The Bourne movie trilogy has become a cult hit thanks to its fast-paced action and hard-hitting fight scenes. But can developer High Moon capture the same elements for the game?
Lead designer, Rory McGuire, was keen to point out to us at a recent press event, "At the studio we've literally spent thousands of hours watching the movies, making sure that we get the camera angles, the pacing and the feeling of the movies right."
That movie 'feel' jumps out at you the moment you see the game running. Its fast, relentless pace, and brutal fighting scenes, are presented with film-like camera angles, backed up by thudding sound effects that accentuate every meaty blow.
We played the latest build on both 360 and PS3. Here are our ten reasons why The Bourne Conspiracy is shaping up to be more than just another movie tie-in.
Variety in gameplay
Most games have a main mechanic that they stick to. Bourne mixes shooting, fighting and driving together but, more importantly, it does a great job at all three.
The fights pack a proper combo system, with case-sensitive enemy takedowns and even special moves. The shooting feels a lot like Naughty Dog's Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and the driving sections - although a smaller part of the game - were created by staffers who have Midnight Club on their CVs.
Fills in the gaps
Instead of basing the game entirely on the events of one of the films, The Bourne Conspiracy mixes scenes and events from all three films and the books (by Robert Ludlum).
In the films Bourne searches for his true identity, but during the game he will have flashbacks to past events. So while you'll play sections of Bourne's life you never see in the films, the game also lets you play through some of the movie's best moments (like the fight in the flat in Paris, where Bourne kills with a pencil).
The game automatically enters fight-mode the moment you get within a few feet of an enemy. If you're both holding guns, Bourne quickly holsters his and kicks the enemy's weapon away, with a few face punches thrown in to initiate things. You don't have to press any buttons for this either, it just happens, seamlessly.
The camera swings to the side, framing the two fighters in an up-close, action-cam shot. It adds style without impeding play, as you throw weak and strong punches in different combinations. The sound effects make every blow count as well. Noses bleed and eyes go black before the KO comes.
Sit down and shut up
In the films, Bourne frequently used objects and parts of the scenery to stab, wound and brutally smash up his enemies. The game captures this brilliantly with its ultra brutal takedowns.
Pounding your enemy's face builds up your adrenalin which can be used to execute takedown moves with a tap of a button. Bourne unleashes a flurry of viscous (and delicious) attacks, using whatever objects are nearby to enhance the damage.
All this is dynamic too. Bourne will react to almost every surface and object around. If you're near a window, he'll throw his opponent through it. You can slam enemies into bookshelves, sending the books tumbling. Slam their faces into stone posts or dunk their heads into nearby water. If there's an object near the action, it's safe to assume it's there for a reason.
Taking a leaf out of Shenmue's book with interactive, in-game cutscenes, icons appears that you have to press quickly for success. Miss your cue and bad things happen to Bourne.