Review: Goldeneye 007: Reloaded (PS3)

Title: Goldeneye 007: Reloaded
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Eurocom
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: T
Extras: PlayStation Move Compatible

Activision knows that you’ve been hoping and praying for another chance to redeem yourself after being double-crossed by 006, and has even set you up in a Daniel Craig disguise so you won’t be recognized. You would expect this to work great since all of the guards are looking for Pierce Brosnan…

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 244 of the podcast.

Gameplay:
Granted I haven’t played the N64 original for Goldeneye in a few years, but if you’re going to compare to that one, well of course the gameplay is fantastic, simply for the much better controller. What I don’t honestly remember though, is how accurate this remake is to the original locations or story.

When compared to the plethora of FPS’ on the market right now, then Goldeneye 007: Reloaded is pretty middle-of-the-road. There’s nothing new in the execution, controls, weaponry, level design, enemy AI, or really anything else that screams originality.

What bothers me is that there’s very well-known source material out there, but the developers and writers have chosen to merely pick and choose only certain elements and have created the rest out of thin air. I mean, you always see some creative license used when a movie is transformed to a video game, but usually not as much when a game is remade in newer technology.

What we get here is a mess though, as there are signs of brilliance that are ultimately overtaken by uneven textures, weird changes in well-known characters, and odd changes to different elements that are more confusing than convincing.

The gameplay here is what you’d expect from an FPS. Get into cover, pop-up, kill enemy, drop back into cover, rinse, repeat. There is of course, an underlying metagame as well, giving the player a secondary objective to optionally complete for a better ranking, and the standard “hidden items” to shoot in each level.

The secondary objectives aren’t very difficult to accomplish if you’re actually mindful of them during the level, but the hidden objects are ridiculously hidden to the point where they’re almost completely obscured from view unless the player is in a very specific spot, and he or she just happens to look at that specific location in the corner of the outside of a bunker with trees and foliage covering the entire thing. It’s a recipe for frustration that I quickly chose to ignore.

The campaign itself is objectives-based, and loosely follows the story in the original movie…. very loosely. There’s a lot of sneaking, which at first was fun, since it’s not anywhere close to the level of an MGS title, but you’ll quickly realize that the clunky level design and pedestrian AI will completely ruin your expectations of playing a stealth-oriented game.

My experience quickly would become “shoot about 4 or 5 guys in the head with my silenced Walther PPK, then all hell breaks loose because of a simple incorrect movement, or because an enemy spotted me across a room when the lights were out.” At that point, it became a standard FPS, but with AI enemies that home in on you no matter what distance there is between you and said enemy, and unless you get a headshot, expect to spend an entire clip on each one. That, or the occasional AI enemy that would hunch in the corner until you find and eliminate him.

To take a step back though, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong here. It just doesn’t do anything unique or groundbreaking, and with other FPS’ like Resistance 3, Killzone 3, Battlefield 3, and yes, even Modern Warfare 3, the gameplay is just “there”. There’s nothing really compelling other than the desire to get through the mediocre story.

Visuals:
This is a completely mixed bag. There’s some really cool stuff here like HDR lighting, weather effects like rain and snow, and all at 60FPS. But there are also elements that make this game look like a launch title for the original Xbox. The best example I can give is when you drive the tank through Moscow. The textures are blurry, the gameplay clunky, object models are simple, and glitches abound.

It’s quite jarring when you have a gorgeous level like when you’re sneaking through a snow covered forest, just to be taken back a few years when you get to the Goldeneye facility itself. Some of the level and graphical designs are brilliant, while others seem to be copied from the game Haze. All-in-all the visuals can really impress, it’s just a shame that with all that’s good, there are other elements that are just as bad.

Audio:
Again, this can be a mixed bag, but is much more consistent than the visuals. Some guns don’t really seem to have that “oomph” that you would expect, but the little details like eavesdropping on enemy NPC’s conversations or the snapping of a baddie’s neck while you silently take him out of the picture, fit very well with the feel of this game. Surround is used well, and when sneaking through a large group of enemies, helps quite a bit in making sure that someone’s not in your blind spot.

Both Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench are the only voices that you’ll recognize from the Bond World (even though for Goldeneye you’d expect to hear Pierce Brosnan as Bond.) The rest of the voice work is adequate, but there’s nothing special there. The story has been changed a bunch from the movie, but the characters are all present here, even though most are here only in name, as many have been visually changed, and personality characteristics are also quite different than their movie counterparts.

Online/Multiplayer:
Here’s the crux of this game. The biggest reason that Goldeneye gained such popularity on the N64 was the 4-player split-screen multiplayer, which at the time was revolutionary for console gaming.

In this new iteration, the multiplayer has the same feel that was in the original game, albeit now online with more players. But this begs the question of how good this can really be in 2011. I can see people falling victim to nostalgia, but more often than not, I would almost bet that dusting-off the old N64 version would be a more favorable experience than trying to recreate the experience with newer tech and online availability.

For me, it just didn’t cut it. I was pretty bored with the multiplayer, but I’m also the FPS fanatic in our group. I do believe that there is a small section of gamers that will enjoy this, but at the same time, I just don’t see the multiplayer in this new version of Goldeneye lasting very long for anyone.

Conclusion:
In my opinion, and even though I wasn’t a huge fan (mainly because of the awkward N64 controller,) I still recognize that the original Goldeneye on the N64 had a huge impact on gaming as a whole (even more than Halo I’d say.)

I can definitely see the nostalgic angle that a lot of gamers around my age could take toward this “reloaded” version. But at the end of the day, all we’ve gotten is a bland FPS with a shiny new coat. Some of the visual elements blow me away, while others left me wanting a lot more. For games based on James Bond, I actually prefer Blood Stone to this one.

But like I mentioned before, there’s nothing really “broken” here, but there’s also nothing extraordinary or groundbreaking either, and that’s the focal point that I kept coming back to when I was playing this game. I noticed myself being bored and merely playing it “to get through it for review.” That, to me, is the most telling factor of what this game brings to the table.

Score:
7.0

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  • Nicholas Lambert

    Really would have preferred someone who was more in depth with what Goldeneye was back in the day to review this, since this is basically what it was made for. I agree with the B- nonetheless because of the reasons that it’s not great but not bad either, and I definitely don’t like the change of story and such. Would have been a lot better if they made it just like the original, especially if they are going for the nostaligia factor. Despite the fact this is a PSN blog shoulda got a n64 regular back in the day for that one. Not one saying the controller was ‘awkward’.

    Also, goldeneye didn’t just affect gaming and FPS, but truly brought it to the forefront and made it mainstream. Sure Halo did some great things, but there likely wouldn’t be Halo, or at least Halo as we know it if it wasn’t for Goldeneye.

  • Anonymous

    I played tons of the original and liked the look of this, sadly.. The Wii version was a let down and this is the same, with a bit more gloss.