Goldeneye Reloaded is kind of a strange product. It’s basically a remake of a reboot, taking last year’s Wii game and updating it with higher resolution graphics and a few additions here and there. I never reviewed it proper but I quite enjoyed the Wii version. It captured the spirit and fun of the Nintendo 64 title (which yes, I played to death back in the day. I wouldn’t even want to know the hours I sank into that one) while remaining it’s own entity at the same time. It was nothing outstanding, but it was a good deal of fun. I never had a chance to get too deep into that game so I figured the Xbox 360 release would be the perfect chance to take an even better look at it.
How does it stack up against the Wii version, and especially against the original N64 version? I haven’t done a tease like this in a while now, I did not really miss them. In either case, click forward to read on.
If you played through Goldeneye on the Wii then you know exactly what you are in for here. The game itself is relatively untouched. It has the same levels and the same basic structure overall. I can’t even say “but now you can play it with a controller” since I personally, as well as many others I’m sure, played through the Wii game using a Classic Controller Pro. I’ll say right out of the gate that if you own the Wii game and have played a good amount of it, or if you played it and didn’t care for it, then I see no real reason for you to invest in this update. This one seems exclusively for those who do not own a Wii, or for people like myself who didn’t play a whole lot of it. So with that out of the way, let’s talk about whether it’s worth it if you fall into this latter group.
Of course if you are a Goldeneye purist then you will be mad right from the beginning as while the title and overall plot have remained in tact, virtually all of the other details have changed. Daniel Craig is of course representing Bond here instead of Mr. Brosnan. All of the characters have been changed, visually at least. They have the same names all around. The story beats are the same for the most part but there are details changed here and there. Overall none of this really bothered me as, to be honest, the plot and characters were by no means the reasons that I loved Goldeneye so much back in the day. They helped sure, but they weren’t a game changer in any way. If you can’t imagine Goldeneye without Brosnan or the original forms of the characters, then once again this one is not for you. Now that we have narrowed down the target demographic even further, let’s continue.
The campaign largely contains the same levels that you know, with a few additions here and there. The Dam, the Facility, the Outpost, they’re all here. They are just laid out differently than you remember. Sure some elements remain in tact, such as jumping down into the bathroom stall at the beginning of Facility, but for the most part what you will see here is largely different from what you may remember. The levels themselves are quite well done. Each level has its own objectives and there are more of them per stage depending on the level of difficulty you have selected (there are four total, including 007 Classic which gets rid of regenerating health and forces you to seek out health packs, which is a fun throwback). The objectives themselves are usually not terribly complicated but they do require you to go off the beaten path to hunt them down. The objective system has always been fun and provides some good incentive to replay levels. There are also Janus Emblems hidden away in each level that you can locate and shoot but they are often so tucked away that I didn’t enjoy the hunt for them. This did not provide good incentive to replay levels.
For lack of a better word, Goldeneye is a relatively simple shooter. Straight-forward if you will. Yes some of the objectives do require you to do some exploring but for the most part you will be walking a straight path and gunning down everyone and everything in your sight. The shooting itself is feels pretty good. You pull the left trigger to snap to a target so it can be very easy to take down a room full of enemies with a series of rapid headshots. It’s simple and satisfying. The problem is that the enemies tend to make it a little too simple for the most part. The AI in Goldeneye is none too impressive. Guys will often just cluster together, making it very easy to gun them all down with little effort. You can sneak up on two bad guys and perform a stealth kill on one without the other one even noticing. If you enter a room full of bad guys there’s no need to worry. Just walk right back out the door and wait them for them to walk through it in single file, taking each one down one at a time. It starts to feel like a shooting gallery eventually. I would recommend starting on the higher difficulty first as Normal is a complete breeze.
Goldeneye’s campaign also lacks variety. Say what you will about Call of Duty but throughout one of its campaigns you will do a wide variety of activities in addition to just walking around on the ground and shooting people. Goldeneye is 95% this. Occasionally you ride shotgun in a vehicle and shoot people, and there are some quick time events, but each level mostly consists of walking and shooting, nothing more. The campaign is of decent length, probably taking about 7 hours for me on Normal, but as I mentioned above there are reasons to go back and play through it. I did enjoy the campaign but a little more variety and some smarter opponents would have benefited it greatly.
Thankfully the campaign is only part of the package. New to this version of Goldeneye is MI6, which is essentially Modern Warfare’s Spec Ops mode. You select a mission and are rated based on your performance. It’s a fun addition but still contains some of the same problems, such as the weak AI. The shooting gallery analogy holds even more true for this mode.
The biggest draw for most people I’m sure though is the multiplayer. There is both online and good old classic Split Screen. All the modes you remember are here, including Golden Gun and License to Kill, athough the latter doesn’t unlock until you achieve rank 20. My biggest issue is that Classic Conflict, where you can select from a variety of Bond villains, is locked until you hit rank 35! This would already be quite a task but to make matters worse, at least as of this writing the servers are just shit. It takes forever to get into a game as most attempts result in a barrage of error messages. This game would have had trouble stacking up to Modern Warfare 3 even with functioning online so the fact it’s not working this long after the game’s launch is inexcusable. It seems fun when I do manage to connect at least, and I’ve had no issues with lag. If you have human friends then split-screen is still a blast and should probably be your mode of choice regardless.
Goldeneye Reloaded is overall a solid package. The campaign is fun if not a little mindless and MI6 mode is a good addition. The multiplayer should be what nets the game a recommendation from me but it’s not fucking working and even when it is, I can’t imagine the community will be thriving at this point. This makes Goldeneye a hard recommendation. Based on everything I’ve said, I would say get this game if you haven’t played the Wii version, are cool with changes from the original game, and don’t care too much about online multiplayer. Otherwise you can likely stick with the classic version and rest comfortably knowing that you aren’t missing too much.