Goldeneye: Reloaded (Hands-On Preview)

If you don’t have a Nintendo Wii, then you may have ignored their Goldeneye remake. Hell, you might have a Wii, but the prospect of taking it out of the box to mangle your childhood memories with bastardised controls just doesn’t seem like a good idea. Well now the N64 classic, a game that many regard as the best movie tie-in ever and one of the finest multiplayer games in existence, is getting the HD treatment it deserves. Fuck knows why emotional potato man Daniel Craig is in it though.

Goldeneye: Reloaded isn’t an entirely faithful HD reworking, it’s more of a ‘reimagining’, which if you remember Tim Burton describing his remake of Planet of the Apes the same way a few years ago, isn’t always a great thing. In fairness though the game scored well on the Wii and it’s bound to be better than the last Bond title we saw on the HD consoles, Blood Stone.

At Gamescom I managed to get a hand-on with a stealth heavy level in a winter forest. After a bit of creeping around towards a secret military base Bond looks on as the storm clouds are pierced with a beam of light. Which we’ll presume is a test of the Goldeneye device, which emits an EMP blast that kills all electrical devices. Either that or there are a lot of drunk pilots in the sky as a fighter jet screams overhead and straight into a bridge, closely followed by a helicopter that explodes into the trees nearby, knocking Bond out.

When he regains consciousness, he resumes his journey to the base but now there are extra guards to take out along the way as they’ve come to look for survivors of the crashes. At this stage of the game, stealth is clearly the wiser option. Headshots with your silenced pistol or suppressed sub-machine gun are the way to go. Patience can often work for you too as most groups of guards will usually split up, allowing you to take them out one by one.

Melee takedowns are much more satisfying though, crouching down behind a fallen tree you can pull someone over to your side, cover their mouth and look at the fear in their startled eyes, then punch them straight in the face, knocking them out in one clean blow. Other context sensitive takedowns involve slamming heads into walls. They’re all strangely amusing, but none more so than the one where you lower yourself down from the ceiling upside-down Spider-Man style, in front of some poor schmuck on the toilet before knocking him out.

If you have to go loud with the weapons the AKs lying around will do the job, with the scoped ones being particularly effective in the snowy conditions. Exploration is rewarded with finding weapons-cases with special weapons like a sniper rifle. Shame there was only a couple of clips of ammo though. At no point during the demo did I uncover any Bond moments where you get the familiar Bond signature tune to signify you’d found a hidden object or had done something cool. Hopefully these moments are to be found in other parts of the game as set-pieces are something the Bond games used to excel at on previous generations of console.

There are some telltale textures that give away the fact that the game is being ported from a Wii game rather than getting a full remake. It’s far from awful looking but not exactly pushing your console, as you’d imagine most of Activision’s budget is going into its COD machine. It does at least look considerably better than other Wii ports like No More Heroes. Some of the visual effects do look a little better on this version; the snow drifting through the night sky as you skulk through the forest works a treat and the detailed expression and skin texture on a soldier’s face when you knock him out being stand out moments from the demo. Exceptions to the overall polish of the game could be made if the game is released at a discounted price, as the core of the game will be a year old soon.

One part of the game caused proper concern though. The sensitivity of aiming, regularly and down the sights, was way too sensitive and the settings where out of balance. Put it on the lowest and it would barely move and all the other nine settings were all the same super-speed. Hopefully this will be sorted by the time the game is finished; otherwise, it could be a damning factor indeed.

There’s no solid release date down for the game yet so we’d say there’s every chance the visuals could get some further polish and the sensitivity of the controls could be tweaked. No multiplayer options were on display at Gamescom, which was one of the Wii versions much praised features, especially with the representations of the older maps. That might help sway PS3 and 360 owners to pick up the game. That and the HD visuals and grown-up control pads.

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