The Bourne Conspiracy - first impressions

Bourne is a super agent of mythical proportions but like the Bond of Fleming's books rather than Cubby Broccoli's more fantastical movies. He's more anchored in reality than a government agency assassin with access to the sorts of gadgets you could imagine were dreamt up by a giddy eight-year-old whose sugar-soaked brain is kept in check by Ritalin. The Bourne movies were touted as being more "realistic" takes on the super-agent genre than the cheesy ridiculousness that the world had to put up with from recent Bond flicks. You know, the invisible car and Remington Steele riding into battle on a surf board. Please, no more. This idea of a heightened sense of reality can be felt in The Bourne Conspiracy's lush take on its European locations.

These are as highly detailed as you'd expect in a next-generation title. Not only do these look beautiful with all their detailed textures and accurate configurations, but they're built to break. A high-level of environmental damage is being implemented which means that there will be no hiding behind indestructible vehicles that display bullet impacts, but refuse to detonate should a round spark against a fuel tank. This game design enables indirect attacks where falling rubble is as effective a weapon as a flat palm to the nose or bullet to the gut and adds to the sensation that you're engaged in black operations in the real world rather than a cartoon sketch.

Matt Damon is nowhere to be found and since the PlayStation 3 has yet to be peppered with Splinter Cell sequels, and Metal Gear Solid 4 is still hidden beneath a cloak of optical camouflage far, far away, The Bourne Conspiracy stands out as the console's greatest hope for super agent stealth action.

Just as the Bond films became more believable than Roger Moore attempting re-entry in Moonraker, after Casino Royale paid stricter attention to the detail and spirit of the Bond novels, so Vivendi's forthcoming action title will be a far more convincing romp than any of Solid Snake's adventures. We even expect it to be more explosive than Sam "Bourne again" Fisher.