Game Review: The Bourne Conspiracy


Vivendi Games/Sierra Entertainment


PS3, Xbox – tested on PS3Release Date: June 3, 2008

Rating: C+

It does not exactly matter who Jason Bourne is,

because in Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne

Conspiracy, you get to play the storied amnesia patient. While the PS3

game’s action and gameplay is pretty good, it's just not an unforgettable


The game play is straightforward. Punches vary

from (heavy) big swings to (light) jabs with combinations possible, as well as

kicks when the buttons are held down. 

You can run, but forget about a jump button.

Overall the controls are easy to get a handle on.

Thus, the espionage elements make for fun play via ducking behind cover,

shooting targets with silenced guns and trying to make it alive out of

situations where you are vastly outnumbered.

Players can choose to play the game as a “Trainee”

(beginner), “Agent” (you can handle yourself), Assassin (play reckless and you

will die, quickly and often).

The game’s story arc is easy to follow, especially

if you are already a fan of the films. Jason Bourne—a living weapon who can

kick your ass with a pen, if need be—has lost his memory, and is on a mission

to find out who he is.

The virtual world Bourne makes his way through

(docks, Paris streets, country estates, etc) is nicely rendered, but interaction

with the landscape is kept to a minimum. You can’t duck behind say a random

counter in a bar, or pick up object to hurl at enemies or even scales walls -

unless the game specifically allows you to in that particular instance.

Therefore the game is highly linear, a quick get in and get out.

Since the game uses a good chunk of the first Bourne film as its premise and nothing

of any of the others, you can’t help but wonder what if they had used the

entire franchise. The game has its challenging moments, and a decent checkpoint

system that does a good job of preventing frustration when you get near a

section’s end and end up dead, and don’t have to start all over from the


On the down side, the game can be completed in a

weekend—or maybe a day if you’re really focused on getting it in. Elements like

a passport system, were finding enough of the aforementioned unlocks hidden

extras/bonus features than can lead to added replay value.

When it comes to guns (you can carry two different

kinds at a time) there is no detail much beyond some having silencers and

others not. You’d think Jason Bourne would have a vast and intricate arsenal of

weaponry he would be capable of using. No such luck. Bourne’s bread and butter

in the films is hand to hand combat, but that lack of gameplay control is also

evident in the videogames “take downs.”

Though they look good, especially when Bourne cracks a foe’s leg or drives their head into a solid object, like a wall, the player does little beyond pushing the correct button after it flashes on screen.

But all this is small change when compared to the

games most blatant flaw. Grand Turismo,

or even Grand Theft Auto III, this is

not - because the driving aspect of the game is wack, at best.

Pushing a Mini Cooper through the streets of Paris

isn’t so bad, except for the fact that for a game that prides itself on realism,

the car’s movements resemble more Keystone Cops than International Espionage.

The driving controls are awkward, and even though it’s a video game, no Mini

Cooper could ever take the beating it inevitable takes.

James Bond ain’t got nothing on Jason Bourne; he’s

an updated hero with plenty of story to explore (the game does flesh out some

backstory via playable flashbacks, which makes for some excellent levels). But

when it comes to the expectations heaped on it via the mere mention of the

game’s protagonist, Robert Ludlum’s The

Bourne Conspiracy just doesn’t live up to its potential.