A lot of people get something misty in their eyes - perhaps a golden mist - when Goldeneye 007 is mentioned. Memories of the Nintendo 64 era and countless multiplayer rounds are something lots of gamers carry with them and long for more. Wii owners got their chance to revisit the game a year ago, and now the game has been tuned up for release on HD consoles, and it's an even better experience.
James Bond requires no introduction, and you probably know the story by now. The campaign includes the key moments of the film that starred Pierce Brosnan - the dam, the satellite threat, the bad guy Alec Trevelvan and the hug-friendly Xenia Onatopp. However, in Goldeneye 007 Reloaded, James Bond is played by Daniel Craig.
Brosnan's replacement is fully occupied with various agent duties during the 10 hour long campaign, and even though I've previously played two versions of this game it's difficult to walk away as the game keeps you glued for just one more level, followed by just one more and so on.
There is plenty of sneaking around, and the stealth sections are well crafted. Don't be surprised if you feel a drop of sweat on your brow as you try and silently remove guards. If they trigger the alarm you will have to transition quickly into intense fire fights, and the game also manages to shine when this happens. The aim and Bond's movements are great, and when you're tasked with operating a vehicle everything works fine as well.
The normal difficulty is balanced just right and if you go for more of a challenge, then it's not just that the enemies grow more difficult, you will also be tasked with more side objectives to clear in order to progress. This is something more games should look into - give us additional missions instead of just throwing in more and harder to kill enemies.
A new feature in this edition of Goldeneye 007 are the the MI6 Ops missions - a game mode for the solo agent. You play in locations taken from the campaign in modes such as Assault, Elimination, Stealth, and Defense. The names give you a hint of what it's about - take out all enemies in the map, defend an area, sneak up to an objective without detection and so on.
During my first run in this mode, I was mainly missing playing this with a friend, but after a while I realised this was the whole point of it. MI6 Ops has been made for the one man army, the lone wolf, and it's the perfect fit since this is a game about James Bond. The option of tailoring your challenge is fun, you can tune the number of enemies, the amount of ammunition and what weapons that are available. If you get into this mode the online leaderboards are sure to give you both motivation and challenge.
One thing that is annoying, and that becomes extra apparent in MI6 Ops, is the rather poor artificial intelligence. I'm forced to listen to the same short dialogues over and over from patrolling guards, just because I snuck in and out of the same door. During some of my attacks, not just the ones done with a stealthy approach, the enemy doesn't seem to fight back with any real vigour.
With all of this said it is naturally the multiplayer that will entertain the most. And Goldeneye 007 Reloaded offers up a massive and addictive package. The games I've played in the office have generated both lots of cursing and screams of joy, whether played out online or on split screen.
More maps have been added, there are new modes such as Bomb Defuse and Data Miner, and when you go online there are more people to compete with on Sony's and Microsoft's services than there ever was on Wii. The level of variation is awesome, whether you're painting walls with paintballs or play a round of Golden Gun (one hit equals death) it still entertains.
It is also something of a relief to run around as some of the strong characters found in the Bond universe instead of generic soldiers. Oddjob, Jaws and Julius No are just some of the characters you can play as when up to 16 players compete.
Make sure your gaming schedule has room over for the old Martini downing double zero this fall. He deserves your time and attention.