could have been quicker. I didn't have the opportunity to explore all the new multiplayer modes first hand, but I did get a thorough overview of these four new set-ups.
Bomb Defuse is a contest over a single bomb, and the winning team is the one who manages to successfully plant and defend the bomb. Escalation makes for a fine opportunity to try different weapons as it goes through a series of firearms, ultimately ending with executing a melee strike. Detonator Agent is essentially a modified "hot potato" mode where you score points for carrying a bomb, but you must get rid of it before it blows up. And Data Miner is a competition to see who can spend the most time downloading a data file.
One surprisingly understated aspect of the multiplayer is the depth of the user profile progression. It isn't anything remarkable like an ability tree, but it does have its share of rewards for the GoldenEye multiplayer faithful and newcomers who end up embracing this mode. It's rewarding enough that it regularly unlocks weapons and items as you progress to Level 50. Where it becomes interesting is that after Level 50, your profile resets to 1, but with an icon to let other players know you've been to Level 50 and back. Aside from it being a status symbol, there's of course practical rewards like extra loadouts and special weapons. You can actually perform this profile loop four times, which should certainly take a while.
I also spent ten minutes with the PlayStation Move functionality which is essentially the same experience as the Wii version. In fact, I had to undo the Move Sharp Shooter set-up as I was too used to the Wii controls and freeing up the Move and navigation controller without using the gun enhancer made for an easier experience.
Saving what I consider to be the best feature for last, single-player fans will enjoy the news that an additional solo mode has been added. Titled the Mi6 Ops Missions, this robust selection of assignments reworks the levels from the campaign and adds four distinct modes to give that sense of variety. Assault and Elimination are the two tailored for assertive aggression; Defense mode has you holding your ground against incoming enemies as you download data; Stealth is a zero-detection mission where getting spotted results in a Game Over.
Even a day after letting the demo event soak in, I can't help but think the $59.99 price point is still $10 too high for this port-remake. In Eurocom's defense, at least they took the time to add an impressive array of new content. You can find out our final verdict when GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is released on November 1.