The Bourne Conspiracy Review

With every passing year, videogames get closer to the fine line between fantasy and reality, and crossing that line changes the basic perspective of the medium. Is it still a videogame, or more of a visual experience? The Bourne Conspiracy doesn’t cross this line, but it’s as close to the movie and book counterpart as it can possibly get. That being said, movie-based videogames tend to veer off the popularity of the movie, and go straight to the bargain bin — or sometimes even the trash bin. How can you mess up a game based on the Iron Man movie, even with such a badass as Iron Man being the main controlled protagonist? I’m not blaming the developers because I don’t believe there is any development team out there trying to make a bad game. One of the leading factors of such horrible production is that the game needs to be finished and on the shelves by the time the movie is out, which hinders the team immensely. Let me tell you this one thing, The Bourne Conspiracy is not one of these games, and here is why.

If you are a fan of the Bourne movies or books, then this game is for you. This whole game is a fan service for those types of players and I am telling you this from the beginning. I’m not saying those of us who haven’t seen the movie will get less out of the game, but you will appreciate the game a bit more if you have watched the films. Players familiar with the movies will be especially delighted to find themselves reliving most of the exciting scenes, except you are controlling Jason Bourne, the 35 million dollar machine. The game does a good job in putting you in the action from various scenes that span all three movies. The presentation is superb, with cut scenes leading straight into gameplay, and story arcs that give you a little taste of why you are doing what you are doing. High Moon Studios did a great job at creating what seems to be direct replicas of buildings, hallways, boats, streets and even car chases straight out of the movies. If it was the developers idea to engulf you in the Bourne experience, they did a damn good job.

So besides it being true to the movies and books, how does the game actually play out? Well, how can the developers justify a true Bourne experience without the action that exemplifies the series. The combat is basically broken down in two sections: hand to hand combat and gunfights. Hand to hand combat is overly simple and yet maintains a fun, never boring experience. You have three button functions, light hit, heavy hit and block. Hold down any of the two hit buttons and you perform different kicks. Whenever you manage to successfully hit an enemy you build up your takedown bar. Strike enough hits and you’ll be able to perform a takedown. Takedowns are really what makes the combat fun and fresh. All you do to perform a takedown is to have our gauge filled to a certain point and a single button press. When you initiate the sequence, the fight all of a sudden turns into a mini movie, where the camera takes over, moving around and focusing on your fist to face contact points. It becomes a KO kill for regular enemies, but bosses will need multiple takedowns to kill them. The best part of takedowns are that they take advantage of your surroundings. For example, you’re fighting an enemy on the rooftop, as you perform the take down you punch the enemy in the nose, grab his arm, crack it, and hurl him into the air conditioner. Now replace the air conditioner with a window, bookcase, table, fireplace, crane and many other destructible objects and you got yourself some fun sequences. Speaking of destructible objects, the game does a good job of changing the environment due to circumstances. Pages fly off books if shot at, marble chips off, crates used for over are now blown away, cars explode etc.

If you’re not mercilessly beating enemies in the face, you are a gun totting killing machine. Gun combat is a mix of Gears of War and Dark Sector. They both use a similar run and cover system, probably because all three games were built on the Unreal engine. Here is a quick scenario of what you can expect to see in a battle.

Running down the street with you shotgun in hand you quickly take cover behind a crate. Using your Bourne Instinct, you can pinpoint any enemies or objects of interest, such as fuel barrels. You pop out of cover and manage to shoot a nearby enemy, however you cover is blown and an enemy mahine gunner is breaking apart what you once called your cover. You then run quickly behind a large statue and grab the enemy, breaking his neck and using him as a shield to cover yourself from enemy fire (your takedown maneuver). You quickly re-enter the gun fight and use a ranged takedown to take care of the pesky enemy hiding in the balcony. The point I am trying to make is that this game doesn’t take any breaks. The Bourne Conspiracy is one adrenaline pumping fight after another.

Graphically the game looks pretty good, however during some parts of the game it can’t seem to keep the same graphical style as the rest. At one point some characters’ faces look detailed and fleshed out, while other times they look blocky and unrealistic. By no means does this look like a MGS4 or Ninja Gaiden 2, but the graphics are not a sour point and fit well with the environment. Finally seeing destructable environments used to such a strong degree in a game is a definite welcome.

One of the real downsides of the game is its length. The game clocks in at about 5 to 6 hours, perhaps an hour or two longer if you play on the hardest difficulty. There is no multiplayer and only a handful of extras you can do with your second playthrough such as collecting all of the passports randomly placed in the level. The camera can get a bit stiff, and aiming will take a bit to get used to, but overall its many pros outweight its few flaws. Having barely any replay value makes me wonder if this game warrants the $60 price tag, which is why I would say renting it is a must for fans of fast paced non-stop action and the Bourne series. Buying it, on the other hand, might be a bit much.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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