GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is a difficult game to review for a couple of reasons. First, I loved the N64 original. I remember surrendering an entire summer to split-screen multiplayer in my parents’ basement. GoldenEye was the first game that really grabbed me and showed just how much enjoyment you can wring out a game when it’s got great multiplayer. I’ve played single-player campaigns multiple times before (including GoldenEye’s), but I don’t think I’ve ever poured as much time into a multiplayer game as I have the first GoldenEye. Second, it’s hard not to compare Reloaded to the original in other areas. The story here has been modernized (due to contractual issues, the game could not be simply ported). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re looking for the original script, you won’t find it here.
So what’s changed? GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is an up-port of a Wii game that is a reimagining of an N64 game that is an adaptation of a movie. You wouldn’t think there was a lot of wiggle room in terms of story, but Reloaded’s plot introduces elements of economic depression and our dependence on technology. It’s more relevant than the original and it will hit home for more people. I don’t know many people who play 007 games for their relevance to everyday life, but it’s there.
MI6 Ops Mode is a new addition for the HD consoles, and it should have been great. It’s a 007 take on the challenge room concept that Rocksteady has perfected in Batman: Arkham City. You’ll defend consoles from enemies, take down opponents with stealth, or just take out as many guards as you can before time runs out. This mode should have been a blast, but the dunderheaded AI makes it pretty lackluster. The developers do their best to hide the shoddy AI in the campaign, but when you’re going to include a mode that is supposed to be about challenging combat you’re going to need decent enemy AI, and it’s just not here.
One thing that hasn’t changed is some of the limitation inherent in programming for the Wii. GoldenEye Reloaded looks better than the N64 original, but it doesn’t look like it was designed for the 360 and PS3 from the ground up – because it wasn’t. Dead enemies disappear instantly, and all of the textures are lower-resolution than they should be. GoldenEye: Reloaded isn’t ugly, but it isn’t what you imagine when you think “GoldenEye in HD on my 360” either.
Multiplayer has also been updated, at least in theory. I had trouble finding matches online, and not due to low population. Searches end prematurely and spew large numbers of error messages at the player. And if you do manage to connect to a match online, the frame rate online is abysmal. Despite including Xbox Live features, most of the multiplayer fun to be had in Reloaded comes from split-screen play. Hopefully, the server issues and multiplayer frame rate are fixed by a patch, but right now the menu pick had may as well not be there.
Reloaded is a trip down memory lane, and it’s not a bad one if all you want is an updated campaign and a shiny new version of GoldenEye to play in split-screen with your childhood friends. If your friends all live in different states now (like mine do) you’ll be disappointed with the product as delivered. Patches are supposed to be for problems you didn’t see coming, and I have a very hard time believing that none of this showed up throughout the QA process.
Pros: I can finally play GoldenEye with modern controls
Cons: Online multiplayer is a joke, MI6 Ops Mode doesn’t live up to its potential