Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy - hands-on

The big selling point of the martial combat in Conspiracy is the ability to use takedowns. Picture the scenes in the movies where Bourne utilizes objects in the environment to put enemies in a world of hurt and you get the idea. Successfully landing normal attacks builds Bourne’s adrenaline meter, which has three tiers. Once you reach the first tier you can perform a takedown. Facing a single opponent, it’s easy to reach the first tier in a matter of seconds, meaning each encounter escalates to a spectacular finishing move very quickly. takedowns can involve various hits, chokes, twists, and limb breaking when only involving Bourne’s hands, but if you’re near something in the environment, you can pick up various tools (like a fire extinguisher) to administer vicious beatings or possibly ram a head through a window. Environmental weapons are only used for the takedown and then are tossed aside in order to maintain the style Bourne exhibits in the movies; the audience doesn’t see him carry around an improvised weapon for long.

Second and third tier takedowns allow you to eliminate multiple opponents simultaneously, using their own bodies against each other. While the Takedowns are certainly authentic and cinematic in their appearance, and there is a fun element of play where you continuously scan the environment for beat-down opportunities, at their core they are basically a short cutscene that plays after you press a button. There isn’t a huge feeling of involvement on the part of the player. Still, it is fun seeing just how many different ways you can ruin some chump’s day.

Another large portion of the game focuses on gunplay, and works in a familiar way to anyone that’s played recent third-person shooters. The enemies act in intelligent and unpredictable ways – they won’t just pop out of cover to supply you with an easy headshot once you’ve pinned them down. Luckily, many cover objects in the game are destructible, allowing you to shoot through some cover, or at the very least flush enemies out. One nasty trick is to shoot at cars that enemies are hiding behind, causing an explosion the likes of which only Hollywood cars seem always on the verge of. Of course, enemies will do the same to you, so you have to be on your toes when behind cover.

It’s easy and fluid to transition from gunfighting to hand-to-hand – just sprint up to an opponent, and when you’re in range, Bourne holsters his weapon and proceeds to kick ass. You can also lock on to enemies with your Bourne Instinct (which also temporarily reveals enemies and objectives in all modes), as well as perform shooting takedowns, which can involve the use of human shields amongst other creative gun work.