Last year, Activision revived the GoldenEye franchise by releasing a revamped version on the Wii. Sporting improved graphics, an updated storyline, and the same four-player split-screen mode that made the original so compelling, GoldenEye 007 was a critical, if not commercial, success. However, the Wii-only release meant that Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 fans missed out on the action. That's all set to change this year with the release of GoldenEye 007: Reloaded, which is an HD version of the Wii remake, rather than a remake of the N64 version. Thus, you get Daniel Craig instead of Pierce Brosnan, a brand-new story, and a new multiplayer rewards system.
We were shown a short section of the game set in Severnaya, one of the original locations from the GoldenEye film. Set atop a set of snow-covered mountains, the level started with Bond hiding behind a set of trees, with a long panning camera allowing us to see the new HD-rendered visage of Daniel Craig. Swooping into first-person view, Bond moved down a snaking path and snuck up behind a group of snowsuit-dressed enemies. Using a silenced PPK, he took out the guards without alerting another group nearby. Activision told us that using stealth was an important part of the game, but all-out action gamers can still go in guns blazing if they want--they'll just have a harder time.
Bond proceeded to steal the guard's weapons and moved on to an area beneath a bridge. The game then cut to a brief cutscene showing a large truck pulling up on the bridge, followed by a group of fighter jets that flew across and bombed the living hell out of it. Amidst the chaos, Bond moved through a pile of rubble, only to have a huge electrical explosion engulf the area, sending helicopters flying to the ground and knocking him out. Bond awoke next to one of the downed helicopters, with his disorientation visualized with a deep vignette effect around the edges of the screen. He took out another group of guards using the famous karate chop action from the original GoldenEye and stole their weapons.
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An onscreen indicator let Bond know where his next objective was, while grenade markers flashed as enemies threw explosives. After more shooting, Bond reached his destination; a weather station sat atop a large hill. Surrounding the station were a group of dilapidated buildings in which a huge firefight took place. Bond used the buildings as cover, running between them and shooting enemies with an assault rifle. Eventually, he reached a vent, clambering through it to end the demo.
That wasn't the only level we were shown, though; we also got a brief glimpse of the Dam level. The level started with Bond speaking to a partner, letting us hear Daniel Craig's vocal talents in action. He isn't the only actor to be featured in the game, with Judi Dench also reprising her role as M. As the rain poured onto the dam, we were able to take in the visuals, which were a noticeable improvement from those in the Wii version. Everything was running at 60 frames per second, with crisp textures and lightening effects giving the level a dramatic look. The duo split up, with Bond taking out a nearby tower, while his partner attempted to steal a truck. Once up in the tower, Bond used a sniper rifle to cover his partner, allowing him to steal the truck and race off down a tunnel.
Aside from a single-player campaign, Reloaded will feature a number of challenges and online modes. Challenges fall under the MI6 OPS header and include Elimination, Assault, and Stealth missions. The mission we were shown was called Wave the Fence, a take on the wave-based gameplay popularized by the likes of Gears of War's horde mode. The aim is to download information from computers scattered around the map. Each time you try to download information, waves of enemies begin to attack, and it's your job to protect the computer terminal until all the information has finished downloading. The more information you download, the more points you get, placing you higher on the mode's global leaderboards.
If you're finding it all a bit too easy, Reloaded also features a challenge designer that lets you customize any of the existing MI6 OPS missions. Features, such as giant heads and golden guns, can be added. You can also tweak the amount of health you have, as well as that of the enemies. Challenges that you create can also be sent to other players, letting you compete for the best score with your friends on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. There's a full multiplayer mode too, which is set to feature 16-player matches and a four-player split-screen mode.
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is due for release in the third quarter on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. PlayStation 3 users will also have the option of the using the Move-based sharp-shooter peripheral in addition the standard controls. Look out more coverage on GameSpot soon.