When developers make the announcement that they are modernizing a classic game from yesteryear, fans of said-game wait on pins and needles to see what exactly that will entail. In the case of Goldeneye Reloaded, fans (myself included) were treated to a mix of an old favorite with the mechanics from another famed Activision series, Call of Duty.
The very first thing you will notice is that this is NOT the Bond you knew and loved from the Goldeneye movie – or game, for that matter. Daniel Craig cast his image in this iteration and this immediately had me calling blasphemy. I understand that, for one reason or another, good ole Pierce Brosnan couldn’t be cast into the role that he originally filled and that Daniel Craig is the new Bond whether I like it or not. Thankfully, as you play more of the game, you lose more and more of the nostalgia and it begins to feel like a new Bond game with a few familiarities. I say thankfully because that is how I dismissed my original dislike of Craig being thrown into the original Goldeneye actor’s shoes.
Like I said, things seem very familiar but different.. The Facility level, for example, doesn’t start you above the bathroom vents anymore, but a little further back in order to enrich the story more. This is one of the perks to Goldeneye Reloaded – the enhancement to the story. I don’t watch Bond movies and, to be honest, I didn’t really follow the story in the first Goldeneye game on the N64, either. But after playing this game, I know the story thanks to the well-scripted cut-scenes and the additional content added to the original.
The snow levels, places that I remember being large and open, are now very narrow and constricted. This is part of the Call of Duty structure that makes for a very gripping and scripted experience, but changes the whole game. The graphical update is so grandiose that when I got to this level and it started just as I remembered it, I got excited. But the further on I pushed, the more let down I became. After you take down your first few guards with silenced headshots, it goes downhill; both literally and figuratively. Instead of carving your own path to the first objective, you are treated with a pre-cut path that simply mocks the original games design. It’s like handing a kid a roll of cookie dough and letting them shape it. But next time, handing them just the cookies, only they have sprinkles.
Again, while everything is vastly new and improved, the nostalgia just lightly hangs in the air, just lightly enough to keep older players like me enthralled and waiting to see how they did the next level. And after completing the campaign, I am certain more has changed than they have stayed the same.
Despite the linearity, I really did enjoy the campaign’s new additions, especially the added arsenal. I don’t remember there being this many guns in the original and only a few in the new Goldeneye have the same name. There’s no more Phantom gun on the Frigate level, which was my favorite gun in the game. Instead, you are treated to a whole slew of guns ranging from various pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles. The mechanic of attachments introduced in The World is Not Enough carry into this re-imagining as well, so some guns have scopes, some have silencers that can be removed, etc.
So what else has been added? A new “sandbox” type mission selection called Mi6 Ops Missions, for starters. Taking place on various multiplayer maps, with each one having specific objectives such as eliminate the enemy force or protect a console for a certain period of time from waves of enemies. Various settings can be tweaked to make these tasks more or less difficult and getting a higher score will award you with more stars. Getting stars unlocks more levels, and quite a few trophies deal with getting stars as well.
These missions add a great deal of replayability, especially since I noticed that hardly anyone is playing online on the PS3 version we had for review; I would go through every playlist, and only find one open game in one certain playlist. This was usually Team Conflict, a six to eight player game mode. The multiplayer had me excited but, after playing some online, it really fell short.
First, finding a game was a chore and a half. With the limited player base, a “Quick Match” option to find an open game, regardless of game mode, would have been nice. Instead, you spend 10 minutes trying to find a game in the awesome sounding modes like Escalation (like Gun Game in Call of Duty: Black Ops, where everyone starts with the same gun and each kill progresses you through a chain of guns), only to resort to Team Conflict, which is the same as Team Deathmatch.
Second, although I didn’t get to experience much in the multiplayer realm of things, what I did get to play was a very laggy online shooter. Every match I played had this symptom and, in some matches, I got disconnected and lost all of the progress I’d made in that match. Battlefield 3 has me spoiled, I guess, as it tends to save my stats when I die. But fear not, nostalgia wins again! Goldeneye Reloaded has couch multiplayer, just like the original.
The load times on PS3, at least, are pretty brutal, especially for installing 3GB of data on my hard drive. It wasn’t too noticeable at first but, as you get to trickier parts and die more often, it gets to be a lot more aggravating.
While the original Goldeneye that I grew up playing seemed more loosely composed, this retelling adds depth with its scripting. If the multiplayer community picks up after Christmas, or if you have friends into the game, this is easily a game to grab. On that note, if you know anyone into the classic Nintendo 64 game, Christmas is around the corner, so this is a viable gift option. The nostalgia is faint, but it’s there, and enough to keep you along for the ride.
- that feel-good nostalgia
- lots of online game modes
- new Mi6 Missions
- more depth to the campaign
- no one is playing online (on PS3)
- more linear level structure
- Daniel Craig