GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 from Rare, was one of the most iconic and well-remembered games in the history of first person shooters. It was highly addictive gameplay complete with an added four split screen multiplayer that delivered an intense battle of wits against stealth as you completed objectives that followed the storyline from the famous 1995 movie featuring Pierce Brosnan.
Out now for the Xbox 360 is Activision’s brand new take on a gaming masterpiece – Refined, Recharged and Reloaded. The Bond adventure that began it all returns as GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. It may be a completely new game and not a simple HD re-skin of the original, but it still waves a strong hint of familiarity right under your nose – enough to bring back the memories of what a great time you had playing the original and what a fantastic visual masterpiece the reimagined HD ‘Reloaded’ is today. Daniel Craig has replaced Brosnan as James Bond in this outing, but the storyline still follows that of the original movie as well as additional improvements to give a more current day impression.
As Bond, you’re a top Mi6 Agent on a mission to stop the Janus crime syndicate from acquiring the GoldenEye, a classified top secret Russian satellite EMP first strike weapon system which can cause catastrophic economic damage. The game features six main missions named as per the location of your travels, each containing individual chapters within. You start in the Russian locale of Arkhangelsk, to infiltrate a Russian Dam with Operative 006 and destroy weapon shipments before they are passed over to terrorist organisations. The story unfolds following the shooting of 006 by General Ourumov, a Russian general who misuses his authority and position to help the Janus crime syndicate gain access to the GoldenEye. In your hunt for Ourumov, you need to first locate Zukovsky, a Russian gangster with connections to Ourumov, who wants to steal a helicopter that has been modified to survive an electromagnetic pulse set off by the GoldenEye. The game will have you meet with Zukovsky in Barcelona, see you travel to Dubai to prevent a prototype EMP hardened helicopter from being stolen, and later infiltrate a Russian climate change facility where you are captured. Following an escape mission, you resume your pursuit of Ourumov and the Janus crime syndicate where the whole story comes to a glorious HD spectacular climax in Nigeria.
The campaign itself is enthralling and requires a strong stealth ability to be able to move around from one location to the next, but you are a Spy after all! It is great to see the levels from the original remastered and re-designed in a whole new way that competes with other First Person Shooters in this generation of gaming. Visually the campaign is on par with Call of Duty: Black Ops for its environments, and dramatic effects – but the character models look a little flawed. Despite that, it’s an immense single player campaign that anyone who owned the original should most-definitely play. All the original characters are scattered throughout the game complete with all the familiar weapons which can be picked up from shooting your enemies. There are also noticeable changes that as previously mentioned make this a more modern day setting. The use of a Smartphone for transmitting data back to HQ instead of a watch from the original and even levels requiring the use of Night Vision Goggles.
Gameplay wise it’s not over technical as most of it is free-roaming around following an indicated target with on-screen prompts to alert you about your objectives. It can get pretty intense when you are spotted by enemies as they seem to come at you in waves, and unlike most other first person shooters, not only does an increased difficulty level provide harder survival skills and increased enemy damage – but you have even more objectives to complete than the easier settings! This does add extra play time to the campaign, but requires multiple playthrough’s if you want to earn all of the Achievements on offer, and this is still an intense battle of wits against stealth as remembered from the classic game back in 1997. If you had originally thought that GoldenEye 007: Reloaded was an HD skin of the N64 GoldenEye 007 game, it is not. The game may feature a similar storyline and locations, but all the levels have been redesigned and rebuilt from scratch to offer a whole new way to play GoldenEye in the same addictive, stealthy fashion!
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded on the Xbox 360 also introduces brand new Mi6 Ops Missions. Best compared against Spec Ops mode found in the Modern Warfare era of Call of Duty, the Mi6 Missions are new levels additional to the campaign based on settings within the story where you have to earn stars by completing challenges. The better you are completing the challenges, the more stars you will earn which will eventually unlock further levels within Mi6 Ops and even Achievements. There are eleven different challenges made up of a combination of Elimination, Defence, Stealth and Assault gameplay modes. Elimination is pretty self-explanatory, the objective is to eliminate all the hostiles on the level as quickly as possible – the quicker you are, the higher your score. Defence will put you in a situation where you will need to download data from enemy PC’s/Consoles whilst you are under attack; the aim is to defend the PC’s whilst enduring rounds of incoming bullets. To assist you can hack into turrets to help eliminate the enemies within the timeframe given. Stealth is the most painstaking of all the Mi6 Missions because it requires all hostiles in the level to be eliminated covertly without blowing your cover. You can use your silenced weapon if you are confident of a head-shot, but alternatively you can creep up behind an enemy and take him out from behind using your bare hands! Stealth requires patience and persistence because the moment you are caught in eye-sight by just one hostile, it’s game over!
Unfortunately, but still a great amount of fun all the same – Mi6 Missions are one player only. It would have been an added bonus to have included co-operative missions with a 006 buddy, but on the flip-side you do get Mission Modifiers to change your approach. Mission Modifiers allow you to vary your gameplay style – you can alter your health, your enemies health, change the radar, swap bullets for paintball mode, choose the Golden Gun (a one shot kill with unlimited ammo weapon), and many other fun ways to improve the difficulty rating of each mission. Mi6 Missions are incredibly great to play and offer alternative gameplay styles across ten different levels. The difficulty can be changed to suit, but still a challenging and addictive element to offer more replay value within the game.
One of the finest moments of the classic N64 GoldenEye was multiplayer, but in today’s gaming world we’re now able to take it online and play with anyone in whole different countries to our own. If the idea had been suggested in 1997, it would have been considered absurd, – just imagine in the N64 had online gaming! Ok, stop imagining – now the reality, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded offers a complete multiplayer experience with a great amount of available game types all without the use of any online pass either (bonus). It features 16-player online matches across 14 different maps with 13 available game modes! It offers more than your average first person shooter, but seems influenced by Call of Duty in many ways with its ranking system, custom loadouts and progressive XP, unlocks and even Accolades all very Modern Warfare 2-esque. It’s not a game that you could get bored with either due to the variety of online modes available.
There is free-for-all and team based games in Conflict Modes, with additional objective based game types available that involve being the offensive or defensive team whilst carrying out challenges. Golden Gun, returns with the special one-shot kill weapon, offering 5 times more points per kill than any other weapon. In this game, the player with the most points wins. The Golden Gun can be located on the map HUD and then retrieved off any player if you successfully kill its holder. As well as the typical bomb-based games where you either protect or plant them – a great mode not typically found all that often in first-person-shooters is Heroe’s Mode. Before the start of Heroes, a player is randomly chosen to be the Hero who is tougher, faster and deadlier than any other player. Heroes have infinite ammo and can assist nearby teammates with temporary weapon and health enhancements. For the more skilled players, the game offers License To Kill game types for the higher ranked and relies on a more strategic approach.
All of the available game modes online are equally as fun and enjoyable, but if you want to recreate the classic four player split screen scenario, then Local Split Screen is at hand. Using 4 players locally on the one console, each with their own controller you can choose from 5 different game modes that feature from the Xbox LIVE Multiplayer selection all in a conflict setting, and additionally 1 game type exclusive to Local Split Screen, the You Only Live Twice mode, where players have a set number of lives and the last player standing is the winner.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is certainly a title worthy of being amongst the best first person shooters on the market. It may not compete against Call of Duty, but actually offers a mix of modern and old-skool game modes that give hours and hours of replay value. It might never over-shadow the magic of the original, but brings to life the story of GoldenEye to a next-gen HD generation of gamers in a way that recreates this as a fantastic game in its own right. It doesn’t need the nostalgia of the classic N64 GoldenEye to succeed – this truly is a brilliant game both online and as a single player campaign. It could have been improved with additional co-operative modes, but doesn’t fail to impress – if you love Call of Duty, you should find room in your collection for GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, you will not be disappointed!