Form feet and legs. Form arms and body.

And I’ll form the head.

Review: The Bourne Conspiracy (Xbox 360)

Posted by rapaleeman on June 17, 2008

There are certain games out there that play like movies.  Metal Gear Solid 4 which I’m playing now does that the same with games like Parasite Eve, Indigo Prophecy, and Red Faction.  Now some of these have more gameplay than others and even offer deeper, better stories than a typical summer blockbuster. 

The Bourne Identity (which is essentially this game, not sure why the call it Conspiracy) was a great movie that had a great plot, terrific acting, and great action.  Well, if you wanted a game version of that movie minus Matt Damon, but with a ton more action then you picked the right game.

The Bourne Conspiracy for the Xbox 360 follows the plot of The Bourne Identity movie pretty closely, but expanding on the backstory and flashbacks from the books.  What follows is a great mix of fisticuffs, shooting, and a small driving section combined with a very coherent, if not by the numbers, story. 

I’m not going to give away the story, though if you’ve seen the movie (and you should have by now) then you know what’s up.  The game has three sections as mentioned previously and despite the driving sections being weak, the game is a great package.

The first thing is the fisticuffs, or hand-to-hand combat.  There are a few areas that force you into this mode (the boss fights) but generally you are free to do what you will when it comes to either shooting or fighting.  If you choose to fight, then you are treated to the reason why you should buy this game.

The camera shifts to a close up view and you proceed to own your opponent(s).  You can fight up to 4 people at once at any given point.  You have 2 attack buttons, but are free to mix and match for combos, or hold one for a powerfull kick (which is vital on the higher difficulties).  Though the move set is slim, you can’t rely on one combo and the AI does a good job of defending itself, especially during the boss fights.  This would be a problem if the combos sucked, but fortunately they don’t.  Each one is a brutal dance of pain.  The characters (yours included) have faces that deform to hits and the damage on some of the baddies after your done with them is pretty brutal and very convincing. 

This works because both the camera and sound effects work in tandem.  This leads me to the takedowns.  As you attack/defend you get adrenaline.  Once you get enough, you can do a takedown.  Get enough adrenaline and you can take down three people at once.  They look great and really convincing.  Though limited, there are enough animations that you don’t start recognizing them til the second play through.  The boss fights rely on the takedown for 2 reasons.  For one, this is the only way to inflict serious damage.  Second it is a way to get a little health back.

The shooting portions aren’t great since it takes way too many bullets to take out a baddy if you don’t hit them in the head.  Besides that and the really small aiming sight, they work reasonably well.  The camera isn’t too bad.  I’ve seen worse.  The takedowns work here too.  You trigger a shooting takedown and see a cool clip of Bourne dropping a baddy.  It’s cool and can slow down a firefight if things get hot.

The driving doesn’t fair too well.  The section is pretty long (it’s a Mini chase scene in case you were wondering) but thankfully it is the only one.  It’s not terrible, just doesn’t seem as polished as some of the other portions of the game.

Speaking of polish, when your CG videos look WORSE than the realtime videos (complete with Shenmue style QTE events) then you need some better video compression and animators.  The CGI is terrible.  Grainy, ugly, and washed out.  Thankfully the realtime cutscenes look great and show off an impressive amount of detail thanks to the Unreal engine.  Plus you don’t see the typical swapping of textures thanks to the smaller environments. 

Bourne looks good.  Not Matt Damon, but good.  The bad guys, who repeat a little too often all look good and detailed.  The animations are on the whole great with only a few transitions seemingly out of place.  Mostly fluid.

The audio is good as well.  The score and music fit in and the voice acting.  Let’s just is great.  Not sure if these are pros or some random people off the street but they are good.  All the characters work and fit.

The biggest thing going for the game is the pace.  Once the game starts, it doesn’t really stop.  Non-stop action and Quick Time Event cutscenes (think God of War or RE4 and you’ll get the idea) keep you on your toes and it makes seem more interactive than it really is.  Normally I think they’re stupid, but it works here since QTEs pop up all over the place.  In the movies, boss fights, during takedowns.  It just seems fluid and well done.  Not to mention the camera angles and style this game has is just immense.

Other than the driving a few minor complaints, The Bourne Conspiracy is an awesome game while it lasts.  It is a tad short and I got through it in about 5 hours the first time.  A little less the second time.  I wanted to play it again once I was finished and I felt ultimately satisfied.  Definately pick this up if you need a Bourne fix, or just want a great action movie experience.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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