The Bourne RepetitionThe Bourne Conspiracy
is essentially a third person shooter, with elements of a beat-em-up thrown in on top of that, and Jason Bourne has only ever really got two actions at his disposal – shoot or punch, each of which plays a little differently.
While shooting is pretty much entirely as you’d expect, right down to the camera angles and choice of weapons, the melee is both a little more interesting yet a little more annoying. When you get close to enemies you automatically slip into brawl mode, using the X and Y keys to punch and kick your way through.
The gameplay is then again made a little more interesting by the ability to do ‘takedowns’ by storing up on adrenaline, which you gain from winning battles. Bourne can do both shooting takedowns (quicktime event instakills) and melee takedowns (automatic instakills) on up to three enemies at a time, depending on how much adrenaline he’s stored up.
…and unfortunately, that’s really all there is to The Bourne Conspiracy
. The game basically becomes a repetitive set of fights against non-descript enemies. If you’re close to a baddie then you go into a fistfight straight away and can’t easily get out. If you’re far away then you have a quick shootout.
The only variation is when you get in a fistfight with someone up close, but an enemy further away is still shooting at you. In those cases you may as well get a little bit closer to the screen – it’ll make it that much easier to kiss Jason’s arse goodbye.
The melee takedowns definitely make the fighting a lot more interesting and there’s a lot of different variations to find, but sooner or later you’ll still reach the point where it just isn’t fun anymore. Usually around the end of the third level.
You’ll also find yourself questioning the approach the game has taken in presenting Bourne’s prowess too. The way I remember Jason Bourne is as a super-spy who was fast and lethal and always with a plan.
The way Sierra has presented him is as a mass-murdering and gravelly voiced generic-oman who’s more like Niko Bellic than James Bond. Sierra’s Bourne slaughters hundreds in the first level, eschewing his stealthy approach almost immediately and puncturing the entire game with plot holes, feebly patched over.
As a result, the game really does owe an awful lot more to a super-generic recreation of Max Payne
than the fast and cinematic Splinter Cell
you might have hoped for.
Which isn’t to say that the game is really bad, because it isn’t – it still stands ahead of other movie tie-ins. The gameplay is solid nearly all the way through and if you like your games as more gun than run then there’s an awful lot to like in The Bourne Conspiracy
. It is a shame though to see a franchise with so much potential being reduced to little more than a samey corridor shooter littered with anti-immersive and all too easy quicktime events.
ConclusionsThe Bourne Conspiracy
is, admittedly, a bit of a letdown. There was so much that Sierra could have done to make the sneaking more prevalent and the combat more involving, but instead they’ve gone down the route of stupid ‘Instinct’ abilities and massive body counts.
Still, the game isn’t awful and that really does need to be said. The combat is solid, if incredibly repetitive, and The Bourne Conspiracy
does at least manage to avoid the usual traps and pitfalls of other game-movie adaptations; the budget was obviously high enough to get an OK graphics engine and some decent voice actors
Solid as the game is on paper though, it still suffers from some serious issues in terms of repetition. There are two or three interesting game mechanics that are fun the first few times you do them, forgiveable when you start relying on them and then finally lamentable when you realise that that is
Takedown after takedown, the game slowly loses its charms the longer you play until it finally falls down for the last time. With no multiplayer afterwards to prolong or revive interest, The Bourne Conspiracy
is like Bourne himself – adrift and without an identity to call its own.