Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy

October 6, 2008

The Bourne Conspiracy follows superspy Jason Bourne as he fights good guys and bad guys alike to reclaim his identity. While based in the Bourne universe, the plot serves only as a backdrop to what this game is really about: Combat. Fisticuffs and third-person shooting are the bread and butter of this game, but just like Jason Bourne himself, hand-to-hand combat is heavily favored.

Using only two buttons for light and heavy attacks and a third for blocking, 3 hit combinations can be strung together to maximize the damage. As simple as that seems, this control scheme provides a great deal of satisfaction due to the addition of an adrenaline gauge that allows you to pull off some very visceral and visually stunning finishing moves. With enough adrenaline built up, these finishers can be used on multiple enemies taking out a small crowd of would-be assassins in a movie-like burst of action.

The frequent boss battles give you ample opportunity to perfect your hand-to-hand skill, allowing you to play around with different combos to find what breaks through your adversaries’ defenses. Here the environments play a greater part of the finishers, as you can steer your enemy up to a brick wall and execute a finisher to knock their head brutally against it. Almost anything is possible, as random items become weapons in the hands of Bourne.

Finishers even play a part in the third-person shooting although with less effective results, as the cinematic of an enemy being shot from a distance doesn’t hold a candle to a good twisted broken arm. Here, standard duck and cover and a slightly sluggish shooting mechanic make gunplay the less desirable aspect of this game; too often you find yourself in a mission where you are faced with gun-toting enemies and not enough cover and the game seems to just slow down. In this case, finishers are excellent for getting rid of enemies so you could move on, but if at all possible you would still opt on running up to the bad guy and automatically force the gun from their hand so you could fight them like a man.

Visually the game strives for a movie-like experience and mostly succeeds, but due to the fact this is a multiplatform release, the PS3 engine never really gets pushed past an average graphic level. The well-executed finishers bring a needed pop to the game that seamlessly blend in with the action, but it is the sound that puts the experience over the top. The sounds of bullets whizzing by and especially the gratifying sound of fist on flesh are so well incorporated that this is one of the best sounding games out there. Every punch and head slam sound brilliant and only heighten the action quality of the fighting sequences.

The Bourne Conspiracy is a detail rich action adventure games that combines an amazing hand-to-hand combat system with a standard third person shooter to obtain mixed results. If you favor shooting over melee then you might look elsewhere for your thrills, but if you like punching the snot out of enemies in new and various ways then you have found something to revel in.

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.