Game Review: GoldenEye 007: Reloaded (Xbox 360)
Release: November 1, 2011
Genre: First Person Shooter
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Players: 1 Campaign/4 Locally/16 Online
ESRB Rating: T For Teen
Flashback to 10 years ago and I was in a smelly dorm room full of bros waiting their turn on some multiplayer GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64. It was one of the best multi-player experiences I had ever had up to that date and it was one that all others were compared to for years after. Many an hour was passed playing 4-Player splitscreen Remote Mine and Golden Gun matches while choosing from the cavalcade of ridiculous Bond villains and characters. Now Eurocom Entertainment and Activision have worked together to bring an upgraded version of the GoldenEye experience with GoldenEye 007: Reloaded for the Xbox 360.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded replaces Pierce Brosnan’s Bond with Daniel Craig’s and updates the graphics, gadgets, storyline, and gameplay to incorporate a little modern-day flair. These changes make for an experience that feels a bit more coherent than the original’s “action for action’s sake” storyline. It also makes a point to hit a lot of the beats found in the original GoldenEye that had some nostalgia creeping up as I played the game. The singleplayer of the original GoldenEye was never my cup of tea back in the day; it was either too slow during the stealth sections or too overwhelming when gunfights were a must. For better or worse, this GoldenEye gives you enough tools to not only overcome the waves of enemies but dominate them enough that death is barely a worry.
When it comes to the multiplayer, there was very little to be seen that replicated the old thrills I used to have. Unfortunately it took me about 20 minutes or more to start-up matches and many of the ones I wanted to participate in didn’t have enough people to populate a decent match. Even once the matches started, the shooting felt a bit off and many of my lives were just seconds long before getting shot by some random person I had not seen standing a few feet behind me. Once I built up enough knowledge with a few of the maps, I realized what I truly liked about the game could not be duplicated until I found a few other friends to join in some custom games. All the original’s tweaks to the custom matches are still there, and I could see myself reliving all the fun from the olden days of GoldenEye 64, I just had to find four friends to stop by my house to play. Weapon restrictions, melee only matches, and even paintball all make a return to the game and I can honestly say it had me salivating at the possibilities that could be had once I was able to find a few good matches.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded could have easily just been an exact copy of the original game placed on market as a downloadable title but instead Eurocom and Activision chose to update the old formula and it worked for the most part. You’ll still mix stealthy takedowns with shooting segments but strewn between are action set pieces that give the game momentum while still retaining the original’s feel. Along with these action set-pieces, you’re also no longer faced with bland environments, static backgrounds, or a nonsensical storyline told mostly through dossiers. Instead, this new Bond’s story brings you in right from the start and pushes you through the story at a pace that feels like a smaller one man version of a Call Of Duty game.
This emulation of a big AAA title is also where I feel the game falls the flattest because there’s just too little here that could compare to the likes of the bombastic nature of a COD storyline. I would have rather seen less explosions with a focus on stealth and gadgets, but instead we have an over the top explosion filled game that does not have much life of its own. The changes that were made fix a lot of the original’s problems unfortunately also introduces new problems that stand in stark contrast to the shiny topcoat. Every enemy that you kill or incapacitate immediately disappears within seconds of you defeating them which takes away any reason to be stealthy within the game. You’re also faced with AI that has two settings, walk along designated routes or slight dodging movements while you unload your clip into them. For any kind of challenge, you’re better off setting the difficulty to hard than having to sit through the endless shooting gallery found in any of the other settings.
I liked the walk down memory lane that GoldenEye 007: Reloaded offered me, but often times revisiting the past can only shed light on experiences that have been rose tinted over time. Getting my hands on multiplayer didn’t give me the same rush I had back then because there were no jibs shared, the connections sucked, and the lack of a community meant I was unable to try the modes I was most looking forward to. Playing through GoldenEye had me smiling at the parts that emulated the original well, and rolling my eyes at the parts that just showed poor game design. The upgrades to the graphics and storyline did give the game some character, but it also took away from it being a Bond game; instead of a new entry into the franchise we have a Bond Of Duty knockoff that has very little identity of its own.
+Upgrades a Nostalgic Classic
+Retains old custom settings for multiplayer
-Very predictable AI
-Not enough of an online community for matches
Final Score: 7 out of 10