Today (or yesterday depending on the location that you are reading this) was a good day for Bond fans. First we got the absolutely incredible trailer for the new Bond film, Skyfall, and now the first trailer for the upcoming...
A few weeks ago Activision announced that they were releasing a new Bond game, 007 Legends, this fall to coincide with the release of the new Bond film, Skyfall and Bond's 50th anniversary. I totally missed the announcem...
Usually, weekends at Dtoid are extremely slow, but we were so chock-full of stories over the past couple of days that I held off on posting this video. I only just now remembered it was in my inbox. I don't see how I could f...
Nov 15 //
GoldenEye 007: Reloaded (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: EurocomPublisher: ActivisionReleased: November 1, 2011MSRP: $59.99
This review is going to feel a little bit like a DLC review; in all honesty, the single-player aspect of this game is exactly the same except for the graphical improvements and new hidden medallions to collect. The new stuff, the MI6 challenge mode and multiplayer content, could easily be considered robust DLC if they were delivered digitally post release. That explained, if you really want to read a full review on the single-player, just head on over to my original Wii review because most of what is in there still stands. This is the exact same game reworked for more powerful systems.
There are, obviously, some changes in the single-player experience. This isn't just a straight port with "upgraded" graphics that don't actually look any better, but the same game based on a much more powerful game engine. While I thought the game looked perfectly fine on the Wii, and I'm no graphics whore, I must say that playing through the exact same only much prettier levels is not something I'm going to complain about. The new engine and more powerful platforms not only make the graphics more "hi-defier," but also make the levels feel more alive. Details like rain, water effects, and improved lighting just make levels pop in ways they couldn't on the Wii. In fact, the night club section I raved about in the Wii's review looks absolutely fantastic thanks to the fact that the engine can handle more things on screen at once. So when the entire scene slows down and the debris starts flying like in a John Woo action scene, it looks really, really good.
Compared to the Wii, that is. Graphically, the game is no slump, but it isn't stand-out either. As I said, this isn't a Wii game polished up, but that doesn't mean it's one of the best looking games out now. The graphics are definitely middle of the road overall, and while they look fine, you won't be blown away by anything. This is especially apparent in the textures, which don't seem to have gotten as much love as the lighting and other aspects.
Now, on to the new part. The major addition to the game is the MI6 Ops mode, which is basically a bunch of challenges for the player to try to complete in the fastest time they can. There are three types of challenges (and an extra one that unlocks): stealth, defense, and elimination. All of them take place in slightly varied sections of single-player levels or in multiplayer levels. The modes are all pretty much exactly what they sound like. "Stealth" involves getting through levels without alerting any guards. "Defense" tasks the player with downloading information from three computer terminals while waves of enemies attack; each terminal takes three minutes to download from while enemies flood in at set time intervals during. Finally, "elimination" has the player attempting to kill every bad guy in the level as quickly as possible. By completing challenges fast enough or on high enough difficulties, you're awarded with a higher score which gets you more stars which in turn unlock more challenge levels.
It's pretty standard stuff as far as challenge modes go, but what sets it apart from most others is in how adjustable the challenges are. Instead of simply having easy, medium, and hard settings, difficulty is set by a plethora of variables the player can adjust before jumping into the challenge. You can pretty much adjust everything from enemy damage to rag doll physics. Bump up the enemies strength and you'll get more points as you start the level off. Remove your radar capabilities and your score will go up. Increase your own life and your starting score will go down. Implement paintball mode and... well, nothing happens, but it's way more fun. Thus, to get the best score, you have to balance out challenge and time. Make it too hard and you won't be able to complete it in any decent amount of time, too easy and you won't start off with a high enough score.
In theory, it's a great idea, but from my play, it seemed like completion time outweighed challenge points by too much. Thus, beating the game on a really difficult collection of settings wasn't as good as speeding through it on an easier setting. There's no way of really knowing this ahead of time since it's unclear how the time scores work; believe me, it's incredibly annoying to redo a level over and over on a difficult settings just to have it not pay off in as many stars as you thought it would. I suppose the online leaderboards help to assuage this annoyance since you're competing against others, but I'd rather have a better idea of what I'm going to score ahead of time.
MI6 Ops isn't the only new stuff in the game. Multiplayer has not only gotten a graphical overhaul, but also four new maps and a plethora of new game modes have been added. Some we've seen before, like Elimination where players progress through a pre-set series of guns each time they take someone out, but with a Bond twist since slappers melee is the final weapon. Others are a bit fresher, like Data Miner, where one player has to download data while he fights off all the others, and every kill he makes increases his download speed. I have to say the online multiplayer is quite fun, and thanks to the fact that more of the random multiplayer options are present in this version, it feels a whole lot more old-school GoldenEye when you're online.
Of course, all of the random fun settings (paintball, golden gun, etc.) are back in multiplayer in this version, but Eurocom has also included some other random stuff, like a mode where Jaws' metal teeth can deflect bullets or Dr. No's metal arms prevent him from taking damage from shots to the arm. The game also features more Bond villains to choose from, including Tee Hee, Max Zorin, Auric Goldfinger, Dr. Kananga, and Hugo Drax (exclusive to the PS3). All these definitely make the game a bit more fun, but again, they can't be considered much more than DLC to an already complete game.
I should note that the PS3 version has full Move support (in fact, there's a special edition that comes with that big gun thing and all the Move accouterments) and, well, it works. I played most of the game with a standard controller since I don't own a Move and had to borrow one. Just like the Wii, though, the Move controls function and are fun to play with. So yeah, Move works.
The question then becomes (if you haven't already played the game on the Wii) why would you pick this up over the plethora of other FPS out there that are admittedly better in almost every aspect. Do me a favor and walk over to your game collection to check the back of all your FPSes for how many players can play at once on one console. I'll put good money that the majority of your FPSes don't allow you and three other friends to sit around in the same room and shoot each other. Four-player split screen just doesn't show up on the PS3 and 360 anymore, but it's here in GoldenEye 007: Reloaded; just like the Wii version, it's plain fun to play with your friends in the room. Yes, the same flaws exist in the rest of the game, but with the ability to split your screen into four equal parts and shoot your friends in the same room being such a rarity on both systems these days, I would argue that Reloaded sets itself apart from the pack in a major way by actually having what should be a standard feature.
With Reloaded, you're basically getting GoldenEye 007 plus a bit more. This leaves me in a bit of a quandary when scoring the game. Technically, it should get a higher score than its Wii counterpart since its graphics are better, it has more content, and its online is more robust. However, I can't say that any of this actually makes the game any better, it just makes for more of it. More of an 8.5 is still an 8.5.
What it comes down to is that, if you own this on the Wii, I can't really see that big a reason to pick up this version. If you don't own it, however, this will be a great acquisition to actually get some split screen action on your hi-def console while also getting a really solid game at the same time. I understand it's the holiday season and there are a plethora of other games to pick up, but if you come across GoldenEye 007: Reloaded a little down the road when the influx of games has passed, and if the price has dropped a bit, you (and your friends who can finally play videogames with you when they come over) won't regret it one bit.
Last year, James Bond returned to videogames in both GoldenEye 007 for the Wii and Blood Stone for the PS3 and 360. In a change from the standard outcome when a franchise hits multiple platforms, the Wii game was the one that...
Between being a suave, functioning alcoholic and philanderer, James Bond kills people and blows things up. In the latest GoldenEye 007: Reloaded video walkthrough, Bond has to fight his way through the Severnaya level withou...
Like most, I am a huge fan of GoldenEye 64. It was my gateway drug into the wonderful world of first-person shooters. Hundreds of hours were wasted in "slappers only" multiplayer matches, causing the frame rate to come to a ...
Officially revealed this week, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is Activision's latest attempt at capturing gamers' attention with the James Bond franchise. But can it deliver?
Based on this reveal trailer and the first batch of scre...
Activision has officially announced GoldenEye 007: Reloaded for PS3 and Xbox 360. It will take the Wii remake of the classic N64 Game, run it through a brand new engine to deliver HD visuals, and support the PlayStation Move ...
Since it's already been mentioned on an investors call, we know Activision has another James Bond game up its sleeve for release this year. Now it seems like we'll be getting our first look at the game at San Diego Comic-Con,...
A bunch of domains have been found for GoldenEye Reloaded, with common opinion suggesting that a port of last year's Wii re-release could be on the way to systems such as Xbox 360 and PS3.
No real details outside of the...
Good news for bond fans: Deadline is reporting that Metro-Goldwyn Mayer has announced that the next James Bond film has been given the green light. Set for a release on November 9, 2012, the flick will once again feature Dani...
Dec 13 //
Blood Stone (Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PlayStation 3)Developer: Bizarre CreationsPublisher: ActivisionReleased: November 2, 2010MSRP: $59.99
Blood Stone is not a bad game. It just isn’t a very original one. Everything it tries to do is done better somewhere else. Because of its liberal borrowing from other games, and a penchant to go too far over the top (we're talking some Roger Moore era ridiculousness that doesn’t jive at all with Daniel Craig’s Bond), the game commits an even worse affront than not being original and that is not feeling very Bond-ian. The fun of playing as James Bond comes from playing as James Bond. When a Bond game makes you feel like you’re nothing more than a Bond knock-off, then it absolutely fails as a Bond game. In my mind, this is an unforgivable flaw, and I'm sorry to report that Blood Stone feels far more like a knock-off than the genuine article. This issue is most apparent in the game's plot, which so obviously mimics what a Bond game (book, movie, etc.) should have in it that it ends up feeling more like a bunch of Bond movies stuck together than an original storyline. Bond (after an action packed opening level) is thrust into a suspected bio-weapons ring that he must shut down. With the help of undercover MI6 agent Nicole Hunter he infiltrates the bad guys' plot and then takes them down. There’s actually a bit of a twist at the end that desperately tries to make the story more than it actually is, but the whole thing is already so convoluted that your ability to care is short lived. Sadly, it appears that the plot line was set up to flow over a series of games, so we may be seeing more of this ho-hum story.
Caring about what is going on in a Bond vehicle isn’t always that important, though. The action, fights and set pieces are what really stand out. And Blood Stone does have a few very cool sections. The game is divided up into driving and shooting levels. The shooting levels use a cover system, which works well enough and can lead to some great take downs. Melees are actually very cool and trigger some of the cold-hearted kills that Craig's Bond has practically trademarked. Every time you pull off a physical take down you get a "focus shot" that allows you to kill an enemy in a single shot while time slows down. You can chain up to three of these together, which allows for some solid strategic gameplay even if it is fundamentally useless on the whole. I found myself using it once in a blue moon on a normal difficulty setting, and only slightly more often on difficult. In fact, "useless" sums up a lot of the fighting in Blood Stone. By the end of the third level, you’ve pretty much experienced every gun, and the challenges and layouts of levels start to repeat themselves. The enemies act almost the exact same way from level to level, and it’s nearly impossible to detect any real increase in difficulty as the game progresses. Bond runs from shootout to shootout without much drama or action in between. That’s not to say that the game is devoid of some fantastic Bond moments (running away from a giant drill in one early level is especially well done), but it lacks that certain something necessary to feel legitimately Bond. One of the best things EA did in their Bond games was insert tiny little Bond moments that gave the game a little character. Those moments are generally missing from Blood Stone. Instead, you get massive battles on giant gun ships that feel like they should be in Gears of War. Sadly, even if this wasn’t a Bond game and I wasn’t complaining about the lack of Bondness, Blood Stone still wouldn’t be that great of a cover shooter, especially because of the aforementioned repetitive levels and AI.
I’ve saved the worst for last, however. In an attempt to mimic Arkham Asylum’s “bat-sense” mechanic, the game uses Bond’s smart phone -- for everything. Whenever you want to get a look at where to go or how the bad guys are organized, you flip out your smart phone and the screen turns green and little icons pop up along with x-ray views of all the enemies. It’s supposed to help you plan your attacks, but thanks to the mediocre AI, it's just annoying. And, like I said, they use the phone for everything. Locked door? Bust out your phone. Need a picture? Take your phone out. Crack a code? You guessed it. In an attempt to make Bond less gadget-y, they simply made him rely on one stupid gadget. Worst of all, Bond actually flips it out whenever he’s using it. This means if you’re using it in the middle of a gun fight you look like an idiot running through a battlefield staring at your cell phone. That might be a petty complaint if the mechanic was interesting at all, but since this "phone gameplay" mechanic has come to symbolize what I dislike the most about Blood Stone, having it crammed down my throat in such an overt way feels even worse than it should. Bizarre Creations, the now defunct developer behind Blood Stone, is most known for their racing games and it clearly shows in Blood Stone. The racing levels stand out above the shooter sections of the game, not just because they’re designed better but because they actually feel like giant action set pieces that Bond might find himself in. Unfortunately, the quality of the driving levels range quite drastically from infinitely boring to incredibly clever. And while the “courses’” designs work sometimes, at other moments, they can be insanely frustrating. The better driving levels feel like something out of Split/Second, with explosions going off everywhere or, to be more specific, a giant dump truck bowling through Bangkok streets as Bond desperately chases it in a tow truck. However, it often seems that too much is going on, and the “courses” aren’t designed well enough to keep you from dying cheaply or falling into hard to see blind spots over and over. To add insult to injury, the final stage is a driving level so mundane that it feels like Bizarre Creations tacked it on simply because the game was too short (and it still is too short, even with this level).
It’s also of note that Daniel Craig just looks plain terrible when rendered in this game. Any of the depth and hard edge to his face that I think make him a good Bond are gone. He actually looks a lot like a monkey. The other character renders aren’t too great either, with Dame Judi Dench looking especially frumpy in her digital self. Graphics are obviously not everything, but damn, they sure would have helped in this case. That's compounded by the fact that the game's voice acting is far below par. Craig clearly put a bit more effort into this than he did his GoldenEye performance (which was horrendous) but everything is still flat and careless. Combining a flat face with a flat performance leaves you out in the cold when it comes to story and caring about the game.
Surprisingly, the multi-player (which I assumed would just be tacked on because Bond games need multi-player) is pretty fun. This is mostly because it strips off all of the things that aren’t fun in the single-player campaign and delivers a solid cover shooter with some decently designed levels. There’s nothing too fancy about it, and it has all the standard accoutrement, like weapon load outs and a point system that lets you buy better things. Thanks to the lack of bad AI and the removal of the phone, it’s fun to play with some friends. There a few cool modes, like a “last man standing” one that gives the game a bit more spice. My only complaint is that, once again, there isn’t much Bond in it. There is some fun to be had, but unlike GoldenEye’s multiplayer it’s fun you can have with plenty of other games out there. Sadly, there is no split-screen, which is more of a norm nowadays. I had hoped, though, that because it was Bond they’d include it.
You may be thinking that I’m coming down hard on the game simply for not being Bond enough, and that’s entirely possible. However, I’d like to stress that even without my problems with the Bond-ness of it all, this is a relentlessly mediocre outing that simply aims to copy instead of improve at every turn.
It is strange that Eurocom could nail it so well with GoldenEye, and yet at the exact same time, Bizarre Creations misses the mark in so many ways. If you’re a Bond fan, you’ll be routinely disappointed by Blood Stone, but you’ll probably play it anyway. If you’re not one, then I can’t really stress enough that there are better games out there that don’t crush my hopes and dreams.
GoldenEye 007 for the Wii wasn’t the only Bond game to come out this holiday season. No, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 also got their dose of Bond in the form of an original Bond adventure called Blood Stone. Since the...
According to James Bond website MI6, Singularity developer Raven Software is currently working on a stealth-based title based in the Bond universe. The rumor goes that wrk on the Bond title was halted earlier this year, as th...
Nov 11 //
GoldenEye 007 (Wii)Developer: Eurocom, n-SpacePublisher: ActivisionReleased: November 2, 2010MSRP: $49.99 (standard), $69.99 (Classic Edition)
I’m not lying when I say that this game has almost nothing to do with the original. The plot, actors, levels, guns, gadgets, objectives, graphics, controls and multiplayer are all either different or seriously reworked. The game is simply influenced by its namesake and the similarities pretty much end there. It should be noted, however, that these influences are actually pretty cool. You’ll be playing through levels that feel familiar, but are entirely new. It’s a strange feeling to play through a room that you know, but have never played, and the team behind the game should be proud that they managed to squeeze some of the essence of the original game out without directly copying it in any way. We’ll start with the basic fundamentals that have changed. If you’ve ever heard someone say that the new Bond is copying Bourne (an argument we can have at a later date) then you’ll understand when I say GoldenEye is copying Call of Duty. The updated gameplay plays almost exactly like every other modern first-person shooter is doing these days. Obviously the Wii’s pointer controls add a bit of a change for the player (unless you opt to use the Classic Controller or a GameCube controller), but for all intents and purposes this feels a lot like Call of Duty with emphasis being put on cover tactics and aiming down your sites to take more accurate shots instead of simply “shooting from the hip.”
This is far from a complaint at all. If you’re going to ape something, ape the best, and the game actually apes quite well. Controls are tight and responsive and easily adjusted for however you want to play. I did buckle and pick up the golden Classic Controller, and I have to say it’s nice, but in the end I played through most of the game using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combo. This was the first time I had actually switched between standard and motion controls in a single game, and it’s just hard to relinquish the ease of pointing and shooting (and the fun of motion controlled melees) for thumbsticks.
It’s not all copying and pasting, though. GoldenEye stands on its own feet pretty well. There’s a pretty robust collection of case sensitive take downs you can preform when you’re close enough to an enemy and stealth plays a much larger role in the game than most FPS. Actually, I should say that if you want stealth to play a much larger role in the game then it can. If you want to go blazing through each level with a machine gun, that can work too. The game does a great job of setting up levels that can work either way. There were plenty of points where I was torn between sneaking up and taking out some guys with a few quick and well placed shots or blowing up the truck said guys were standing next to, and thus alerting every enemy in the area. There’s actually some great level design going on in parts of the game, especially when you’re indoors in closed quarters. There’s an amazing sequence in which you bust into a large open room and some slower background music starts playing loudly while everything slows down just a bit. Exploding pieces of furniture and decorations are placed liberally about the room too so that when you shoot their remains burst into the air and float down dramatically. It’s a really cool effect that makes you feel like you’re playing through one of those slow motion action sequences with meaningful music over it that are so trendy in films now. It’s little cinematic touches like that that make GoldenEye stand out form the crowd and give it a true Bond feeling for some of the game.
Sadly, as it progresses things start to become a bit more generic in design. It’s still fun to play, but you feel like you’ve done a lot of the stuff before in plenty of other games. In some games this isn’t a problem at all, but when you’re playing as James Bond it better feel like you’re doing something special, not just running around as another FPS character with a gun. In this same vein it doesn’t help that it sounds like Daniel Craig mailed this one in from the Arctic. There’s about as much feeling in his voice acting as there is in early Resident Evil games. OK, maybe not that bad, but you get the point. It also doesn’t help that the story of GoldenEye has been roughly handled in order to update it to modern times. (Spoilers) Instead of Alec Trevelyan, agent 006, getting revenge on England as his excuse to steal lots of money he is getting revenge on the bankers for the financial crash. It makes little to no sense and plot wise the game pretty much falls apart before it begins. It doesn’t help that Sean Bean, who played Trevelyan in the film, is nowhere to be seen, and his replacement is lackluster at best.
The crap story doesn’t take away from the game being entirely enjoyable as a game though, and there is plenty of replay value in the single player. The game comes with four different difficulties, all of which you can play from the get go. Much like the original GoldenEye every level has sub-objectives aside from the main goal and the higher difficulty you choose the more side objectives you have. It makes playing through on harder challenges quite fun because you’re not simply playing against harder enemies, but also achieving new things. The game also has a classic mode, which puts the player into the 007 difficulty (hard), but instead of giving you the now FPS-standard magical, regenerating health it gives you the classic GoldenEye life bars and hides armor in the levels. It’s old school, challenging and a very welcome addition to those getting tired of simply hiding behind things until you heal up. Unfortunately the developers made an odd decision when it came to game progression. If you beat a level on a certain difficulty, but do not complete all the secondary objectives than you cannot go on to the next level on that difficulty and must play the next level on the next difficulty down. I understand the logic behind this, but it forces a player who may want the bigger challenge from the AI to go back and replay a level simply because they may have missed out completing one of the optional objectives. Not that the levels are a pain to play back through, but if you’re trying to beat a game (or review it in a timely manner) it can get aggravating when you’ve technically already beaten a level, but can’t progress on the difficulty you want to. You won’t be blown away graphically by this game, but it certainly doesn’t look bad. There’s never a moment where I threw my hands up in disgust in how lazy the developers must have been like I have with other games. It’s very clear that time and attention went into much of this game, and it shows because it actually looks and feels good. Amazing that when a developer puts effort into a Wii game it can come out looking, playing and sounding really great. Who would have thought?
But I’ve rambled on too much about the single player when the real thing everyone remembers about GoldenEye 007 on the N64 is having fun with your friends in the multiplayer. It’s obvious why the advertising campaign behind this new GoldenEye heavily pushed the fact that there was splitscreen multipalyer as that’s what everyone loves. It’s also devilishly smart because this is a Wii exclusive and there is no way in hell its online gameplay is going to match up with anything on the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3. Thus the smart thing to do is focus on the splitscreen multiplayer and deliver the online as a secondary bonus in the game, which is exactly what they did here. It worked too, the splitscreen multiplayer is plenty of fun to play with some well designed levels that realize that only four people are playing on them so the don’t get too sprawling or convoluted (a trap many games fall into when you play them in splitscreen). I’m sorry to say that while returning to some splitscreen gaming was a blast because I got to hang out with my friends GoldenEye 007 doesn’t really capture the magic that the original had. Of course, as I stated before, nothing ever will. The new game does its best in an attempt to do so, however. There are modes on top of modes that hearken back to a day when characters having big heads was something to gush over. Thankfully it’s been so long since those days, and such modes are now routinely ignored, that it is once again time to gush over such things. You won’t be playing through any of the classic GoldenEye maps that you still have memorized like the back of your hand (as far as I saw), but you’ll definitely be playing through some solid maps in classic GoldenEye style. The best part is that you’ll get to once again see your friends’ faces. You’ll be surprised what puberty has done to some of them. As far as that bonus online multiplayer feature goes, it’s one of the best I’ve seen on the Wii (waits for not-saying-much snickers to die down). Once again the game takes a cue from Call of Duty and other modern FPSs and offers a slew of features like optimizable loadouts, a point system for upgrading your character, and a plethora of weaponry and gadget combinations. An added bonus is a Bond villains mode, in which all the players are all randomly selected classic Bond villains (oddjobs hat throw is pimp). The mode is relatively pointless, but just dumb fun to play in.
The graphics, and more notably the sound, do take a hit when you jump into the online arena, but that’s pretty par for the course with many games. You give a little, you get up to 8 people playing online. Playing online also means you give up a lot of the fun modifiers that you can get with splitscreen. It seems a bit odd until you realize the simple fact that splitscreen play was actually the focus over online play, and yet the game still has some of the best online play on the Wii and could stand proud with online on other systems. Sadly, game specific friend codes do exist, and there is no Wii Speak support. Both of these facts make gaming with friends online a bit annoying, but far from impossible, and I can’t stress to you how cathartic it was not to have some moron shouting how gay I was every time he shot me.
I may have harped on a few flaws with the game, but overall GoldenEye is a very solid game and well worth the money if you enjoy videogames. If you’re a Bond freak then the golden Classic Controller makes for a nice collector’s item, but it’s hard to justify the purchase beyond that since the Wii Remote and Nunchuck were my preferred area of control. Either way you play, you’re probably going to have a good time, and even if it isn’t the most Bondian of Bond’s videogame adventures it is indeed a good game and one that you won’t regret playing. The new GoldenEye 007 could never be as truly great as its predecessor for a variety of reasons, but it does a superb job of following in its footsteps.
Let’s get this out of the way first: no game will ever be GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64. The unique combination of advancements in technology, controls, gaming and culture are not going to collide like that ever aga...
Activision will have GoldenEye 007 and James Bond 007: Blood Stone playable at New York Comic-Con this weekend. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions will also be at Activision's booth. On top of the games, there will also be giv...
Here's a developer diary on the new GoldenEye 007 for Wii. Executive Producers David Wilson and Julian Widdows talk about the weapons you'll have to choose from in multiplayer as well as the choices players will be...
Activision sent over another trailer for 007: Blood Stone focused on the combat elements featured in the upcoming game. I don't think the intent here was to highlight the differences between stealthy and aggressive play...
One of the things serverly lacking from almost every Bond game after GoldenEye 007 was the ability to play as some of Bond's classic nemesis. Did it make much of a difference unless you were being a douche and playing as Odd...
Sep 13 //
Hamza CTZ Aziz
GoldenEye 007 (Wii, DS)Developers: Eurocom (Wii), n-Space (DS) Publisher: Activision To be released: November 2, 2010 (US), November 5, 2010 (EU)
Remember the tank level in the 64 version of 007? It was a pretty badly designed and boring level. The new tank section in Eurocom's version of the game is a gigantic blast though, mainly due to the fact that there's a ton of action taking place on the screen. Enemies are coming at you from the ground and the air giving you something to shoot at throughout the entire level.
Along with the massive amount of enemies, buildings are getting bombed all around you in an attempt to stop Bond from giving chase to his target. It's pretty impressive to see buildings crumble (for a Wii game, anyway).
This section of the demo was short but it did the job, showing how much Eurocom has changed from the original. The new game's story follows GoldenEye's plot for the most part, but there are some additional missions never seen in the original game or movie for that matter.
Of course, the real meat to GoldenEye is the multiplayer. They've updated the scheme so that it takes a more modern day approach, meaning that you have loadouts to pick from whenever you spawn instead of finding weapons scattered throughout the map. You can only carry two guns and a few grenades at a time, too.
As a fan of the original, I wasn't all that thrilled with the loadout feature. I get that enough in Call of Duty and the Halos. What I really like that is new, though, is all of the modifers you have at your disposal. Only a few were shown, but expect to see things like paintball mode, Golden Gun matches and a modifer that makes people explode when they touch each other.
If there is anything that will really hurt GoldenEye, it's the graphics. Multiplayer is a ton of fun, but when you're on a map with wide open spaces, it's nearly impossible to spot the (up to eight) other players from afar.
Along with the Wii version, I checked out the DS game being developed by n-Space and it was alright. It's just a matter of FPS games being your thing on the DS. n-Space has developed all of the Call of Duty games for the DS and they know how to make a solid handheld shooter by now. You'll like it if you've enjoyed their other offerings.
I'm actually split on GoldenEye. It's a case of overwhelming nostalgia dulling my feelings and being a big James Bond fan. I'll play it just to see how much has changed, but take away my love for the original game and I don't think GoldenEye 007 would be on my radar at all.
Oh, also, ODDJOB THROWS HIS FUCKING HAT AT PEOPLE. FUCK YEAH!
For more on GoldenEye, check out Matthew Razak's interview with Eurocom and another preview of the game from gamescom.
The Nintendo64 had some great games, but they were always few and far between, especially in the early days. That was a big problem for Nintendo's last cartridge-based console, until Rare came out with GoldenEye 007, that is...
Daniel Craig has a fantastic profile. Don't believe me? Check out the first few seconds of this James Bond 007: Blood Stone developer diary. Watch it yet? Killer profile, right? In his latest video, developers from Bizarre C...
If you're a major city and you find out that James Bond is coming for a visit it's probably good idea to take out some insurance on things blowing up and plenty of people dying. Wherever the dashing spy goes stuff gets destr...
We've already talked in depth today about GoldenEye 007 thanks to our recent interview on the game, but maybe you weren't quite sure about exactly how the game was being reworked. Developer interview video to the rescue!
Sep 04 //
Destructoid: At the reveal for the game at Nintendo's press conference at E3 a variety of research panels were shown to show off how interested people were in a new GoldenEye. Other than a demand for the game what else was garnered from these and how have the ideas been implemented in the game? Widdows: The reveal event movie showed just one of dozens of focus tests we’ve carried out on GoldenEye 007 at Eurocom; other UK Activision studios such as Freestyle Games and Bizarre Creations; at our Head Office in Santa Monica; and in other parts of the publishing organization such as the offices in Quebec and Minneapolis. Some helped inform the overall creative direction, others were to look at specific gameplay features such as the smartphone; the covert/firefight mechanics; the innovative control scheme that aids player accessibility; level flows; game balance; multiplayer functionality and playability. It’s been a hugely important part of development that‘s informed all elements of the game – our litmus test to ensure we’re reimagining ‘GoldenEye’ in the right way, and are delivering the AAA gaming experience people have the right to expect. Will GoldenEye Wii do anything to win over people who hate the original N64 game? Widdows: People who hated the original should understand that although our game respectfully tips its cap to the 1997 original, it is a completely new experience re-imagined for 2010, in the world of Daniel Craig’s Bond. The mechanics, levels, gameplay beats, and story, have all been designed from the ground up for the Wii platform. Walking that line between nostalgia and creating a fresh, relevant experience, has been a key part of the game’s development, and we’re really comfortable with the final balance. The expectations of modern players are very different now and exceeding those expectations has always taken priority over any sense of needing to be like the original – Eurocom have delivered a game that stands on its own feet. The trailer had plenty of iconic scenes from the original game (bathroom ventilation kill FTW), but there are obviously major changes in the levels. What are you doing to change up the single player experience? Widdows: Firstly, this is a much more cinematically driven experience when compared to the original GoldenEye. In-game cut-scenes, many of which are fully interactive and blend seamlessly with the gameplay, punctuate the experience and provide narrative drive through the levels. The levels themselves have been designed around re-imagined mechanics, such as the melee takedowns, the covert system, and the smartphone, and as such although they contain iconic moments, offer an entirely different experience over the original. During focus testing we’ve found that the majority of people who play the game really get the direction that’s been taken, and like the balance.
A lot has changed since Bond landed on the N64. What do you think it takes to make a successful competitive FPS today, compared to what it took back in the N64 days? Which style are you shooting for with GoldenEye on the Wii? Widdows: Absolutely. The shooter genre is largely an evolutionary one, and things have evolved a great deal since the original game was released. As such, you’re generally building on your own learnings as well as those of other games makers. In a general sense, I think it comes down to four main things: Giving the player an accessible, tactile, rewarding core experience – the game has to feel fun in the hand, with the player always feeling in control; delivering levels that are designed to support the core mechanics, offer constant visual interest, and lots of payoffs for exploration and progress; the game needs to exceed player expectation by offering regular surprises, through cinematics, wow moments, set-pieces and varied encounter design; and lastly deliver a compelling narrative experience supported by incredible voice over and an audio score. In all of these areas production values need to be polished and slick in order to give the gamer the experience they now rightly expect. In terms of style, ‘GoldenEye 007’ is a blend of covert and firefight gameplay designed to give the player a choice of playing styles throughout.
Eurocom have done a great job of ensuring the behind the gun experience is tight, fun and engaging, whilst delivering an experience that rewards replay and experimentation. Every time you play there’s a new route to discover, a hidden area to find, or a setup to approach differently. More than anything, Eurocom have a great sense of the factors that help make a game fun, which is evident as soon as you pickup the controller. In line with this, GoldenEye is a little dated. The game is obviously still a blast to play as a throwback, but what are you doing to bring it up to date other than the obvious graphical change? Widdows: I think this is pretty much covered above. This is an entirely new GoldenEye experience for 2010 with new gameplay, new levels, great graphics, and destructibility. The answer is ‘everything’. In that same vein what are you doing to improve the multiplayer or offer something new up? Widdows: Aside from the 4 player split-screen, we now have 8 classic characters including Baron Samedi, Rosa Klebb, Jaws, Oddjob, Red Grant and Blofeld; 44 other characters including Bond, Trevelyan and Onatopp; a host of split-screen hosting options and game modes such as GoldenEye control - a territory possession mode; You Only Live Twice; and Golden Gun. Then we have the 8 player Wii online experience, the XP system, weapon attachment unlock, online specific game modes… In an event that will most likely never occur again, people are probably looking forward to split-screen multiplayer over online functionality. Still, you're implementing online on the Wii. Not the hottest spot for online gaming. What are you doing to make sure this works and dare I bring up Friend Codes?
Widdows: well as split-screen. This is 2010 after all, and to deliver a shooter experience that draws people awayNever again? I hope not! We really felt from the outset that we had to include online support as from their HD consoles to Nintendo’s white box we knew we had to bring the compelling and fully-featured gameplay people have come to expect of the best-in-class shooters to ‘GoldenEye’. To make sure this works we’ve focus tested, BETA tested, and focus tested some more. Ultimately polish comes from extensive playing, and the online game has had a lot of play time. All right, I know the arguments against the Wii as plenty on the web have been shouting them since the announcement, defend GoldenEye's release as a Wii exclusive (aside from the DS, of course). Widdows: Because the console and its audience deserves a cutting edge shooter; because Eurocom and ATVI have something to prove - that Nintendo’s machine is underestimated in terms of its ability to deliver serious, credible, mature experiences - and because it feels so natural to bring GoldenEye home to Nintendo.
Classic Controller (in gold!) or Wii Remote and Nunchuck? Widdows: CD or Vinyl? Daniel Craig's Bond is very different from Pierce Brosnan's. The story has been reworked, but are you making any attempt to work his take on the character into the game are you leaving it Brosnian? Widdows: It’s Craig through and through. Working with Bruce Feirstein (one of the writers on the original GoldenEye) was essential in this respect, as he helped us translate all those story arcs into the world of Daniel Craig. The gameplay is also all Craig – less gadgets and one-liners, more hand-to-hand combat and agility. This was a really key decision as it helped us differentiate the gameplay and the overall aesthetic from the original experience. Did you add any beach sequences in the game? We want pecs; Daniel Craig's pecs. Possibly also a small speedo. Widdows: Ha ha. No, no that would have been, ‘challenging’ to have handled delicately in a videogame. I don’t think we do speedos well. Pecs, maybe, but pecs don’t often come out in the middle of a Russian wilderness. We have some biceps though. Would biceps do? People (read: me) are pretty religious about Bond. How daunting has it been to take on such an iconic character on top of an iconic game and make it all work? What has been the biggest challenge? Widdows: Keeping people (read: you) happy, is incredibly important to us. We all grew up watching Bond films – my first cinema trip was to watch ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – and so this property is incredibly dear to us. I guess this has made the task daunting, but also given us a good creative centre. We know what we think works and what does not, and hope that you’ll agree. Thankfully we have three of the most ardent protectors of the franchise scrutinizing our every move: the Producers of the Bond films, Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and David Wilson, have worked with us closely to help us understand what can and cannot happen in Bond’s universe. Combine this with the collaboration with Bruce Feirstein, and I think you have one of the most authentic, respectful and relevant Bond experiences in years.
You've renamed the Klobb to Klebb. For a Bond lover that is an awesome reference, for a GoldenEye lover that's a sin. There are almost two competing icons here, has it been tough to balance them? Anymore cool little references like that being worked in? Widdows: It’s one of those things. You’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. As long-time fans of the Bond films we think we’ve made the right decision although you folks will be the final judges. And yes, there are plenty of cool little references throughout. With MGM's current financial woes and the news of the next Bond film being put on hold, GoldenEye and Blood Stone are the only way that people are going to be able to get a Bond fix for a while. Do you see the games as stepping up to fill a void? Do you think that the Bond games could be considered as important to the Bond mythos as the films are? Should they be?
Widdows: Yes, I do, and I know the Producers at EON feel the same way. Although cinematic releases are the lifeblood of the property, games are becoming increasingly important, and the level of involvement we’ve had with the production team over at EON is unprecedented in the history of Bond games. This authenticity is clear when you play the games, and is important to maintain the integrity of the property. We’re really proud of both the titles and hope gaming fans and Bond fans alike enjoy these Bond stories. What are the chances, if any at all, of DLC happening? Widdows: None. Sorry. Could we be seeing more GoldenEye sequels if this takes off? Almost a franchise within a franchise? Widdows: At the moment all our energy is focused on finishing GoldenEye 007. World domination can wait a week or two… Obligatory question is obligatory, but who's your favorite Bond. Has a vote gone around the office yet? Widdows: I don’t have one favorite Bond as they’ve all brought something new to the character. Moore and Connery are obviously key icons to me as I grew up with them, but I love Craig’s interpretation of the character. I’ve been a fan of his since Layer Cake – superb performance – and I think he’s developed the Bond character in a really interesting way.
Bond is back, and this time he's back in two new games. One of them is an entirely new venture in the form of Blood Stone the other is a relaunch of one of the most iconic games ever made, GoldenEye 007. While the former is t...
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It seems that porting/updating GoldenEye for a "next-gen" system has pretty much been a major demand of gamers since companies started porting and revamping old games for new systems. And since that day people have been argui...
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Get ready for some Bond minutia. I doubt most of you will care.
Above you'll find the opening credits to the upcoming Bond game Blood Stone with Bond girl and singer Joss Stone performing the opening song. As you most likely...
From what we learned at gamescom there is absolutely no reason not to start getting really excited over Blood Stone. I mean, I already was really excited because it's Bond, but now everyone else can be really excited because...
Aug 22 //
Ian Roberts This outing in the current Daniel Craig Bond continuity comes to us from Bizarre Creations, the maker of the Project Gotham Racing series, Blur, Geometry Wars, and The Club, so we know that it has a pedigree for making solid gaming experiences. We were shown a two-part demo -- a hands-off section set in Istanbul that demonstrated how the action sequences work and the aforementioned driving section that we were allowed to have a play of.
In Istanbul, Bond is searching for a missing British scientist. The trail leads him to a construction site where he wanders into a trap at the hands of the not-so-innocent construction workers. Upon escaping certain death, you are required to make your way past the armed guards on the site and into the underground area. Two ways of playing through the level, one stealthy and the other more aggressive, showed just how the mechanics of the game will support any style of play.
The first thing that we are introduced to is Bond's one and only gadget, a smartphone. Its function in the game is exactly the same as that of the X-Ray mode in Batman: Arkham Asylum -- turn it on and it creates an augmented reality view of the level that shows points of interest around you. The key difference between Bond and Batman is that the mode has been gimped in Blood Stone -- if you attempt to walk around with it on, the view will go glitchy as your phone loses signal, preventing people from playing this game with an interlaced light blue tint. To be honest, the action sections of Blood Stone do crib ideas from a bunch of games, mostly Batman: Arkham Asylum, Splinter Cell, and Uncharted 2, but it takes those elements and combines them so effectively that it's forgivable.
Sneaking around the construction site is a slower but much more satisfying affair. Use of context-sensitive takedowns, like leaping out from behind corners or pulling guards through open windows, will be your main method of getting rid of guards, though a successful melee takedown will award you with a token to use the "Focus Aim." Focus Aim quickly targets and kills one enemy per token, but you have a limit of three so that you can't just run around essentially pressing the "win" button.
The more action-oriented approach will see you getting through the level quicker while running more of a risk of getting shot. You can still perform melee takedowns, but instead of taking cover and quietly dispensing the target, you'll charge up to them and punch them silly or smash them face first into a nearby piece of scenery. The no-stealth melee takedowns also reward you with Focus Aim tokens, so you could clear out an area fairly quickly with a little good timing. Be under no illusion, however, that it will be easy, for one little slip-up can cost you dearly.
With the armed guards dispensed, Bond makes his way into the underground, a huge dark cavern with wooden rafters to walk across. There are no enemies to kill here, so it's frankly too quiet. All of a sudden, a blinding flash of light illuminates the area, and there, dominating the rear of the cavern, is a gigantic drill. The drill starts moving towards you, grinding up everything in its path including the wooden platforms. As it gives chase, you'll be leaping from platform to platform and shimmying along wooden beams to stay ahead.
The Istanbul level ends with a brief look at a car chase through the streets in the classic Aston Martin DB5, perfectly setting up our viewing of the next section of the demo. The action shifts to Siberia where Bond (now in his DB9) speeds off into an industrial area, giving chase to a train, with Bond's girl Joss Stone in the passenger seat. As you race through the factories, swerving between trucks and vans, a helicopter gunship is raining bullets and bombs onto the road ahead. You escape from here onto the Siberian ice floe as the helicopter pelts the fragile ice, causing it crack and break apart as you try to drive across it. It's exciting, damned exciting. The driving feels like a slightly more arcade-like Project Gotham Racing -- you're not expected to be proficient in hand break turns and racing lines, but if you are expecting to beat the level by simply holding down the accelerator, you'll only end up spinning out or crashing.
You already know my feelings about Blood Stone, as I stated clear as day in the opening paragraph. The game uses popular mechanics that have appeared in other series, but they are integrated so well that it really isn't objectionable. If anything, it helps to give the game the same sense of excitement that its cinematic counterparts do. James Bond 007: Blood Stone is due early next year, and until then, I'm going to put on my tux and start drinking vodka martinis.
The second helping of Bond from Activision at gamescom nearly caused me to shatter my teeth. During a tense hands-on with the game's driving section, I had to put my pen in my mouth so I could hold the controller, a poor ...
Aug 21 //
Ian Roberts There is a serious sense of deja vu about GoldenEye 2010, despite Eurocom saying that it couldn’t simply remake Rare's original for legal reasons. The level that we were shown was the Jungle level which, just like it's 1997 counterpart, sits around 75% of the way through the game (and apparently features a battle with Xenia Onatopp, although we didn't get to see that) and sees Bond being shot down by a heat-seeking rocket and crashing into the dense green jungle below.
The whole section is designed to be played in a stealthy manner with your using takedowns and gadgets to work your way through the level. Approaching an unaware enemy from behind will give you an on-screen prompt to press a button and execute a choke out or neck snap. It is nothing new but works perfectly well and is something more elaborate than simply melee attacking the back of the enemy's head. Enemies further away will need to be taken down using you silenced PPK, but screw this up and you'll make your target aware of your presence. In those circumstances, you will have a brief window of a few seconds in order to take him out before he alerts other guards in the area or starts shooting you.
Not everything that is out to kill you is so easily disposed of -- the Jungle is lined with automated machine guns that sweep the area with blue lasers that will rip you apart if you stumble into them. Bond, being the super spy that he is, comes fully prepared with gadgets such as, in this case, a mobile phone that can be used to hack the turrets and turn them against enemy soldiers. If you wish, you can also simply attack the laptops that are running the turrets to disable them.
To be honest, I'm sure by now you have realized that I'm writing about the section of the single player that I got to see without any enthusiasm, and I do apologize for this. It just feels wrong, like Eurocom is afraid that if it moves too far away from everything that GoldenEye 1997 was then people's enthusiasm for the game will get hurt. So what we have is a deja vu-inducing experience containing many elements of the original with some added gameplay mechanics that feel a bit weak and almost detached from the main game. It's like coming home from work and finding someone else wearing your wife's clothes, pretending to be her. And it's a man.
My reservations, however, do not extend to the multiplayer that, for all of the additions like iron sights, recharging health, and the ability to jump and run, feels as much fun as its original counterpart. We played a session of four-player, split-screen deathmatch, and the relatively small design of the levels, along with a radar in the corner that displays the whereabouts of your opponents at all times, makes for a fun, frantic multiplayer experience. Regenerative health doesn't leave as much of a mark as you'd imagine, given that you really only have a small amount of health to begin with so that any prolonged attack will result in death. The game has also been designed to be played with the Classic controller, Wiimote and Nunchuck, Zapper, and GameCube controller, ensuring that however you feel most comfortable, you'll be catered for. We played with the Classic controller and it seemed nice and responsive.
So the multiplayer is a great deal of fun, and I have no doubt in my mind that people will have an absolute blast with it. However, my issues with the single-player campaign still remain troubling. It doesn't seem different enough from 1997 original to be anything worth paying attention to, and what little it does that is new isn't really that exceptional. There is still time until the game is released, so it is possible that improvements can be and hopefully are being made.
Also, Oddjob is still a cheating bastard.
It's been thirteen years since one of the most celebrated console shooters, GoldenEye 007, was released on the Nintendo 64. Since then, we have had a sub-par, sort-of sequel in GoldenEye: Rogue Agent and people arguing about ...
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