...and for The Bourne Conspiracy, according to the developers, that objective was that the players would "be Jason Bourne." They've succeeded, and along the way have created one of the most engaging action games in a long time.
Excellent Combat Mechanism
Realistic Shooting Mechanic
Captures Jason Bourne Flawlessly
Too many big guns for Bourne
I'll be taking a closer look at all of these in a moment, but for now, lets begin by examining the three basic areas of gameplay: Close Combat, Shooting, and Driving.
Close Combat in The Bourne Conspiracy lives up to the fight scenes in the films. By using the X and Y buttons, Bourne can execute light and heavy attacks on opponents. Holding down the buttons prepares a light or heavy kick, which is impossible to block, but takes about 2 seconds to prep. One of the unique aspects here is adrenaline. As you successfully land punches and kicks, you build up adrenaline, which can then be used to execute devastating takedown attacks, which allow you to use the environment (such as pens, books, windows, other enemies) to bash your foe to the ground. The combat flows well, and the only real issue here is that while you fight one enemy, his buddies all just circle the fight (occasionally they will try to hit you, but you can simply press a button to knock them out of the way and cancel the blow.) Overall, it works surprisingly well.
Shooting in Bourne takes place in a third-person perspective without falling into the trap of impossible aiming mechanics. Fighting here is cover-based, but unlike a lot of other cover-based shooting games, Bourne allows you to draw enemies out of cover by firing at their cover (distracting them or making them feel they are no longer safe). Here as well you have the ability to use adrenaline to fuel shooting takedowns, which, while not as impressive as the close quarters ones (Bourne usually just aims with a cool look on his face and shoots) they still provide a good deal of satisfaction. My biggest beef with the shooting is also pretty minor. Bourne's got too many guns! You spend a good deal of time using shotguns, SMGs, and even an AK-47. Those things bring to mind Rambo, not Bourne, who specializes in stealth and professionalism.
Driving is only featured in one level, but since it's a pretty iconic scene (the Paris Car Chase) it deserves a mention here. The driving system is similar to the one used in a lot of driving games, such as Grand Theft Auto or Crackdown. The only real difference here is that you can, as Bourne, use adrenaline to enhance your abilities by slowing down time to allow more precise driving. As a bonus, one of the Achievements available to unlock while driving is a reward for smashing up Paris as much as possible, always a nice touch.
Before I wrap up, there are a few more things to touch on. The so-called "quick action events" (an event requiring you to swiftly press a certain button during a cutscene to influence events) are a welcome break from the constant fighting and add variety to the game. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the cinematics can at times be a bit grainy. I think the issue here is that the brightness during cinematics is turned up too high (and unfortunately changing the game brightness doesn't help)
Overall, the Bourne Conspiracy captures the heart of the Bourne films without trying too hard to be a "movie game". Aside from a few minor issues, this game is a solid title and hopefully the first in a franchise of games based on Jason Bourne.