Goldeneye 007: Reloaded multiplayer preview: The Wii is not enough

Hopefully it ends up more Casino and less Quantum

Most gamers have fond memories of playing Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64. It was, after all, the first big multiplayer shooter on consoles – and one that brought gamers together for four-player split-screen action time and time again. Since it hit shelves in 1997 fans have clamored for remakes and rereleases, and in 2010 their wish was finally granted... on the Wii. Now, just one year later, Goldeneye’s Wii reimagining is being remade in HD for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, bringing the classic shooter up to the modern generation for the first time. We recently had a chance to get some hands-on with the game’s multiplayer offerings, seeing exactly what makes this new HD version different from the one that released on the Wii last year.

Goldeneye 007: Reloaded has all of the bullet-points expected of a modern shooter: 16-player online multiplayer, four-player split-screen play, 14 game modes, 58 playable characters, 14 maps, and over 40 weapons. It looks good, too, lacking many of the scars that are often shown when a Wii game is brought to HD consoles. It’s obvious that the developers put a lot of time into making Reloaded feel like its own game – not a sloppy port of a Wii shooter.

But after playing a dozen or so games of split-screen and a handful of online matches, we couldn’t help but think that Reloaded often felt like a fan mod for Call of Duty, and not its own game. As we sprinted around the new maps, playing the new game modes, and firing new guns at new characters, we often forgot we were even playing a James Bond game. It wasn’t until we picked up the Golden Gun or the laser from Moonraker that we’d be reminded that this was, indeed, supposed to be a successor to Goldeneye. The new levels didn’t feel or look or play like anything we’d typically associate with a James Bond game, save for the sound effects and occasional visual flare.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Goldeneye is old, and feeling too much like an old game is a recipe for disaster. That’s likely why the developers tried, instead, to model it after the more recent Call of Duty. The problem is, it’s not quite there. Enemies died in just a few hits, just like they did in CoD, making precision and speed extremely important. But when we played it the game’s controls were a little sluggish, and aiming proved to be a chore. We messed with the sensitivity, which helped a bit, but it never felt like aiming was ever a viable option – especially when compared to spraying bullets at anyone to come across our path. Melee was unsatisfying as well, and we’d often walk right through enemies we were trying to bash with our weapons.

We’re really hoping they’re able to pull it all together, since some of the new additions were actually pretty awesome. Escalation mode (Goldeneye’s version of Gun Game) was particularly fun, especially with signature Bond weapons showing up near the end as a reward for successful play. Split-screen was also a blast, and we were immediately reminded of why we loved playing it back in the 90s as we talked smack on our opponents (Seriously, why didn’t the rocket kill him?! It hit him in the freaking back!).

We’ve been waiting a long time for a full-blown sequel to Goldeneye, and though we have our concerns, it looks like we might finally be getting it this winter. Whether or not it will hold up to our lofty expectations, though, is yet to be seen, and we’re going to withhold judgment until we get some more time with the highly-anticipated shooter.

Oct 12, 2011

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