Review: The Bourne Conspiracy

Emily Balistrieri | 10 Jul 2008 17:00
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Headshots are also satisfying, but the shooting system has some superficial flaws that probably shouldn't have escaped QA. At first I was worried my controller was breaking, but the problems were quite consistent. None of it is game-breaking, luckily - that would've been tragic - but they are still annoyances in an otherwise solid system. Pausing and unpausing causes your gun to fire, which is especially awful in the case of a semi-automatic, since it'll squeeze off about ten bullets. Crouching voids this, somehow. Then, if you die and have to restart, each of the triggers (L for popping out of cover and R for actually shooting) needs a warm-up pull for some reason. That's easy enough to do if you're aware of it, but I'm still not sure why it's there.

I get the impression High Moon focused more on AI than the way enemies react when being shot - sometimes they don't even flinch, but other times they sort of trip and scramble for cover - which seems like an effective strategy. After all, a guy's decision to rush you or hide behind a fountain affects your game more than whether he notices how full of bullets he is.

It's past cliché now to say that action games always seem to have a driving level, but Bourne's seems to have been given a lot of attention. It really is just one level zooming around Paris in a Mini Cooper, but the steering is tight and it's great fun to go crashing through alleys and courtyards on the run from the police while your girlfriend gets more and more alarmed. There did seem to be another controller hiccup at the beginning of segments where you had to accelerate from a standstill, but once again it was thankfully easy to overcome.

Bottom Line: Whether you're sneaking along the docks of Marseilles, infiltrating a museum, or securing a country house, this game looks and plays well, for the most part. Its biggest weakness might be its constant use of quick-time events, which many players find bothersome.

Recommendation: Try it. Bourne delivers enough fun to make it worth owning, but it's short enough to beat on a weekend rental. Besides, not everyone is willing to deal with quick-time events.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Emily Balistrieri is a freelance writer who likes puppies and curry (though not at the same time), and studies kanji while waiting for the bus.

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