GoldenEye 007: Reloaded

Gamescom 2011: GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Hands-On Preview – For England, James?

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Bond. James Bond. England's finest secret agent might have a licence to kill, but he's also had a patchy movie history. That's nothing compared to his video game back catalogue though, which is simply all over the place. Jimmy B has had some highlights in his gaming career, from his bloated but still playable third-person and first-person outings on the EA label, to his latest movie tie-in with the Quantum of Solace game using the Call of Duty engine. But nothing has succeeded in mustering the same level of notoriety and fan fondness as the 1997 N64 classic GoldenEye, the Bond game that helped put Rare on the map with its 4-player split-screen and general greatness.

So, with Activision resurrecting GoldenEye 007 on the Wii, it's high time for the game to be reloaded for high-definition consoles, which is where GoldenEye 007: Reloaded comes in. Do you see what they did there? Ostensibly a remake of a remake, Reloaded retains much of what made the original great, with 4-player local multiplayer and a single-player campaign based upon the 1995 Pierce Brosnan movie. Except there's no Pierce Brosnan. Or Sean Bean. In fact, there's very little of the original cast, with current Bond, Daniel Craig stepping into Brozzer's shoes like he did on the Wii, while the villain of the piece, Trevelyan is played by actor Elliot Cowan, who's done voice-overs in games like Dragon Age: Origins, as well as movie work in films like Alexander, so he seems well-qualified.

Judi Dench reprises her role as M, making her the only original cast member from GoldenEye, while the rest of the cast is made up of a variety of actors, none of which were in the original GoldenEye movie. Still, the characters are all still present and correct, even if they've been updated to fit in with the current Bond canon. Our demo picks up with the re-imagined opening to the movie, with Bond and Trevelyan looking for munitions being sold to General Ourumov at the Arkhangelsk weapons facility. Wriggling his way into an air vent, Bond infiltrates the facility, while M's aide Tanner issues mission objectives and intel over 007's comm device.

Crawling through the ventilation shaft, Bond emerges in the toilet looking down upon a soldier taking a dump, in a nod to the movie. And as in the movie, 007 bounces the unsuspecting trooper's head off the cubicle walls, knocking him out cold. Tiptoeing his way out of the gent's into the corridors, Bond spies a scientist considering which chocolate bar to buy from a vending machine, before slamming his face off the glass. There was no way to slink past him unnoticed, and well, Bond loves smashing people's heads into hard objects.

Pressing in the right stick executes these brutal takedown moves, ensuring that 007 can subdue enemies without drawing unwanted attention. Daniel Craig's movie stunt double motion-captured all of these moves, so they look authentic and 'Bondian', if that's even a word. If it's not, it should be. Eventually, Bond comes to a more open, larger area more like a warehouse, where he surveys the floor below from the gantry, firing his silenced PPK at a patrolling guard. Alerted, the guard runs to pull the alarm, but a second shot puts him down. Making his way underneath a bridge spanning the warehouse, Bond enters an office on the other side, tripping a camera and raising the alarm and kicking off the action, throwing stealth out of the window. There's multiple routes to take, and 007 could have easily taken a less stealthy approach.

Packing an AK-47, Bond soon swaps it out for a silenced MP-5, and blasts his way through a few enemy soldiers outside the complex where there's exploding vehicles leaving behind flaming lumps of twisted metal and a helicopter circling the area, firing at Bond from the air. Her Majesty's finest then grabs a scoped AK, shimmies behind cover and picks his moment to sprint towards a SAM nest, where he's able to launch a ground-to-air missile at the pesky chopper. If memory serves, it's after this sequence that Bond legs it to the edge of a dam and bungee jumps off it, but we don't get to see that far in, as the single-player demo wraps up. At this point, we're introduced to the all-new MI6 Ops mode, which offers 11 different maps with a variety of mission objectives, a lot like Modern Warfare 2's Spec Ops.

Here we're allowed to go hands-on with the Jungle map on Elimination mode, which is as it sounds, a mission wherein you have to eliminate the waves of enemy troops all relentlessly hunting you down. There'll be Stealth, Assault and Defence missions to tackle in the full game too, each with adjustable parameters like difficulty levels, AI aggression and so on, as well as classic modifiers like paintball mode, golden guns and others. Leaderboards will show what modifiers and parameters you used, so you can compare scores with fellow players who managed a high score with the easiest difficulty setting and feeble AI, which is incidentally the setting we're playing on for our demo.

Running across the jungle map, we get our hands on an assault rifle and shoot our way through as many baddies as we can, before being ambushed from every side and shot to pieces. Not very Bond of us... With a target of 30 kills failed, and only a few multi-kills to our name, we hand the controller to someone else, trying to put our shameful performance to one side. Still, we get chance to get a feel for the game and it handles well enough, is enjoyable and has the potential to bring Bond back in style, despite some slightly murky textures that don't appear to have been updated much since appearing on the Wii last year. Still, it's HD, which is a step in the right direction.

With an expanded multiplayer mode for up to 16-players featuring new maps, modes and new classic characters, as well as all of the Wii version's content, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded certainly looks to be a generous and robust package, and with a few months left in development, Eurocom could rescue the slightly sub-par visuals, because everything else seems to be in place to make the return of GoldenEye something to look forward to. For now though, consider us shaken, rather than stirred.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded will be on Her Majesty's Secret Service in autumn 2011.


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Game Info


US November 01, 2011
Europe November 04, 2011

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