The Bourne Conspiracy thrives on its hand-to-hand combat system, making it enjoyable for any action fan despite flaws.

User Rating: 8 | Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy X360
If you've been a big fan of watching secret agent thriller movies for the past decade, then you've had a good chance of running into the Jason Bourne series. Based off the original book "The Bourne Identity" written by Robert Ludlum, "The Bourne Conspiracy" puts you into the shoes of the wanted assassin Jason Bourne. Despite a few gameplay flaws, the game remains action-packed throughout and does a good job of immersing the player into the story of the Bourne Identity film. The game delivers enough shootouts and brutal hand-to-hand combat sequences to satisfy action-orientated gamers and fans of the Bourne Identity.

You play as Jason Bourne, the assassin who tries to regain his memory back after being found floating in the Mediterranean Sea. After failing to complete one of your assassination missions, the agency that you previously worked for assumes you've gone rogue and tries their hardest to take you down as quickly as possible. The game's story missions are broken down into two parts. About half of the missions are taken directly from different parts of the movie, while the other half are simply memories of some of your previous assassination missions. While both types of missions are fun to play through, they don't flow together quite as well as they should and some players may end up confused because of this if they haven't seen the movie.

Similar to the Bourne Identity, the game revolves around your character beating up enemies in a variety of different ways and engaging in numerous shootouts. It's apparent throughout your play through of the game that the hand-to-hand combat sequences are its main focus. Instead of incorporating some elaborate, complex fighting system, the game basically plays out like a button masher. You have both light and heavy attacks, and it's fun to execute different combos with the X and Y buttons. You use A for blocking, but in all honesty it's not even necessary in most cases because simply pressing x and y together repeatedly will take down any enemy in the game, even bosses.

Another aspect of the combat system is the use of takedown moves. Once you fill the bar up enough in the bottom right corner of your screen, pressing B will allow you to beat down your enemy using the environment. Whether they be smashing your enemy's head through a table, gashing part of his face with a crowbar, or even performing some brutal bone-breaking moves reminiscent to those featured in the martial arts film "The Protector," these takedown moves are always satisfying to pull off. They don't just stop with one-on-one combat, though. Once your meter is filled up completely, you'll be able to perform these types of sleek moves on two, or even three different enemies at one given time.

After plowing through all the normal enemies on a level, you'll have to fight both bosses and mini-bosses. Mini-bosses usually appear at about the halfway point between most levels and simply take more than one takedown move to defeat. Boss fights occur at the ending of each level. Like the mini-bosses, they behave practically the same way as normal enemies except they can survive for a lot longer. One aspect of these fights that really stands out is how the bosses themselves can actually perform takedowns on you. In order to counterattack you simply press the button prompted on the screen, which results in you punching or kicking the boss back and allows you some easy hits while he still tries to recover.

The shooting mechanics are where this game starts to fall apart. Jason can carry a pistol and one larger weapon such as an assault rifle or shotgun. You'll be able to take cover behind anything solid, but occasionally you might have difficulty maneuvering left and right in order to get a good shot off. When using any gun, it was very frustrating trying to pull off a headshot on someone while the reticle was right on his head, yet the bullets somehow didn't register. Like the hand-to-hand combat, once you fill the takedown meter up you'll be able to perform a shooting takedown. You simply have to press the prompted button, which results in an insta-kill on a random enemy. While this move is certainly useful, it isn't as satisfying as a hand-to-hand takedown. The last thing I wanted to mention about the gameplay was the Paris chase level. The driving mechanics work but more often than not you'll be ramming into cars and other objects more than you want to. This level was ultimately forgettable, but I didn't really find much wrong with it.

In terms of the audiovisual presentation, the game generally looks good. Jason Bourne doesn't look like Matt Damon for some reason, but regardless the character models are well done for the most part. The enemy design is repetitive, and sometimes it takes a while for textures to load, but the environments are well detailed. The voice acting is pretty solid, and the in-game sound is fine, though some guns sound a bit weird. There isn't much to do once you've beaten the 6-hour story mode, and you have to go back and collect passports to unlock the option to replay boss battles. This game is filled with easy achievements to boost your gamerscore as well. Overall, I had a good time with The Bourne Conspiracy. It isn't the most diverse game ever made, was definitely an enjoyable experience.