UFC Undisputed 3 Review

March 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Ever since MMA started to develop a name for its self as a mainstream sport there have been a small group of developers who have tried to gain some sort of dominant position in their attempts to create an almost ‘true to life’ MMA video game. With the first two games in the UFC Undisputed series, THQ came somewhat close but were never really able to make both the hardcore MMA fanatics and the casual players happy. Having said this, with UFC Undisputed 3, there may be an alpha male amongst the testosterone pumped MMA pack.

While UFC 3 has a lot to offer, the first thing you will notice is the ease of accessibility. Jumping into a fight from the get go, and dropping a load of elbows to your opponents face is extremely easy, and with the simplified control system – and the fact that you can choose between Amateur (grappling just requires flicks of the right analog stick) and Pro (works the same as in previous games) controls for grappling – you can spend more than a few hours playing against friends before you even begin to even think about tackling the career mode.

As we can see with the changes made to the controls, THQ have obviously paid attention to fans of the Undisputed games as they have tried to make the way you play the game less technical, while still making sure that players have to apply some sort of technique to the way they play each fighter. Of course, THQ didn’t only listen to fan comments about the game’s controls – they seem to have read every MMA lovers thoughts and included Pride FC as a place to battle it out against both friends and computer.

While Undisputed is always going to center itself around the UFC, the inclusion of Pride gives a whole new aspect to the MMA gaming world. Not only can you chose from a list of the most well known Pride fighters, but you can all mix and match – allowing for both UFC and Pride fighters to duke it out with Pride rules. Before you know it you’ll be stomping on the head of your opponent, or kicking them when they are down on the ground. While it’s a lot of fun to play – especially seeing as it really re-creates the feel of Pride when it was at its prime – it does feel a bit short winded, as there is no career mode or title defense. Maybe we’ll be seeing a full Pride FC video game somewhere down the line?

The career mode itself is a lot of fun and is extremely straight forward – create/pick character; choose fighting style; train; fight; become a badass. Pretty simple, right?

With the ability to choose almost everything about your fighter – from what type of fighting stance they use, to what fights they take – Undisputed makes it very hard for you to dislike the career mode. You now have a simple way of training in various elements – cardio, strength, footwork etc. – before each fight, so you now have to spend less time watching that you have enough time to rest before a fight or do media events. With this new game you spend more time doing the mini training games which range from punching a heavy bag to flipping tires. While I still feel as though Undisputed could have taken a leaf out of EA MMA’s book and made the mini training games more interesting by making you learn combinations that would be of some use in a fight – the new mini games are definitely a step in the right direction, but just a little repetitive.

As well as the general training, Undisputed 3 has the training camp feature, which allows you to go train with a specified fighting camp. So, for example, if you have are using a boxer then it is likely you would want to train with Greg Jackson. This type of attention to detail will really help push this game to new heights among fans of the UFC. Going to these camps allows you to learn special moves that various professional fighters, who use gyms, have developed over their careers.

These gyms also allow you to learn submission moves that can’t be learned otherwise. This initially confused me seeing as if you’re a boxer and you learn one of these submission moves, you would be unlikely to use it seeing as you wouldn’t have good enough stats to pull it off successfully. Either way the moves can be learned if you have the time, and over all it will make your fighter better rounded, which in all fairness is something the game really allows for.

Seeing as I just touched upon the submissions aspect of Undisputed, I might as well carry on by saying that the whole ground work part of UFC 3 has been changed up. Performing transitions on the ground takes some carefully timed rolls on the right analog stick to pass your opponent. Submissions have been changed so you play a mini game, of sorts, to either get a submission or get out of one. Basically when either you or your opponent attempts a submission a Octagon shape will appear on the screen and the idea is to try and cover your opponents bar with your bar for a set amount of time (this is if you are the one doing the submission), if your opponent is trying to submit you then you have to keep him off your bar.

This mini game style is definitely an improvement but I’m unsure whether or not I like it as much as EA MMA’s stamina based submission control. Both have their upsides but as far as I can tell UFC 3’s seems to work rather well, despite the fact that it can take you attention off the well crafted characters and fight sequences.

Online play is pretty great, although I found it a bit jumpy every now and again, but I might have to put that down to my crappy Internet. Not only does UFC 3 provide the Fight Camps feature again, where like minded fighters can come together and train with each other, but it also allows for some fantastic community building add-on’s, such as the ability to share your highlight reel of victories.

Visually UFC 3 is beyond great. Every fighter looks and acts exactly how they do in real life. While it was a bit sad to see that the developers seemed to lack in ingenuity when it came to allowing people to create their own characters – no matter what you do to your personal character they will always look like some grotesque parody of one of the more well known fighters. Having said that though, the developers seemed to put a lot of time and effort into adding those little details such as sweat and bruises/cuts to make fights that bit more interesting – seeing as fights can now be called to an end if a fighter is bleeding too much.

No matter how much I wanted to hate on UFC Undisputed 3 due to its mainstream leanings, it is very hard to do so. While I still feel as though EA made a better, and extremely under rated game, MMA fighting game with EA MMA, I do think that THQ has been able to match them with the newest UFC game, due to a great overhaul of the control system and an all most never ending amount of fun available, because of all the added features like Pride FC, and the Title Defense section. I could go on for another 1000 words about what makes this game so much fun, but in all honesty it all comes down to the great accessibility and the fact that there is just so much to do.

Interview with David Fracchia, Vice President of Radical Entertainment

February 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Features, PC, Playstation 3, Spotlight, Xbox 360

Sitting down with David Fracchia, Vice President of Radical Entertainment, and having a good old chat about the Prototype series was definitely the highlight of going to London to get my hands dirty playing Prototype 2. This might sound a bit odd to some of you, as a trip to London is nothing to scoff at; but in fairness, it is very rare in today’s world to sit down with somebody who is so passionate about a singular project.

With Prototype 2 Radical Entertainment have unleashed something of a hell fuelled beast with a redesigned engine; spit shined and straight forward storyline; a revamped fighting system; and a new character that literally has the word ‘Hell’ in his name.

What more could you really want from a game? Well read on and find out what’s on offer.

David Fracchia, Vice President of Radical Entertainment.

Can you tell us a bit about the storyline of Prototype 2?

It’s now 14 months later and there has been a second outbreak in Manhattan which has essentially taken over an entire zone and because of this it has been quarantined and separated from the entire world. With these new outbreaks happening, we see Blackwatch moving in and setting up their headquarters in Manhattan, and set up refugee camps in the park. Of course they then start realising that they can’t safely have their headquarters in the red zone and move it into the green zone and quarantine that whole area off from the world.

Remaining survivors from the red zone are moved into the yellow zone and are kept in a quarantined camp. They weren’t going to move them into the green zone as these remaining survivors are infected. Now because Blackwatch is a pretty nefarious organisation they think for the most part that the population there (the yellow zone) is doomed anyway, and they start experimenting on them.

It all starts to kick off with Heller, who was in the Middle East when the second outbreak occurred, gets back and finds that his family has succumbed to the virus. At that point, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, he just singularly decides he is going to wipe out Alex Mercer. He knows the military side of the story, and it’s essentially how the second prototype begins. You’ve got Heller being reinstated into the red zone and all he wants to do is kill Mercer or die trying and that’s how we start the game.

Well the truth is we actually started another project after the first Prototype game, so actually as we were finishing Prototype we were starting another project, and you seeing as Prototype was a brand new area for Activision, we didn’t know how well it was going to do originally, and of course with the recession we weren’t sure how well it was going to do. But then of course it sold so well, and with Prototype’s success coinciding with the other project being cancelled we started developing Prototype 2. This was roughly about a year after the release so far we’ve only been working on Prototype 2 for 2 years.

Oh so you’ve really only been working on it for what could be considered a normal amount of time for a sequel to come out, right?

Exactly. Of course, we’ve still taken our time and made it into a great game.

(laugh) Do we get any questions answered in the new game? Let’s say, questions about the virus itself or Blackwatch’s motives?

I don’t want to give any spoilers of course, but certainly there were a great number of holes that were left by the previous game and you know there are some bits and pieces that could be filled, but I don’t really want to go over them unfortunately. We’ve really tried to keep the focus moving forward and keep the story progressing. Anything that we are going to reveal from the past will be something that is going to really affect and change the course of the game. I mean have you played any of the game so far?

Yeah. I’ve played through a bit of the story mode.

Well then I guess you’ve already seen that there is some interaction between Heller and Mercer that already changes the course of the game and the course of action which Heller takes?

Yeah, I did! It was very (at this point I made a strange gesture with my arms to show my excitement).  Seeing as we’re on the topic of what I just played, I noticed that the cinematic scenes seem to have a comic book art type of style to them. I would even go as far as to say that the cinematics reminded me of Sin City, especially with the flashes of colour. Can you explain the reasoning behind using this kind of style?

Yeah, well our art director really wanted to pick an art style that has a certain emotional tone. I mean the story is a dark story and yet what was interesting about the virus, its denoted by this red colour, you look at Mercer’s jacket and you look at Heller’s jacket and they’re really that kind of red and greys and we really took that style and put it into our FMVs because it really seemed to have that strong viral and emotional impact. So it was very much an art direction. Chris himself hasn’t initially said Sin City from what I remember, but I imagine Sin City and other comics that have taken tones like that; those have had an impact on him for sure.\

Prototype 2 Hands-on

February 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Features, Spotlight

Upon hearing that I would be having a go at Prototype 2, I had a sit down and tried to remember the redeeming features of the first Prototype game, but the problem that I seemed to come across is the fact that it is was so specifically un-memorable. While I had a vague idea about the plot of the first game, and a murky image in my mind’s eye of what the game looked like; it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to remember something about the first Prototype that made me think it was a particularly interesting game. Of course, what I’ve come to realise is that Prototype was a good game that set up a blue print for what could turn into a great game series, with the possibility of Prototype 2 being the first of great games in said series.

“But what’s different about Prototype 2?” I hear you ask in that oh so high pitch voice of yours. Well, little girl. Let me show you. With my words.

Sitting down in front of a rather large TV screen with nothing but an Xbox 360 controller and a note pad – adorned by some hastily scribbled interview questions and a crudely inked badger – can make even the most green of video game journalists imagine themselves as some of intrepid high priest sent around the world to sample the arts of diligent and wondrous video game designers before the lowly cretinous under beings (aka normal people) are allowed to get their grubby hands on the game.

With that being said, this sapling of a game reviewer was brought back down to earth very quickly after dying in the game within about 20 seconds thanks to a creature, I dearly nicknamed Big Sally, chasing my character down a very narrow, and rather cluttered street. Well the end of that story is that Big Sally ran me over. To say that this is a bit of a metaphor for Prototype 2’s outlook on life is a bit of an understatement. This is an exact metaphor. Prototype 2 sees you take control of Sergeant James Heller; a man without any fear of death. An empty shell of a man who has lost all hope, with the only thing that keeps him going being his unrelenting hatred of Alex Mercer, who he blames for the death of his wife and child.

Reasonably light story fodder then, ey?

Being run over by a giant monster aside, the beginning of Prototype 2 sees Mercer and Heller come face to face within a matter of minutes. At first I thought this was going to be the shortest game ever but, Heller – still being a human at the beginning of the game – can hardly get within reaching distance of Mercer before he is out of his league. The conversation that plays out basically sees Mercer infect Heller and then convince him to help sort shit out around NYZ. Whether you end up actually killing Mercer, seeing as you are now basically doing is his dirty work, is another question and not one that I can answer seeing as I didn’t get that far through the game. Of course I’ll say that you definitely get to fight him at some point. There is no way the developers went through all this trouble just have Mercer and Heller settle their differences, move to LA and adopt small orphaned children, although, if they did they would totally be called Jamex by the paparazzi.

While I can’t say a lot about the storyline, due to the short amount of time I spent actually doing missions, I do think people will able to relate a hell of a lot more to Heller’s plight, especially as his core motives in the game are all emotional ones. Then again anybody would be easier to relate to than the cardboard box that was Mercer.

So as the storyline seems somewhat more mature and less vague, other aspects of the Prototype world have grown up and put their big boy pants on to; one place where this is evident is in the aesthetics, both in the cinematic cuts and in game. The cut scenes look like samples from a rather grim and dreary comic book series – think Sin City with its damp greyness and splashes of vibrant colour -, and seem to give the game a sort of sad beauty. While much of the time I like to remain quite cynical and displeased with video games that try to make me feel ‘feelings’ with their ‘real world’ aesthetics, i have to say Prototype 2 has done well. It’s not so bombastic and in your face that you want to gouge your eyes out, but it’s also subtle enough for you to actually sit through the cut scenes as they add an extra texture to a game that makes Japanese gore movies seem relatively boring.

Quick Look: Prototype 2

February 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Features, PC, Playstation 3, Spotlight, Xbox 360

Open world games have been a constant source of amusement for many gamers as they allow you to whittle away the hours experimenting with the, generally, varied terrain that was lovingly created for players to create havoc on. With that being said, no release really embodied havoc like the first Prototype game, and that’s why Radical Entertainment has spent the past 2 years creating Prototype 2.

There is little point in me explaining the back story to the Prototype games in detail – as you can very easily get a good run down of the game on Wikipedia – but for the few of you who need reminding Prototype is an open world game which saw the (anti-) hero, Alex Mercer, become some sort of super being with various abilities – mainly shape shifting, inhuman strength, and my favourite one, the ability to run up walls – which he would use to try and find out…well basically everything about himself; from how he came to have powers to why Blackwatch were doing what they were doing. You also destroy a huge chunk of New York City for shits and giggles.

Now I can’t go into too much detail about Prototype 2 at this point, but thankfully vague statements are what I’m sort of okay at doing every now and again. So here we go -

  • If you’ve checked out the trailer for Prototype 2 you should know that instead of playing as Alex Mercer, you now take control of ex-military man, James Heller, who decides that Mercer needs to die for releasing the virus, thus killing Heller’s wife and child. What I found interesting is that the game brings in a twist that means things aren’t as straight forward as just killing Mercer.
  • There are a bunch of new weapons that will make things extremely interesting, especially for those among you who enjoyed the Saw movies a tad too much, and like finding interesting ways to kill and maim people. No doubt I could have sat for half a day messing around with the different powers.
  • Remember that part in the trailer where Heller basically rips apart a helicopter with this power called ‘tendrils’? Those are the best. While I didn’t work out how to go about deconstructing helicopters with what I can only describe as really meaty spider webs, I did realise that tendrils bring me more pleasure than about 65% of adulterated activities.
  • Aesthetically, Prototype 2 is definitely a head above its predecessor with each of the three zones that make up New York City being uniquely created to stand apart from each other. You can easily tell the differences between being in the Green, Yellow, or Red zone, as each zone is different as opposed to being a carbon copy with more infected/soldiers to kill as a way of denoting the area.
  • At one point while playing through the game I used the whipfist power, and while my brain wanted me to react and pick up my jaw from the ground, as well as wipe away the pool of drool; my gaze was fixed. The aesthetic qualities of a group of people’s upper bodies simultaneously sliding off of their bottom halves  is quite possibly the most beautifully grotesque thing I’ve ever seen, and subsequently made it incredibly hard to tear my eyes away.
  • The open world aspect of the game is just as good, if not better, than the first game. You definitely need to time to explore the zones so you can find the perfect building to dive bomb people from.
  • Going back to the storyline of Prototype 2, it has to be said that from my point of view the game seems a bit more straight forward and less likely to alienate players with a character like Mercer, who I found to be incredibly unlikeable. With Heller, players have a character they can sympathise with and root for, and in the end that allows for greater immersion into the game.

That’s about it for now. Expect our full hands-on preview in the coming week.

Rayman Origins Review

January 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

With all the dragon slaying that has taken place because of Skyrim, number of headshots that have accumulated due to the release of Modern Warfare 3, and the typical ‘alpha male’ chest beating that goes hand in hand with playing any video game in an online setting, it feels as though – seeing as it’s a new year and all – we should take a step back from the world of energy drink enthused button mashing and instead look at Rayman Origins, which revels in the simple beauty of an aesthetically pleasing platform game.

Rayman Origins begins with Rayman, a massive blue thing called Globox, a bunch of tiny people – who are simply called Teensies (I guess political correctness isn’t something these creatures have heard about) – and an old hobo who, apart from being the supreme being of The Glade of Dreams (where this story is set), has one of the most magnificent beards I’ve ever laid eyes on. His name is Bubble Dreamer, and you best remember it or else he will hit you with his (filthy looking) umbrella.

Anyway, all of them are sleeping and making a hell of a rhythmic noise. With their blatant disregard for the neighbourhood-maximum-decibel-level law the, aptly named, Livid Dead pops over to the Glade of Dreams to tell the snoring A Capella group to turn it down…with their fists. Hilarity ensues as Rayman (and friends if you took advantage of the multiplayer experience) sets out to rid The Glade of Dreams of various evil cartoony bad guys, collecting lums, setting free a bunch of beetroots called Electoons, and let us not forget that there are a bunch of damsels in distress that need saving from a suitcase with feet and a need to run away when ever approached.

If anybody is currently reading this and has never been fortunate enough to enter the realm of Rayman and co. then you probably think I’ve gone absolutely barking mad and are trying to find out how best to get me the mental help I so dearly need. Well fear not! This is just the basic premise for Rayman Origins.

As far as storylines go, Rayman Origins seems to have a reasonably solid and simple idea but like anything these days the storyline comes second to how bloody good the game looks – and it looks bloody good.

With the modern graphical capabilities Rayman Origins makes old platform games look like they were made out of bits of cut up newspaper. Upon starting the game you are thrown into a world of vibrant colours, goofily grinning cartoon characters, and what can only be one of the catchiest game soundtracks around today. Ubisoft have been able to develop a game that will get you coming back for more, just on the basis of what the game looks like – and it looks like a big bundle of fun.

WWE ’12 Review

December 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

It’s hard to sum up the huge amount of sentimental value that WWE (WWF as it was known way back when) has to me. While I was never a huge fan of the mind bogglingly dramatic – not to mention cheesier than a slice of cheddar – TV show, the games held a certain amount of wonder to a kid who spent the better half of his day bashing toys together in a mock fight; WWF Attitude (otherwise known as the first WWF game I ever played) allowed the same sort of experience as my day-to-day play time but with the wide-eyed joy of seeing my sadistic plastic-on-plastic wars unfold on a TV screen.

Having said all that, I haven’t kept up with any WWE games since then, so I have little to compare WWE ’12 to, although judging from the (little) research I did into its predecessors, I can write to you and say whole heartedly that if you enjoyed the previous games and/or enjoy watching the brain cell killing TV show, then it is more than likely you will love this game more than an idiot loves a backhanded comment i.e. a lot.

For a game with such highs and lows it’s hard to decide which end of the spectrum to begin on. Of course, seeing as I’m an optimist I would like to think most of you will read this to the end, therefore I’ll leave the good news until last.

Firstly, the bad news is THQ have ‘dun goofed up’ with the countering system. While they allow you plenty of opportunities to counter an attack – be they opportunities that are literally condensed into a split second – it seems as though at times you are either: 1) too slow to press the button and counter or 2) the game just doesn’t want you to counter right now and wants show you what it looks like when a 140kg man gets thrown off a 10 feet high ladder. Seeing as I prefer to look at games as virtual D-bags, I’m going to go with the latter option.

If you can work your way around this faulty controller system – I found that you could work out when it would allow counters before the button appeared so that you were ready – without taking the game and beating it into a glorious dust with your console controller, then you might just be able to play this game to experience one of the wonderful bugs that oh-so-gracefully forces itself on one of the characters during game play, thus forcing said character to levitate above the mat. Yes. Levitate. While these defects are few and far between, it kind of seems like just pure laziness that the designers did nothing to clean up the glitches.

Having gotten through the two major low points of WWE 12, it seems like a better time than any to look at what makes this game actually worth buying. Well apart from pretty much every aspect of the game – from the titles to the in game cinematic – looking like it was ctrl-c-ed, ctrl-v-ed from the TV show, WWE 12 offers a rounded experience for people who are heavily into WWE and want to customize everything from the arena they fight in, down to the little Speedos they dress their characters in. For the less enthusiastic WWE 12 players out there, you will be happy to know it is super easy to jump straight in to a match, with little, to no need to play the story mode to unlock characters (although there are quite a few old fighters that will be unlocked by playing it).

Supremacy MMA Review

December 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Despite being a fan of mixed martial arts – watching grown men beat the living hell out of each other once a month is an acquired taste – I was always wary of the appearance of games such as UFC Undisputed and EA Sport MMA as there was a particular fear that game developers would mess up everything by making MMA games overtly arcade-like, instead of making the games so that they allowed for the technicality and consistency, that make MMA such an engrossing sport, shine throughout the game.

Of course my worries were all unfounded as both UFC Undisputed and EA Sport MMA have gained a formidable following due to their ability to convey the technicality and skill that MMA athletes must have to be the top of their sport. It also allowed for easy to use controls that required some skill from the gamers themselves which is something which is generally lacking in the button mashing of most fighting games. Unfortunately, Supremacy MMA fits in the latter category.

In some ways it’s a bit difficult to start telling you where this game has gone wrong. Could it be the failed attempt at providing an arcade style game but with MMA fighters? Or is it possibly the lack of flow during game play? Maybe it was the horrendous voice acting?

Well, it’s all these things and a lot more.

A lot of the time Supremacy MMA feels much more like an arcade game, so the developer obviously got something right. The only problem is that an arcade game becomes a bit pointless when game play seems to stutter about too much. You could have a great start – throwing combinations that your opponent can’t even think of defending – but then all of a sudden you see a flash in the corner of your eye saying ‘Press B’, which apparently allows you to counter a counter attack. I say ‘apparently because I have no clue whether or not this actually works. Each time I tried it the AI continued on as subsequently started pummeling me into the ground. He even jumped on my head at one point to convey that I was now his bitch.

Of course, when you’re not being squished head first in to the ground, you are pressing all sorts of button combinations in an attempt to perhaps quell the imminent ferocity that is building up inside your opponent’s bricks of despair, or better know to him as ‘fists’. In all fairness when you do get hit, or kicked, by your opponent there is a certain amount of respect that has to be given to the developers as they really make it look as though you are going through a war instead of a MMA fight. By the end of a round you will be limping on incredibly bruised legs or nursing broken ribs, which once again show the developers wanted a more arcade-y game that is overly violent.

Really the lagging game play is only the tip of the iceberg. The story mode section of the game sees the player chose a fighter out of a small selection, get thrown in a cage – after a short and badly voiced monologue that is obviously attempting to make you feel some sort of connection with your chosen fighter – , and then basically fight everybody you are told to. Winning gets you clothes and points, although the latter’s usefulness isn’t quite apparent, as although you level in the certain fighting style your fighter trains in, it seems to have little to no effect on game play.

With the story mode being quite short, and with little reason to carry on playing through it once you’ve completed it, the only other feature Supremacy MMA offers –apart from the unbelievably depressing online multiplayer – is the ‘femme fatales’ section, better known to normal people as ‘female fighters’. Either way, while the femme fatale mode of Supremacy allows for people to learn a bit more about a couple of top female fighters in the MMA world, as well as get any weird role playing fetishes out of their systems in the safety of their own homes, it has little more to offer in terms of game play.

While the game has decent graphics and has managed to satisfy its basic aim of creating a game for people who wanted a mix of the EA Sport MMA and more arcade style violence, but there are way too many downsides to this game than there are good. That second of lagging reaction time between pressing a button and seeing the results is way too long in a game that should be fast paced and intense. Instead it feels sluggish, unoriginal, and extremely flawed.

GoldenEye 007: Reloaded Review

December 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

f you asked a group of 20-somethings what their top 10 favourite games were when they were growing up you would no doubt be suffocated with the nostalgic fumes let off from the this body of men reminiscing about that time they stayed up all night playing Crash Bandicoot with their friends – each seeing who could get the highest score – and then at some point the talk would take an altogether sleazier angle as they each discussed how Lara Croft ushered them into manhood.

Of course, somewhere along this walk down memory lane, the topic of GoldenEye would come up. Rearing its head back in 1997 this, somewhat legendary game, set standards for not only its peers but the future of FPS gaming. With its fantastic multiplayer capabilities, solid storyline, and (at the time) fantastic graphics, GoldenEye was considered more like the golden nugget of the gaming industry. But this review isn’t about the past, let’s fast forward fourteen years and see if the same can be said for GoldenEye 007: Reload.

With this game being a mere ‘remastering’ of the GoldenEye 007 game that came out on the Wii in 2010, it’s safe to say that if you played the game a year ago on the Nintendo console you won’t be missing much as GoldenEye 007: Reloaded is, in laments terms, an HD version of GoldenEye 007. Of course, there are a few other features added on such ‘Mi6 OPS Missions’, and some new multiplayer features, but more on those later.

For those who want to play this game for sentimental reasons, it’s probably best to throw those expectations out the door as the storyline for Reloaded is more of a re-hashing of the original GoldenEye, rather than a shot-for-shot upgrade. Saying this, there are some notable sequences that you may remember from the game and/or movie; such as the notorious dam jump and taking out the guard who is quietly minding his business on the toilet.

The premise of the game is that you, James Bond, get sent to Russia with your good mate Alec Trevelyan to investigate a chemical weapons facility that maybe supplying weapons to terrorist cells who want to attack British embassies around the World. So, pretty standard 007 plot fodder really. During the game you travel to various locations throughout the World – including Dubai for a weapons exhibition – to try and catch the sneaky Russian General, Ourumov and work out who is behind the Janus crime ring.

While Reloaded is a very different game from the original N64 game, it still carries some of the trade mark ideals that made its predecessor so popular. As a spy you can obviously chose to play out each level as stealthily as possible; using your silenced PPK to take out guards, quietly and methodically, so as to keep with the time honored idea that James Bond is a gentlemanly killer. Of course, seeing as you play the Daniel Craig version of James Bond, the game has very little problem with turning from a stealth based mission to a guns a-blazing, 1 man versus a small army style FPS.

With the gaming engine having been re-tuned for the PS3 and X Box 360 versions, the game play is smooth and inviting. While it tends to look and feel a lot like a Call of Duty game, the stealth missions definitely allow for players to step away from the normalcy of today’s FPSs shooters which aren’t happy unless the soundtrack is drowned out by the constant rattle of a AK-47 and the canned screams of deluded henchmen.

With the single player campaign being quite short but filling with its various mission objectives, and round the World field trip, the added ‘Mi6 OPS Missions’ feel somewhat forced and tedious. While the missions themselves come in various forms – some are offensive, while other require stealth – they are generally just a way of padding the game and making it seem as though you are getting your money’s worth of single player game play. While the environments and game play are of the same standard as the actual story line based game, the ‘Mi6 OPS Missions’ tend to point out the fact that the AI is severely lacking in the ‘intelligence’ part. All in all it seemed like the creators had looked at Modern Warfare 2’s ‘Spec Ops’ campaigns and thought they should have something similar. Unfortunately, while it gave a breath of fresh air to MW 2, it comes over a bit stale in Reloaded.

Like all modern day FPSs, Reloaded comes alive during the multiplayer, and this is where some of you would probably get a bit teary eyed and start singing about the days gone by. From offering the usual all-on-all deathmatch, to retro-ing it up with the a GoldenGun Round, where it’s a one hit kill deathmatch, Reloaded definitely has a golden touch – as the original did – when it comes to multiplayer gaming. With up to 16 player online games, there are sure to be some great times running around the various levels as your favourite Bond villain.

All things considered, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded did a good job of staying away from the various pitfalls that were in plain sight while developing this game. They managed to create a game that doesn’t ride on nostalgia alone by becoming GoldenEye 2.0, and they were able to create a modern day FPS that doesn’t turn its back on its roots, which is, in all fairness, the saving grace of Reloaded – a game that won’t disappoint new and old fans of the 007 franchise.

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