Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Conspiracy announces right away in its title that its main influence comes from the series of books rather than the movies that spawned from them. The virtual incarnation of Jason Bourne also clearly does not resemble Matt Damon, yet the game does not shy away from evoking the distinct feel of the celluloid counterparts.
Conspiracy is designed as a companion piece to both the paper and film versions of the Bourne universe – it has sections that occur both before and after Jason Bourne’s pivotal mission that left him without an identity. It weaves certain recognizable scenes from the movies into its plot, expanding sequences to better fit the videogame medium, but also shoots off in original directions. To ensure that a consistent feel (and hopefully level of quality) is maintained, the screenwriter, fight choreographer, and music composers from the movies have all come on board. From what we’ve seen so far, the game does seem to capture the frenetic pace and visceral action the Bourne series is known for.
While the perspective during gameplay follows the over-the-shoulder so many third-person shooters utilize these days, Conspiracy divides its runtime amongst four distinct “modes.” The most significant mode focuses on hand-to-hand combat. Once Bourne locks onto an opponent, the camera swings around to a side view. The controls are simple on the surface for a casual audience – providing a light attack button, a heavy attack button, and a block. Combos are created by mixing up the two attack types. A player can easily flail away randomly on the two buttons without attempting specific combos, but pure button mashing will quickly lead to failure. Judicious use of the block button is critical, as opponents are savvy enough to block Bourne’s stream of attacks and then counterattack. Repeating the same combo will also allow opponent’s to learn your pattern, so mixing it up should become necessary.
All of the different combos are supposed to produce tactical outcomes, giving the player options to fight intelligently with, however in our time with the game we didn’t see if such play would be needed – we were successful enough just stringing together random light and heavy attacks, although timing with the block button was an absolute must. We overcame multiple foes this way, and defeated a boss, but hopefully more advanced enemies will require tactical use of combos.