Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy PS3 Review

To many Matt Damon is Jason Bourne, although on this gaming adaptation Bourne simply doesn’t look or sound like the actor, although it’s not a poor copy, as he‘s not actually meant to resemble the movie version of the amnesiac with a murky past. You see, if you want to portray the likeness of an actor in your games, in this silly world we live in, you have to purchase the rights to use their overly expensive faces and get their permission to do so. Sierra either failed on one or the other, or perhaps they didn’t even attempt to get Damon’s likeness and voice, the Bourne series did begin with a trilogy of books from the late Robert Ludlum after all.

Anyway, it shouldn’t really matter if the game is more authentic to the book or film, surely what matters is how the game actually plays? Spread the word to all those silly people who buy games just because you can take control of virtual characters who look like real life actors, I just know that The Bourne Conspiracy (which is basically the game version of The Bourne Identity) would have sold better if Matt Damon had been included.

With or without Matt Damon The Bourne Conspiracy is a solid cinematic experience that obviously looks up to the films more than it does the books.

Those wanting an authentic experience that matches up to the aggressive fighting seen in the films will be glad to learn that Jeff Imada, the fight coordinator of the Bourne trilogy, was also involved in translating the action to the game. The fighting involves a basic two button combo system and regardless of the number of nearby enemies, you’ll be dispatching them one by one, with occasional cheap shots coming from those waiting on the sidelines. The combat isn’t just about basic combo flurries though, as it’s also possible to pull off cinematic finishing moves. These aptly titled takedown moves will have some wincing as Bourne smashes heads against hard objects, snaps arms and legs, puts bodies through tables, and uses the enemies own weapons against them. These are only a few examples of course, there’s many other painful methods – that flesh and blood bodies just aren‘t built to endure – included. There’s so many ways to make use of the surrounding environment that I always looked at the background objects as more than mere screen furniture, instead I was asking myself questions, such as what will happen when I press the takedown button here? Will this object truly teach him the lesson that he deserves? I simply never found myself getting bored with all the body ruining action, not forgetting to mention that during these fast paced moments the camera is very Bourne-like and the animations are as wonderful as smashing bodies into walls and ramming heads into drinks machines could possibly get.

On the subject of the camera, why oh why does it hover above Bourne and his opponent at times? One moment the camera is close to the two the next it seems to be coming from a dangerously low flying helicopter. It doesn’t happen over and over again and the camera can be adjusted, although it happened enough for me to negatively sprout off about it on this very page.

The Bourne Conspiracy isn’t only a fighting game, but rather it’s also a very capable shooter. Aiming is of the over the shoulder kind and I certainly didn’t have any major problems lining up shots, there is a touch of auto-aim when making use of Bourne’s superior instincts, which also slows down time a little, highlights enemies as well as your objectives on your radar. Returning to the shooting mechanics, we’ve all come to expect a cover system by now, and whilst the game does a minimalist job with said feature, it works, it’s helpful, and taking cover in the right places means that you won’t die all the time. It’s as basic as cover systems come: blind fire isn’t even an option, although as shooting blindly allows for amazing Robocop like precision in many games, I’m not really complaining about its absence here.

Enemies have a decent level of intelligence and make good use of surrounding objects for cover. When they think they are safe from the 30 million dollar weapon (buying your own Bourne is probably out of your price range), firing at and destroying their cover or hitting something nearby with a bullet or two will lure the enemies out as they stumble in fright, which not only looks great, but is also a good choice tactic to dispatch of them. This may be a rather small touch, although as the game is fighting, shooting and driving all in one, High Moon Studios could have quite easily ignored such things.

The fighting and shooting have been combined successfully to assure that Bourne lives up to The 30 Million Dollar Weapon moniker. You can be shooting happily away in one instance and then facing enemies with your bare, but expensive, knuckles in the next, and as the transition from one to the other is so smooth it’s fantastically satisfying to behold. This silkiness is also present for the transition between generic fighting animations, the more physically painful takedowns as well as the running instant takedowns, which allows Bourne to run towards an enemy and take them out and then continue his run with little pause for breath.

Yes as mentioned earlier, there’ s driving as well, not a whole lot of it throughout the game, but there is a rather lengthy chase section involving a mini through the streets of Paris. The driving is decent enough, although I’m just glad that it mercifully has been kept to the one section, as it feels a bit too bolted on for my liking. There’s some big jumps, windows get smashed, you might crash into civilian vehicles or police cars and you can also use Bourne’s superhuman like instinct to slow down time to make turns or to avoid tangling your mini up with other vehicles. That’s all good stuff, but it’s shown up by the quality of the rest of the game, and if the driving was sold as a game itself I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it, unless it dropped to a really small and tempting price.

When you aren’t fighting, shooting or driving you may be watching cut-scenes complete with button prompts, so don’t get careless by putting the pad down thinking you have become a mere spectator during these interactive moments.

The Bourne Conspiracy may make quite a mess of the story, and it isn’t anything special to look at, although it’s a thrilling and high energy game with some great set pieces. It does shooting and physical man-on-man combat very well and is as authentic of a Bourne experience that you are going to get.

The only thing missing is Matt Damon.