We are a bit puzzled. Here we have one of the world's biggest movie franchises three movies strong (with a fourth rumored to be in production), one of the biggest stars in the world, and an almost perfect action story, but until now we didn't see a game. It's hard to see why Vivendi chose not to capitalize on the series until recently but we finally have the game of the Robert Ludlum Bourne story. This perhaps is the first time that a movie studio and game publisher have chosen not to cash in until it seemed the right time. It was clear from the outset that this was not going to be your typical movie licensed game, i.e. shockingly bad, as The Bourne Conspiracy as you would expect is as action packed as the film, but there are a few quirks which keep it from must own territory.
It is in some ways hard to see where the game fits in with the story. The first thing to note is that this is not a culmination of all three movies; it is based on the original movie and book. Where the gray areas start to show is that some areas go with the film while other areas go with the book. While this is not a problem, itdoes make us wonder why they didn't just stick with one or the other. For those who don't know, Jason Bourne is a living twenty million dollar weapon. Trained by the US intelligence agencies to be a top spy, he suffers a knock to the head while on assignment and loses all memory. From then it is a fight to find out who he really is and was, while the US forces who created him, try to kill him. That really is all there is to it with the game and movies focusing much more on action than story development.
If there was one area the game would have to get right it would be the action sequences and there are no doubts the developers put a lot of thought as to how it would all work. Primarily, Bourne's weapon is hand to hand combat where he is brutal, but scattered throughout the game you will come across weapons which can be used.
The game flits between hand to hand action combat and third person shooter regularly. If you get close enough to an enemy with a gun, Bourne will disarm the enemy and engage in hand to hand combat. So really the game comes down to running, shooting, hand to hand combat and a slight bit of puzzle solving. However it does so in a way which is somewhat interesting. Sometimes you will be stuck in a courtyard surrounded by enemies plotting your escape, whilst others running from tanks. The action never lets up in the game and that is by far its biggest strength.
There are two things which stand out in the game play. The first is takedowns. Once you have accumulated enough adrenalin you can perform take downs on enemies. Most are environmental. For instance Jason will slam an enemy character into a sink or bookshelf based on the surroundings. As with the casual nature of games these days, this does not require a button combination, instead a quick movement at the right time will have Jason finishing an enemy off. The other standout is the Bourne sense. Going back to Jason's training, the Bourne sense allows you to see where objectives are, enemies are and any special objects in the world that may need interacting. This may sound like it makes the game a walk in the park, and to be honest in the lowest difficulty it does. However, in the higher difficulties, this costs you adrenaline and it is that adrenaline which is used to take down enemy characters, especially during the many boss fights you will encounter.