The original GoldenEye game broke new ground on the Nintendo 64, arguably proving for the first time that a real first person shooter was possible on consoles. Somehow, it managed to crack the complexity of performing precise and sweeping movement simultaneously on something other than a mouse and keyboard, while also bringing a compelling narrative and superb multiplayer all together in a single package. Not bad for a movie-based game.
With such a legacy, it's probably not that surprising that publishers have shied away from creating an entirely new game based on the same franchise, despite the potentially lucrative interest the name will bring along with it. Until now. The Wii version of GoldenEye 007, a game unrelated to the N64 version, released in 2010 to moderate acclaim - achieving a whopping 9.3 right here on NZGamer.com. One thing Activision heard time and again when talking about the game is how much players would like to play it on Xbox 360 and PS3 - a platform Activision believes that more people like to play FPS games on.
So, in a move that will shock few (especially given the fact that third party, mature-rated titles tend to fare poorly on Nintendo platforms), Activision are sprucing up the game and bringing it to a new audience, in the form of GoldenEye 007 Reloaded - for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
It's not exactly the same game, however, with some minor tweaks to the original game's narrative, which itself was modified from the plot of the film to ensure that it's both up to date politically and inline with the way the Daniel Craig version of Bond behaves.
It also sports things like Move support on PS3, and 16-player online multiplayer modes. There are some more features to be announced, too, however Activision are keeping a tight lid on such things for the meantime - feel free to speculate (Kinect? Vita? Zombies?) in the comments.
We saw a play-through of a mission where Bond works with his then-pal AlecTrevelyan, also known as agent 006. Both are assaulting a Soviet base, intent on destroying an arms cache before it can be used for acts of a dubious nature. In the mission, the developers demonstrated that much of the may in which the level plays out is up to the player. Stealthy play is encouraged, with loads of options to avoid and deflect danger, complete with multiple paths and rewards on offer for the player that has a keen observational bent. Alternatively, if you don't mind a challenge, the old run'n'gun method will still net you results - albeit in a far different manner.
Key voices are provided by their cinematic equivalents, with Dame Judy Dench, Daniel Craig, and Rory Kinnear all lending considerable authenticity to proceedings. The goal of delivering a movie-like experience doesn't end there, either, with Daniel Craig's actual Bond stuntman performing motion-captured animations for the virtual 007, and the music and writing for the game also being provided by those that would normally work on the films. All of this adds up to a very Bond-like experience, with the secret agent's DNA literally oozing from the pixels.
Speaking of those pixels... there's no getting around it; Reloaded looks like what it is - a port. You'll rarely be under the illusion that you're looking at a game which was built for PS3 and Xbox 360 from the ground up. Graphics aren't everything, though, and there's time left before the Christmas-ish release window to tidy things up.
After our rave review of the original, we're keeping a close eye on this one. A decent FPS that supports both 4-player split-screen and 16-player online multiplayer is a rare thing indeed, let alone one with a killer campaign and luxuriously treated top-tier license attached. Watch out for it in November.
The Good: It's Bond, baby.
The Bad: It's a port; you can tell from the pixels
The Ugly: No gold controllers this time around