Being on Her Majesty's Secret Service really sucks.
Once upon a time, there was a game for the Nintendo 64 that put all other movie-licensed games to shame. Rare and Nintendo teamed up and produced a console first-person shooter that made for endless deathmatches and slappers-only entertainment. Matches were competitive to the point that they quickly became silly opportunities to mow down your neighbors, your best friends, and even your brothers and sisters.
Those times are long gone. Goldeneye 007 will never be as good as it was way back when. Seriously, stop trying to bring it back. Electronic Arts tried once. You've probably dug up your Nintendo 64 and had a few matches before getting right back to Halo. This time, Activision has used the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis to raise Goldeneye's worm-filled corpse.... TWICE OVER.
Last year's Wii-exclusive Goldeneye 007 must have performed well-enough, but it would be a safe bet that the company always planned to port it over to the Xbox 360 and PS3, where online multiplayer and HD graphics could reign in another crowd of suckers.
James Bond is yet again caught up in a mystery and conspiracy involving Russians, space-faring nukes, stolen helicopters, and his old partner 006. HE'S THE BAD GUY EVERYONE. You've already seen this movie, played this game, played it again, and now here you are, as Bond, but not-Bond, fighting the same enemies and progressing through the same levels.
Daniel Craig steps into the shoes this time... again... F***. This is getting confusing. Let's quit beating around the bush and say what everyone is already thinking. This game is not what you want it to be. It's not worth your money if you played the original. It retains the smallest iota of Goldeneye 007 from the Nintendo 64 and replaces every other aspect of the game with corridor shooting and roller-coaster riding a la Call of Duty. It's even in Call of Duty's engine. This is lazy, lazy, lazy.
Goldeneye 007: Reloaded does score points, though, for its numerous difficulties and modes. The hardest difficulty removes the regenerating health and tasks you with rationing your body armor and health pickups accordingly. That's about as non-Call of Duty as it gets, so gamers with nostalgia for the 64 outing should know that some of the difficulty they remember returns here. MI6 missions complement the single-player game, and online multiplayer is about as playable as ever. It's true that many positive steps have been taken, but gamers who ignore some of the finer aspects of Goldeneye will surely find their money wasted.
Stealth was always a key component in James Bond gaming, but here it's simply optional. Ignoring the opportunities the game gives you to silently take out armed thugs or all of the spare objectives in harder difficulties will ultimately filter out all the greatness that even suggests this game could live up to your memories as 007.
Instead of forcing the player to play the game the way it was back in the day, Goldeneye 007: Reloaded does too much to modernize the classic first-person shooter. That ultimately means that players have to dig deep if they want to find the golden nuggets of nostalgia. Modern gamers with no memory of Rare's classic shooter will be disappointed after all these years of Battlefield and Call of Duty.
Remaking games is hard, and what little Activision has done to maintain the Goldeneye spirit is commendable. At least they didn't create a game that gave you an actual Goldeneye. Still, there are much better shooters on the market. It's time to hang up the cummerbund and bow tie and enjoy your martini with another game.
Review based on PS3 version. Copy provided by publisher.