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GoldenEye 007: Reloaded
Score: 92%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Eurocom
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1; 2 - 4 (Local); 2 - 16 (Online)
Genre: First Person Shooter/ Action/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:
The whole experience of GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is decidedly James Bond. From the likenesses of the characters, to the comments you hear following online missions, to the background music, you will definitely know that you are stepping into the shoes of the world famous spy. This is a game, based on a previous game, based on a movie. But instead of Pierce Brosnan as 007, we get the new Bond hotness, Daniel Craig, and the likeness is spot-on, with Craig also doing the voiceovers. Naturally, they sound great. Dame Judi Dench voices M, and Elliot Cowan takes on the role of 006, Alex Trevelyan and Bond's partner at the beginning of the mission.

Your travels will take you to parts of various Russian locales, both scenic and not, a pulsating Latin nightclub, lush, dangerous jungles, and even a solar power plant in Africa. All of the locations are beautifully rendered and look just right.

I really enjoyed the audio aspects of GoldenEye 007: Reloaded -- not just for the excellent voiceovers, but also for the superb background music. All of the music is iconic Bond, the one exception being the tune playing in the background at the aforementioned nightclub, which worked really well for the scene and even had lyrics. You should definitely play this game with surround sound as well, because hearing the rain pittering around you or the gunfire going off sounds great in surround sound. It's also extremely helpful when playing multiplayer, but more on that later.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded weaves a typical Bond tale of intrigue, deceit and mayhem. Someone has stolen an EMP-hardened helicopter for use in commandeering the GoldenEye satellite in hopes of wiping out the electronic trail of the massive bank robbery they are plotting and it's up to Bond to dig into it and stop them. In the Single Player Campaign, as Bond, you'll spend most of your time killing people, but you'll also have to plant explosives, drive a tank to chase down some bad guys, hack terminals with your cell phone and even protect a female programmer while she tries to disarm the satellite (one of my least favorite missions). The Single Player Campaign has a nice bit of content to it and some of the missions are great fun, however I must admit that at certain points, I found myself having to refer to the list of goals to see what to do next. The main reason is that a cell phone icon will appear from time to time on your HUD indicating that something can be hacked with your cell. Since sometimes they weren't specific as to what could be hacked and these could be optional goals, there were times when I felt like I should be running about trying to find a laptop to hack instead of proceeding with my mission. If you don't complete these goals, you can still progress, but with a lowered rating. I did really enjoy the missions where the objective was to hack drone sentry guns to shut them down. I also enjoyed the one where you had to destroy a bank of servers. However, I encountered something really annoying when I tried to proceed a bit forward to see what was coming up. I was unable to backtrack once I reached a certain point, which caused me to fail that portion on the optional mission. Not cool.

Once you've completed the Single Player Campaign, there's still a lot of fun to be had. The MI6 Ops include a selection of different types of stand-alone missions taking place in key locations of the game. The mission types include Elimination (killing a certain number of enemies), Stealth (work through the area, sneaky-style), Defense (download some data from select locations while surviving) and Assault (the opposite of Defense), and are a great way to extend the gameplay. They also help you to learn the maps you'll encounter in multiplayer and brush up on your skills.

Multiplayer can be experienced in either split-screen with up to 4 players or online with anywhere from 2 - 16 players. There are a nice variety of characters to choose from, as well as numerous maps and game modes. Local gameplay doesn't offer as many modes as online, but the basics are there, including several free-for-all variants; Golden Gun, in which one player snags the Golden Gun with its one-shot kill and need to reload after every shot; Detonator Agent, which is a hot potato variant and great fun; and Escalation, which is just like Call of Duty: Black Ops' Gun Game, where each kill results in an upgraded weapon. Online there are even more choices, including one of my favorites, Data Miner, where each player is tasked with surviving long enough to download the needed materials. Each time you are killed, you must restart the download. Black Box is another one I really enjoyed, where half the players must capture and protect the black box and the other half must destroy it. This mode is great fun, but only if you are on the Capture and Protect side. The black box is pretty tough to destroy and takes a long time to do so. The game modes available are fun and about what you would expect.

There are also a number of modifiers to spice things up a bit like Rubber or Sticky Grenades, Melee Only, Nick Nack Mode (tiny players) and Move Your Feet, where you explode if you don't move after 3 seconds. Get crazy and turn them all on for a really wild ride. Last, but not least, you can choose from scads of characters including classic like Odd Job, Jaws (my favorite), Max Zorin, Goldfinger and more. The list is extensive and you are sure to find a favorite here. Included in the PS3 version is a download code to obtain Hugo Drax and his Moonraker Laser Pistol, so keep this in mind if you buy the game used, since you won't get this extra.

There are four levels of difficulty in GoldenEye 007: Reloaded: Operative, Agent, 007 and Classic 007. On the default Agent setting, the game provides a healthy challenge without being frustrating, well, except for the level where you must protect Natalya while she disarms the GoldenEye satellite. Her exclamations don't help and that level is just frustrating. The easier and harder settings basically tweak the challenge your enemies present, how much body armor Bond has (if any), how well the auto-aim functions, and how many objectives he has in a mission. Playing the game on Classic 007 Mode is a great deal harder because your health won't regenerate and you have to use body armor to survive.

Game Mechanics:
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded can be played either using the PS Move controller or the standard game controller and for me, I preferred the game controller. Even with the Move Sharpshooter, it was a miserable experience for me. Personally, I'm not the most proficient in using the Move and having to wield both the Move and the accompanying Nunchuk just aren't much fun, although they do change up the feel of the experience, but I much preferred playing with the standard controller.

Using the controller, the gameplay controls are standard FPS controls and very easy to get used to. (R1) and (L1) are used for Primary and Secondary grenades, while (L2) is used to aim down the site and (R2) is used to fire. You'll move with the Left Analog Stick and look with the Right, with (R3) being used for melee attacks. (X) is for climbing or vaulting, (O) is for crouching or standing, (Square) is your reload or use item button, and (Triangle) is to switch weapons. On the D-pad, you can activate your night vision goggles with (Up), your weapons attachments with (Left), and activate your Smart Phone with (Down). I would sometimes hit (Down) accidentally and boy, is your fancy Smart Phone useless in the heat of battle!

Overall, I really enjoyed GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. I haven't played a Bond game in many years, although I used to love them, and GoldenEye has definitely wooed me back. I really like the trend with Activision lately where they have modes like the MI6 Ops that help prepare people like me who don't play online too much. If you've held off on a Bond game for a while, now's your chance to jump back into the fray.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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