Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy - Xbox 360
So you've read the books, watched the movie and now it's time to play the video game, but is this yet another movie tie-in (groan) or something you should look into?
Coming a little under a year after the last Bourne outing, the first thing to say about The Bourne Conspiracy is that you can tell it has not been rushed out to meet a cinema release date.
With that in mind you get a tough but short-lived game that is loosely based on the first film - The Bourne Identity released in 2002, which fans will know was loosely based on the Robert Ludlum book published in 1980.
The events therefore surround the film, but not completely follow them scene by scene instead taking key elements to bring you a video game that actually works rather than being a series of cutscenes connected by formulaic action that we so often see.
The game starts before the film and you've got to take out the usual array of bad guys as you learn your identity while dipping in and out of the Bourne Identity storyline.
Starting with a bang and not really easing up throughout the game, missions flow through the levels with cutscenes taking a back seat to the action. That's not to say cutscenes aren't used, but they are so well integrated into the mix that by the time you notice that you've switched into one your back out the other end trying to stay alive.
As with the films, the focus is on Bourne being the weapon rather than an arsenal of weapons and this means that you will only ever be able to carry two weapons at any time, but that you're ammo is restricted, for example, a maximum of 45 rounds for the pistol.
Instead, it is all about fists and feet as you punch and kick your way through the enemy and you'll be tested right from the beginning. No sooner have you started than you are in your first boss fight, aping the fight sequence in with Desh in The Bourne Ultimatum, in Morocco.
The fighting mechanism (which does require you to block to have any chance) relies on you performing a series of attacks to gain adrenaline; gain enough and you can do a takedown move which renders your opponent out of action. The bosses requiring a series of takedowns to actually defeat them and the takedowns are beautifully choreographed just like the movies.
As the game progresses you get behind the wheel to complete the Paris car chase although this isn't till much later in the game – it’s fighting not driving that is core here.
There are three difficult levels to master: Trainee, Agent and Assassin, with the Agent giving the average gamer (i.e., us) a fairly decent challenge. You can swap between the difficulty settings as you wish, rather than having to stick all the way through - great if you get stuck on a harder level.
As for graphics and audio, it's usual Xbox 360 fare – i.e., good with scenery and landscapes looking the part, however due to creative differences (supposedly) you won't have to look at Matt Damon's face. You will though get to hear other actors connected with the films.
VerdictWhile there are some dodgy camera angles occasionally, if you are a fan of the movies this will let you relive the action.
The focus on Bourne and his hand-to-hand combat rather than just another guns-blazing shooter is what makes this game. The only catch is that it's a touch on the short side.
For once a movie tie-in that is worth taking a closer look at.