It is time to kick, punch, lunge, smack, pulverise and chop your way through some of the most linear missions ever invented… For a chap who doesn’t remember anything, it is delightful you haven’t lost your ability to kick serious backside and in The Bourne Conspiracy, you can do just that with a dabble of shooting thrown in for good measure.
I am sure you don’t need to be reminded by me that movie tie-ins can be some of the worst titles to grace our gaming systems, but I am pleased to say that this romp actually raises the bar a little compared to the rest of the movie dross out there, even though there is one pretty major problem right from the off…
As you have probably already read, you don’t actually control the likeness of Matt Damon, but rather a born again dull generic version. Not the best start when you consider the requirement to identify with the films, so like Jason Bourne you will need to forget this segment as if it never happened and move along and enjoy the ride without this particular thrill.
Although the character is about as exciting as beans on toast, you can still spread yourself too thinly with your abilities. When you are too close to an enemy, you will be locked into a fighting sequence. Jason Bourne, the killing machine, can punch, kick and block with light and heavy degrees of power. The heavy moves though will take more time to activate, leaving you vulnerable to attacks. There are also the obligatory combos you can experiment with to find what works best, especially useful if your enemy is adapting to your tactics, which believe me they will! There are a fair few variations, but if you are not careful, you will slip into button bashing mode, which works incredibly and also disappointingly well. Don’t get too comfortable though, as it is possible to be in the middle of a fight with a few opponents. Thankfully though, you only have to tackle one at a time with the odd random button press highlighted on screen to counter-attack any of the other little so and so’s surrounding you.
Once you have prodded your enemy enough times, you can hit ‘B’ on the controller to invoke an adrenaline filled take down on which ever poor sap you are fighting. In spectacular fashion, Bourne will land a few hurtful wallops and depending on the surroundings, will even use those to inflict maximum bruising. If you are not locked into a fight, you can also activate a running take down for the quick and easy defeat of your foe and if you are in a gun battle, even trigger a pin-point one shot kill.
Then to top all this insane brain busting action, there are then the boss fights. These bad boys don’t take no for answer and will suffer many take down sequences before finally collapsing to the ground (or worse!).
Unfortunately this title also uses one of the most cheap tactics in adding adrenaline sequences. Can you guess what it is yet? Timed based missions and boss fights… For the boss fights this will no doubt encourage you to button bash your way out of trouble, however for the missions, you will need to run the risk of running out into the open. I really detest games with timers, especially when they are used to this degree.
The weaponry system actually works quite well although suffers from silly school boy failures. The aiming can be a little frustrating and button presses don’t always react quickly enough when taking cover or appearing from cover to take a shot. It really is a poor man’s Gears of War in this respect, but hey it does the job… barely.
The story concentrates on the first movie, The Bourne Identity, while also hopping back via flashbacks to cover missions that never feature in any of the films. This creates a sense of hidden history finally being revealed to us and in a fun interactive gaming form. The movie cut-scenes are horribly grainy and although this was more than likely an attempt to add some atmosphere, it feels like high definition is non-existent. All the characters are disappointingly boring and the generic tone set throughout the game suffers greatly to this loss. Skipping cut-scenes isn’t really a bad thing to consider, which is a shame as it could have added to the entire movie series by filling in some gaps.
Using the Unreal 3 engine, Bourne graphically pleases overall, however doesn’t take the final leap to excel either. The driving section in particular has a bizarre Gears of War identity replaced with different surroundings, a fate that this engine seems to bestow on most titles using it. Although uninteresting, the characters look the part and fit in with the world, just not excitingly so.
The music is more impressive and gives the game a needed lift adding to the intensity, if again a little repetitive. Character voices offer enough to get you through the quiet parts of the title, but I lost interest right from the beginning thanks to the lack of complete faithfulness to the likenesses.
The Bourne Conspiracy is just like a roller-coaster, full of thrills but never leaving the singular route dictated to by the tracks. Full of movie-like gloss and action, you will no doubt experience a rewarding journey of discovery and pain as Jason Bourne pits his wits and fighting skills against an unforgivable bunch of dodgy villains hell bent on giving you a slap or two for your troubles.
Sadly the game isn’t as spectacular as I was hoping and the repetitiveness will soon set in during your first trek through the levels providing very little replay value, however while it lasts, you will no doubt love whacking people time and time again with a few sequences, while also testing your timing and even driving skills.
For what it is, I loved most of the Bourne Conspiracy as it captures the sense of action provided by Hollywood, just don’t expect to feel the urge to go through it all again though therefore a recommended rental at most.