Game Review: Revisiting GoldenEye 007: Reloaded

Released: November 2011

Rating: PEGI 16

Heralded as a masterpiece when it launched in 1997, GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64 certainly made its mark on the gaming world and proved hugely popular, although you could claim the game arguably hasn’t aged all that well. Nowadays, it feels very clunky and hard to control – at least compared to some modern FPS games (although that could just be down to the cumbersome and rather uncomfortable Nintendo 64 controller). The graphics have aged terribly (unsurprisingly) and it lacks some FPS features players are used to these days such as a compass or a mini-map to help you navigate through the levels if you get stuck and there are no checkpoints; if you die you’re sent right back to the beginning of the level. Then there are the hordes of endlessly respawning enemies which is rather irksome. That said, the multiplayer is a good laugh, there are built-in cheats to mess around with, and the gadgets are fun.

That’s just my take on it of course, but let’s now focus on 2011’s GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, an enhanced version of the 2010 GoldenEye 007 release on the Wii. Building on the Wii game with a few extra bells and whistles could be one way you sum it up, and that’s by no means a bad foundation.

Although it’s not as popular as the original game from 1997 (which it references), GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is far from shabby and does get a lot right. The controls are very intuitive and the visuals are decent with some nice detailing. You play as James Bond and the game does a reasonable job of putting you in his shoes. The levels are diverse in terms of design, plus there’s an extra mode called MI6 Ops in which you face endless waves of enemies as 007, which adds extra replay value. The smartphone objectives on missions involving things like capturing snaps and hacking are a neat 21st century update on the classic Bond gadgetry, and you can opt to be stealthy, or not stealthy at all in terms of how you play the game.

While the revamped story isn’t great and lacks Boris (a key character who starred in the 90’s GoldenEye film and game), it’s at least serviceable and Daniel Craig did original voice-work for the character, which is a plus point. There are multiple routes to explore and clever new takes on old GoldenEye features such as the tank sequence and the re-imagined version of the first level, which actually features a bit of Trevelyan working alongside Bond – at least for a while.

Some say that GoldenEye 007: Reloaded (and the highly similar Wii GoldenEye game from a year earlier) is just a Call of Duty clone that features Bond as a one man army. Yes, a lot of the gameplay involves scripted set pieces and James Bond shooting more than several baddies, but the game still sucks you in and is genuinely entertaining, exciting, and riveting. You can also find this game for an inexpensive price these days, although, regrettably, it is not playable on any current generation systems.

Given that it had many big-name FPS titles to compete with for sales in late 2011 (such as Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3), GoldenEye 007: Reloaded seemed overshadowed and overlooked, but that didn’t make it any less interesting to play. I can’t comment on the online multiplayer because I never tried it, although I’d imagine it’d be hard to find a match in the year 2020 if the game’s online mode is even still up and running.

I would say most James Bond and FPS fans will probably enjoy this game for what it is: a re-imagined reinvention of a classic video game and movie that tries new things and mostly succeeds. Don’t expect it to just be a visually improved re-release of the 1997 Nintendo 64 GoldenEye 007 game though, because it really is very different.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Words by James Gillespie


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