You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Bourne Conspiracy

"The Bourne Conspiracy" promises gamers the chance to be Jason Bourne, but it's more like the chance to see Jason Bourne and push a few buttons along the way.

The Bourne Conspiracy” promises gamers the chance to be Jason Bourne, but it’s more like the chance to see Jason Bourne and push a few buttons along the way. Developer High Moon Studios did a phenomenal job capturing the look and feel of the “Bourne” books and movies — everything from the fighting moves to the camera work to the overall mood. But too many of the best moments are almost entirely out of players’ control in this heavily scripted and disappointingly unresponsive game. Add in a number of technical glitches, and “The Bourne Conspiracy” will end up being only lightly pursued.

The game tracks the plot of “The Bourne Identity,” but adds in a number of past missions via flashback to flesh things out to around 15 hours of play time. Some flashbacks, such as Bourne’s assassination attempt on a boat that landed him nearly dead in the Mediterranean at the beginning of the film, add depth. But others have no connection to the main plot and only confuse the throughline.

Though Matt Damon didn’t lend his voice or likeness to the main character, the game nails most of the films’ best elements. That’s particularly the case in fights, where Bourne and his adversaries engage in martial arts brawls in a variety of styles designed by the films’ fight director Jeff Imada and translated with stunning visual fidelity. Sound effects are intense, and the camera shakes close in just like Paul Greengrass’ in the last two movies, but without ever making it difficult for players to see what they’re doing. If there were an award for cinematography in a videogame, “The Bourne Conspiracy” would be a lock.

Awesome production values aren’t enough in an interactive medium, however. Control-wise, “Bourne” is a frustratingly sluggish affair. Though the U.S. government’s perfect weapon has an impressive array of fighting moves, pulling them off is a chore, since the game doesn’t respond reliably to player input. Shooting is similarly frustrating, since Bourne is barely mobile with his gun drawn and players can’t see where he is aiming when he takes cover.

In either case, the action really comes alive only when players build up enough adrenaline to pull off one of Bourne’s signature takedowns. These include throwing an enemy into a glass table, taking out three guys at once with a brutal series of hits or bringing down a target with one perfectly aimed shot. The more creative takedowns are exhilarating, though seeing Bourne pound an enemy’s head into whatever’s nearby may eventually lose its appeal for some.

Pulling off awesome moves with a single button just isn’t that rewarding, however, and it’s a recurring problem in this vidgame. A number of the most exciting sequences, including sniper shooting, fast-paced foot chases and diving to avoid enemy fire, rely on the game taking total control and the player just pushing a button that appears onscreen to keep the action going. Too often, it feels like High Moon was more interested in animating action scenes than making a game.

The only level that avoids this problem is a car chase sequence in Paris. Game artfully re-creates the experience of avoiding police on congested streets and almost never takes control out of the player’s hands. Instead, the player can use Bourne’s adrenaline to slow down the action and drive precisely through otherwise unavoidable obstacles.

“The Bourne Conspiracy’s” physical world is just as restricted as the action, giving players almost no choice in where to go and at what pace. Jason Bourne may be the ultimate fighting machine, but altering his path by stepping over a velvet rope is apparently beyond his abilities.

The Bourne Conspiracy

Rated T. $60

Production: A Sierra presentation of a game developed by High Moon Studios and licensed by the Robert Ludlum Estate for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Reviewed on Xbox 360.

More Scene

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

  • Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger Makes First Post-Surgery Appearance at Rolling Stones Ballet Premiere

    Rock legend Mick Jagger made his first public appearance post-heart surgery on Thursday night to catch a glimpse of the world premiere of the Rolling Stones ballet “Porte Rouge.” “I hope you are going to enjoy this wonderful new ballet, and, of course, the music,” the frontman declared in a pre-recorded message to the audience [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

  • Katy Perry, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna

    Katy Perry and Anita Hill Honored at the DVF Awards

    Katy Perry was among the honorees at the 10th Annual DVF Awards on Thursday night. The singer was recognized for her advocacy work with both UNICEF and the LGBTQ community. “Music has opened the doors for so many opportunities for me,” she said while accepting the inspiration award. “The ability to meet people and champion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content