Bourne Conspiracy, The (360) Reviews

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Bourne Conspiracy, The (360)

By: Rex Inego | Jul 22, 2008 02:30 PM

In the videogame world, the dreaded movie licenseђ game is often associated with negativity and, considering the amount of terrible games that have spawned from popular films, its easy to see why. However, there are a select few that succeed in providing great fun whilst also capturing the essence of the movie theyҒre based upon. The list of these games is pretty small but High Moon Studios has managed to craft a well-presented action title that recreates the thrills of being Jason Bourne rather well. The list just grew.

Although the game is based upon the Bourne series, it doesnt simply re-tell the story in the form a videogame. Instead, The Bourne Conspiracy could be considered a new entry into the story that takes place during the same time as the first movie. Using a series of flashbacks and a few present-day scenes from Bourne Identity, this game fleshes out Jason BourneҒs character through a variety of missions in which you must punch, kick and shoot your way from one end of the level to the other to be presented with a pre-rendered FMV at its conclusion. Initially, the whole idea of mixing present day events with flashbacks makes the story rather confusing but by the end it fleshes out and should satisfy the fans.

To truly capture the feeling of being Jason Bourne the developers have explored the two main types of gameplay that are common to most games of this ilk: shooting and fighting. Although these features wouldnt hold up on their own, they combine in The Bourne Conspiracy to create a game which is capable of holding your attention throughout its short duration with its blend of tense shoot-outs, trick-laden fights and exciting vehicle escapes.


Yes, there's a driving section. It's pretty decent, actually.

Out of the two, it is the shooting that will prove to be the most discordant. Jason can only carry two weapons at a time, a main weapon and a sub-weapon, and the choice is very limited. Thankfully, ammunition is far from scarce considering the amount of enemies the game has you mow down, but a wider variety of weapons wouldnҒt have gone amiss. Employing a similar system to Gears of War, a simple tap of the button sees Jason quickly taking cover whilst holding the left trigger will have him peak out to take aim and fire. Unlike Gears, however, the cover that you (or your enemies) are hiding behind can be destroyed which means that you always have to be ready to move to a new place.

This is where things become divisive. On the one hand the gunfights can be tense as the environment crumbles around you whilst you spray bullets into your enemies. On the other hand it can be hugely frustrating due to the sticky movement controls and the slow, sluggish aiming on the right stick. The AI certainly isnt stupid and your foes can sometimes try to change their positions to get better shots at you, something which would be fine if JasonҒs controls made it easier to change cover. Jason cant swap from cover-to-cover as in Gears of War and, since the movement is sluggish, it becomes a chore to bring him off the cover point, turn him around and attach him to a new piece of cover. To compensate for this, the game features a subtle-yet-noticeable auto-aim feature and also an ability known as Bourne Instinct. When activated the enemies become highlighted for easier targeting and room exits also become apparent to prevent you from getting lost. These counter-balances help to alleviate the problems but with tighter controls the shooting sections would certainly be less grating.


Being Bourne, there is a little stealth involved.

By contrast, hand-to-hand combat is both simple and largely frustration-free. Using one button to perform a light attack and one for a heavy attack, the two can be used together to create different combos of varying speeds and damage power. The amount of combos on offer is relatively small, blocking requires a simple hold of the button and it is only possible to attack one enemy at a time using standard combos. On its own, the fighting system would be too weak to be satisfying but, thankfully, a Takedown system is in place to add necessary spice to the fighting mechanics.

The Takedown system in Bourne Conspiracy is what separates it from the rest of similar movie games and is also what brings it closer to its film counterpart. Landing successful hits on enemies fills up the Takedown meter and, when filled up, the gameҒs HUD informs you that a Takedown is available to use. They can be activated when both fighting and shooting but the former is much more gratifying as Jason performs complex, painful manoeuvres on his current target, instantly taking them down. The interesting thing about them is that theyre nearly always environment-based; the stage becomes your weapon. Activating a Takedown near objects will usually see Jason kick, punch and slam his enemy through them, or use said object as a weapon. ItҒs very rare to see repeats of these stylish finishers, especially when its possible to stab fountain pens through the hands of your enemies or smash their heads through museum statues. The possibilities for creating dramatic carnage are almost limitless through the use of Takedown moves, ensuring that even a fighting system as simple as this is kept fresh and exciting.

There are three levels of Takedown manoeuvres available and each corresponds to the amount of enemies the move will affect. With all three levels filled Jason will perform incredibly stylish kicks, flips and tricks that will take out three enemies at once, although doing Takedowns on numerous enemies requires you to pass a small quick-time event. The game also utilises QTEs for its cut-scenes, ensuring that you never take your hands off the controller. Although these events are very frequent they donҒt often feel out-of-place or inappropriate, especially considering their context.


The environment is your best weapon.

The presentation of the game is equally as appropriate. The graphics are highly-detailed and the soundtrack is well-placed, providing a very cinematic experience when coupled with the QTEs. The level design in particular is truly outstanding as the game provides huge, detailed levels ranging from embassy buildings to museums and each location is packed with features that not only add detail but also fodder for Takedowns.

The only major complaint that can be made about game is one of disappointment that stems from what could have been possible had a few areas been explored a little further. Sure, there are various annoyances like the inability to change targets and the occasional camera issue, but both are irrelevant to the experience of what is there and what could have been there. As things stand The Bourne Conspiracy is a good game that does its movie license a lot of justice. But with a little more depth and precision to the shooting sections they wouldnt feel like such an obstacle that gets in the way of the superior fighting segments - they would have turned a good game into an even better one.

Pros: - Captures the feeling of the films wonderfully. - Takedowns are thrilling to watch. - Checkpoints are generous. - QTEs don't feel out-of-place. - Graphically superb.

cons: - Shooting should have been better. - The camera feels a little clunky. - Reasonably short lifespan. - Various frustrations.

conclusion: Overall, The Bourne Conspiracy is an action-packed experience that achieves its purpose of capturing the essence of its subject matter and both fans and non-fans alike can find moments of joy. The former category of players will adore the game whilst the latter will enjoy it, knowing it could have been even better.

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