The Bourne Conspiracy

Review

posted 6/26/2008 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: 360
Another big aspect of The Bourne Conspiracy is the "quick time events". Similar to Dragon's Lair, God of War and dozens of other action games, the quick time event is when a button will pop up on the screen and you only have a few seconds to push that button. You won't be able to escape the quick time events in this game; you're constantly having to do it while watching a cinema, fighting off bad guys or using your adrenaline move. Thankfully I didn't find it as daunting as some games, even though this gameplay cliché is starting to get a little played out.

When you're not fighting or running around like a mad man, you're holding back and shooting at anything that moves. Unfortunately this is where The Bourne Conspiracy starts to fall apart. For the most part the shooting mechanic is pretty basic, you aim your tiny little dot at the person you want to shoot and then pull the trigger. But everything about this the gun play feels very stripped down, almost as if this was thrown in at the last second. For example, in most gun games you can zoom in a little to line-up your shot, but not in this game. In The Bourne Conspiracy you have a tiny little dot and the only way to get a closer shot is to run towards the bad guy.

Another problem with the gun mechanic is the slow turning speed. Even when you turn the aiming all the way up, your character's speed leaves something to be desired. Turning around is a real pain, and so is shooting at something that is just to the right or left of you. Thankfully the game assists you as you aim your gun, but it would have been nice to have more control over your character's movements. Couple these problems with a complete lack of gun variety and you have the makings of a real disappointing shooter.

Outside of running, shooting and fighting, you will get to drive a car through the busy streets of Paris. While this is far from the worst car chase sequence in a game, this one level (which is over in only a matter of minutes) just isn't as thrilling as you would hope. The controls of the car aren't up the snuff and there are entirely too many repeated backgrounds to make this feel convincing. The good news is that it's over in a blink of an eye, unfortunately that's not fast enough.


From looking at the pictures below you'll probably notice one thing - that's not Matt Damon. That is indeed true; Matt Damon had no part in the making of this game. Going into this I wondered how attached I would be to Matt's likeness, would I get used to this new Jason Bourne or simply yearn for that talented Ripley boy to smile for the camera. The truth is that I barely missed Matt; this virtual Jason Bourne has the same sort of vibe, only with a different voice and look.

For the most part the graphics are pretty good. They aren't quite as polished as BioShock or Halo 3, but they are full of stylish flourishes here and there. What really sells the game's style is the camera work and the destructible environments, without those I don't think this would be nearly as fun to look at. Even better than the graphics is the music, which sounds like it comes directly from the Bourne movies. The score is fantastic and definitely fits with the mood of the game, especially in the final act. The presentation is certainly a lot better than I expected.

There is one big problem with this game that simply cannot be ignored. I'm of course talking about the length, which clocks in at around five hours. That's right, five short hours. I wouldn't be lying if I said that I literally beat this game in one sitting. Don't get me wrong, the five hours it takes the beat the game is worth it, but it's definitely disappointing to go through an entire $60 game without even getting up to go to the bathroom.

Of course, there is something to be said about having a short and sweet game. I would much rather have 12 stellar levels than 20 mediocre stages. However, The Bourne Conspiracy doesn't have nearly enough reason for you to go back through it. Completists will likely want to go back through it in order to find all of the passports and earn every achievement. But even then you're still looking at 11 to 12 hours, tops. If you're willing to pay the high price for those few hours of enjoyment, then you'll definitely find something exciting (full of back story you didn't get from the movie), but it really comes down to how much it's worth to you.

It's not easy turning a movie spy into a great video game (just ask James Bond), but Sierra Entertainment is on the right track with The Bourne Conspiracy. I like the approach taken here, especially with the added story, great pacing and fantastic combat. With a few more levels and a bit more replay this would have been a must-own, but as it is this is just one of those games you should go through. Maybe it's not worth full price, but The Bourne Conspiracy is definitely worth playing.


B-
It's hard to imagine, but Sierra Entertainment has been able to capture the frantic pace and edge-of-your-seat action of the Bourne movies in this game. The Bourne Conspiracy isn't without a few problems (length, gun mechanics), but it's an exciting ride while it lasts. If you're a fan of the Bourne movies or books then you owe it to yourself to see the full story in this brand new Xbox 360 game!


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