After the success of the 2010 redrawing of Goldeneye 007 on Wii and Nintendo DS, it comes as little surprise that Activision would want to recreate that same demand on the high-definition formats. The Nintendo designs were intrinsically an effort to appeal to those gamers who had rarely picked up a pad since playing Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64 over a decade ago, but here on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 it’s a very different audience. Here on high-definition consoles, Goldeneye 007 is revered as the title that brought first-person shooters (FPS) to the forefront of console gaming.
To begin with, it must be stated that Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is a different videogame to Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64, and also a different videogame to that of the Wii and Nintendo DS releases. There’s no denying that Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is a more technically advanced videogame than RARE’s 1998 masterpiece – more than a decade of advancement in technology and design will do that for you – but it is a very modern videogame. It’s not as much a remake of Goldeneye 007 as it is a revision: there are many aspects of the level and weapon design that will ring familiar with fans of the original, but by-and-large Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is a completely different videogame experience.
Being benefit to the capabilities of modern hardware has obviously resulted in Goldeneye 007 Reloaded being a more modern videogame, an affect to which some will warm quickly while others will become discouraged. It’s a more linear experience, with objectives proving to only offer one successful outcome, however the combat is still open to interpretation. Thankfully, developers Eurocom have seen fit to allow the player to tackle different situations in very different ways, even within the same level. It’s not a simple case of stealth versus loud automatic weapons, or run and gun versus close assaults; players are given the option to use a wide variety of weaponry and the environment in order to confuse and overcome enemies, creating ambushes and executing finely detailed manoeuvres. It’s here that Goldeneye 007 has left its mark on Goldeneye 007 Reloaded: it could be argued that Goldeneye 007 Reloaded had ‘dumbed down’ the straight line objective design of the videogame, but it’s left the action open to player interpretation in such a way that it promotes forethought and intuition.
While the mission objectives are less inventive than that of the original, Goldeneye 007 Reloaded does retain the expanded mission structure for harder difficulty settings. Players will find that ramping up the difficulty will not only increase enemy awareness and decrease weapon effectiveness, but it will also add new layers to each mission by way of new objectives. In another homage to the original, players can opt for the 007 Classic difficulty setting, in which health does not regenerate and body armour must be secured to survive. It’s often argued that videogames are becoming easier, designed not for challenge, but for the experience; if ever there was evidence of this, Goldeneye 007 Reloaded’s 007 Classic mode is it.
In terms of plot, Goldeneye 007 Reloaded takes more liberties with the storyline and settings of the original motion picture than Goldeneye 007. On the Nintendo 64 it was out of necessity, here on high-definition formats it feels occasionally lazy. The argument is that Goldeneye 007 Reloaded has not just modernised the gameplay, but also the storyline: it brings the original Goldeneye 007 plot up-to-date in terms of the recent Daniel Craig reboot. However, in doing so it has effectively created an almost entirely different experience and raises the question as to why? Why not simply create a new videogame, with a new plot in a new setting? Of course, the answer would be in the financial clout: for all the success of James Bond 007: Blood Stone, it simply doesn’t have the same market appeal as a revisit to Goldeneye 007 for the core videogaming demographic.
It should also be noted that it’s not just Pierce Brosnan that has been replaced in Goldeneye 007 Reloaded: all of the lead characters have had a visual makeover. New actors have been brought in to portray each character, again suggested as an effort to bring the Goldeneye 007 plot inline with the modern reboot of the James Bond motion pictures. The visual quality of these new characters is simply fantastic: it’s not about the clarity of each actor, but the visual persona. In a traditional James Bond sense, the bad guys are easy to distinguish from the good guys, even before that tell-all accent is heard.
The multiplayer gameplay of Goldeneye 007 Reloaded will obviously be a key selling point, and here on the high-definition consoles a brand new offering has been made in the form of Mi6 Mode. Essentially an adaptation of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s Spec Ops mode, Mi6 Mode puts the player in a specific scenario on a specific map, and has them play through a series of elimination rounds, or stealth modes in which being seen ends the game, and so on. The Mi6 Mode is a pleasant addition, especially given the option for co-operative gameplay, but it is relatively short lived given the lack of variety in the objectives. The competitive multiplayer allows for up to sixteen players online, though thankfully hasn’t ignored the option for split-screen gameplay. Borrowing the now traditional selection of multiplayer modes, Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is an enduring experience online, though gamers expecting a revisit to the rules of the Nintendo 64 classic may find themselves shocked by the quick-fire nature of this modern release: in multiplayer, Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is clearly more Call of Duty than it ever was Goldeneye 007.
This is the essence of Goldeneye 007 Reloaded in effect: it’s a videogame intended to appeal to a knowing audience, but one which hasn’t forgotten the passing of time. Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is a revision of Goldeneye 007 in a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare mould. Those hoping for a straight recreation of the Nintendo 64 classic will be disappointed, just as they would if Goldeneye 007 Reloaded was a simple high-definition makeover of the original: the passing of fourteen years has not been kind to Goldeneye 007, and while it should remain a cherished landmark in FPS history, it hasn’t aged well. Goldeneye 007 Reloaded is a new vision, a new experience and a new videogame, built from the ground up for a modern audience. And in that respect, it couldn’t be more successful at adapting the James Bond experience.