GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Hands-on (Xbox360)

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I was five minutes late for my GoldenEye 007: Reloaded appointment at gamescom 2011. I’ll admit it. Activision’s slate of game demonstrations at its business lounge were unfortunately all running out of sync with one another at a time when I was scheduled to see almost all of them in the space of a few hours. ‘My bad.’

So while I didn’t catch the grand opening to the game’s demonstration by Activision’s James Steer and Eurocom’s Robert Matthews, I did provide the grand finale.

Gamescom 2011: GoldenEye 007: Reloaded - James Steer, Demo Dude, and Robert Matthews

Despite my lateness, I went into the demo knowing a good number of things about GoldeneEye 007: Reloaded, all of which were confirmed. For one thing, the game is essentially a remake of 2010’s GoldenEye 007 first-person shooter for the Wii – a game that was widely acclaimed as the best entry to the genre on Nintendo’s current home console. While it’s true that Reloaded will act as a ‘re-imagining’ of the Wii version, the structure, story and locations of that game will remain in the Xbox 360 and PS3 title.

Graphically, Reloaded looks completely overhauled and while it’s not quite on par with the best that the current generation of hardware can offer, the game’s visuals are still sleek and suitably high-definition, running at 60 frames per second on developer Eurocom’s proprietary engine.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Screenshot 1

As in the Wii version, one of the main features of GoldenEye 007: Reloaded’s singleplayer campaign is the chance to complete missions however you see fit, either by using run and gun tactics and blasting through opponents, or by slowly, methodically and stealthily making your way through the levels, using silent takedowns to dispatch enemies. Using this method, you’ll want to carefully remove alarms and cameras so as not to give yourself away, but you could just as easily be spotted by a camera and take on any reinforcements that stream your way.

Progression through levels will be funnelled by light environmental puzzles, and we were told that in the event that you encounter a locked door, “there’s always a vent” to circumvent obstacles that block your path (Bonus Points: How many times did the word ‘vent’ appear in that sentence?). Of course, special James Bond gadgets will also make an appearance in the game to make light work of these puzzles, and if all else fails, the wide assortment of weaponry will do the job nicely, too.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Screenshot 2

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded will include what the developers call “signature” James Bond moves, which means that you’ll be indulging in familiar action sequences, stealthy manoeuvrings and brutal takedowns that we’ve come to expect from the movies starring Daniel Craig, and you’ll also be able to make use of ‘environment’ takedowns – if your victim happens to be near to a wall when you initiate a melee attack, for example, you’ll automatically smash that unsuspecting fool’s face into the brickwork.

During the demo, we were also introduced to the PlayStation Move Sharp Shooter support that GoldenEye 007: Reloaded will offer, and the resident ‘Demo Dude’ very ably picked off a few enemies aiming down the sights of Sony’s PlayStation Move-powered gun peripheral, and while I didn’t get to try it out for myself here, the game seems to make very good use of the Sharp Shooter’s functionality – smooth and accurate.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Screenshot 3

Steer and Matthews were also keen to let us know all about the online component of GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, and while the four-player split-screen and 16-player online functionality of the game were glossed over, the pair went into a bit more depth on MI6 Ops, a mode that comprises Elimination (defeat waves of enemies), Defence (capture points on the map while dispatching waves of enemies), Assault and Stealth (complete a level without being seen by enemies) game types.

What’s cool about MI6 Ops is that not only can you use the default settings for each game type, set a score and post it to a leaderboard, but you can also customise the settings for each mode (changing the time limit, enemy count and health and more) and challenge your friends to these new sets of rules. If you can come up with a particularly devious and brutal rule set, you’re going to have a bit of fun seeing your friends struggle to complete your challenge!

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Screenshot 4

Nearer to the end of the GoldenEye 007: Reloaded demo, Steer and Matthews invited one of the seven or so journalists in the room to have a go at the Elimination Mode of MI6. Seemingly being the most eager of the lot, I was chosen to get hands-on time with this game type and proceeded to rock it, ably taking down all of the spawned enemies under the time limit.

The map I played was rather large and reminded me of some sort of overgrown World War II installation built into the side of a hill, filled with good patches of foliage, lots of contrasting elevation, at least one bridge, a bunker of some description… and lots of stairs. I ran around the level taking down enemies as best I could, and this map in particular required me to move back and forth, up and down the stairs and over the bridge on a number of occasions to seek out snipers and take my victims down quickly without them even knowing it.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Screenshot 5

I was quite impressed by how these enemies moved as they seemed to be quite adept at taking cover and flanking my position to get the drop on me. When they moved in a little too close for comfort, a quick melee attack was all that was necessary to remove the threat, but this opened me up to sniper fire from afar, which meant a quick trip up to the higher regions of the level to put them down. At this point, the game feels very solid and precise, and feedback is sufficiently punchy to reward you for a few well-placed head and body shots.

It was pretty fun being the one providing the game demo for a change, as opposed to simply watching someone else play, and I was glad to be able to so effortlessly showcase Reloaded’s new game mode to such an attentive audience (no modesty here, folks). I don’t remember if I received any acknowledgement regarding my prowess at the end of the game, but I did hear a few stifled noises of approval when I managed to pull of a few skilful headshots.

No thanks necessary, Eurocom. This one’s on me.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Screenshot 6

Releasing this ‘Fall’ on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, it’ll be interesting to see where GoldenEye 007: Reloaded fits into the extremely packed release schedule with blockbusters like Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 already competing for your first-person action cash, but if you give this game the time of day this holiday season you’ll be rewarded with what seems to be a solid, authentic and feature-rich James Bond experience from the makers of last year’s excellent GoldenEye 007 for the Wii – give it a look.