THE BOURNE CONSPIRACY XBOX 360 REVIEW

One of the most hyped up action titles of summer 2008 certainly comes out as no surprise to us, as The Bourne Conspiracy weighs in as one of the best hand-to-hand combat games we have played in recent years. And the brutal slugfests are not the only thrill you’ll be getting in the Bourne package. You’re also getting a great shooting sequence along with a heart-pounding driving scenario. As you unravel the mysteries behind CIA’s secret experiment, you’ll eventually find out the story on the 30 million-dollar weapon. If you have seen any of the movies, then you already know the answer to that. From start to finish, the game is all about fast beatings, quick reflexes, and tension running high. While this is the basic attitude of Bourne Conspiracy, most of the comportment comes from the sleek choreography in fighting!

What makes this game such an enjoyable experience as well as accessible to casual players is that the combat system is very simple. It doesn’t involve any complicated commands, which allows you to focus on the immediate action. You are given two buttons for executing light and heavy attacks. By mixing those particular buttons, you can chain up to three moves to create a number of dramatic combos. While these combos are considered to be the fastest way in dealing with the enemies, it’s the charged attacks that really hurt them the most! For instance, the blow from just one charged kick is so devastating that it could deliver a technical knockout! Of course, timing is the key to all your attacks, and your foes aren’t a bunch of chumps either. The enemies you’ll face are generally skilled government agents, and you must adapt a smooth fighting strategy. Or end up looking like Ugly Betty’s long lost half sister.

The Bourne Conspiracy is tuned up to smash the adrenaline barrier with the exploitation of elaborate takedowns. As you land a number of successful hits, you subsequently rev up your adrenaline meter. When you reach the first “tier”, you can unleash a spectacular takedown; when that happens, the camera slows down and zooms in on the action, while Bourne breaks out some of the coolest “handwork”. The takedown is incredibly satisfying, and not to mention equally stylish and brutal. You finish off the bad guys not only with their faces swollen with large bruises, but leaving them to the ground spilling blood and unconscious! What’s more is that you can even deliver multiple takedowns just as long as you have more than one level of adrenaline energy charged up. Performing simultaneous takedowns on two or three opponents require timed button presses; but thanks to the simplicity of the controls, you hardly break a sweat with these complex set of choreographies.

Fighting with your fists is just one aspect of action you’d be doing in this game. Another is shooting in which you’ll go up against contracted terrorists, professional snipers, and international convicts just to name a few. The gunplay is just as exhilarating as fighting with bare hands. You can carry any kind of pistols as well as an additional shotgun or assault rifle. Just like any third-person shooter, you can duck in and out of cover. On top of that, you have Bourne Instinct, which brings to light objects of interest – it’s like having Spiderman’s sixth sense. It can automatically lock on to the nearest target, a very handy instrument in trying to distinguish shooters from the background. Let’s say you’ve locked on to the bad guy but somehow he manages to take cover behind a wooden crate. That’s no problem! You can blast through their cover. It’s nice to see the game allows for some destruction to the environment; your enemies may be able to dodge incoming bullets but they can’t hide forever.

The best part of Bourne Conspiracy is the boss fights. There is no better scene in the game than relentlessly tapping in those big combos to the gut and to the face of your opposition. It’s a very rewarding experience when you get to connect those punishing blows. However, you’ll certainly put up a big fight as each boss is an intelligent brawler. They can take heavy beatings and survive multiple takedowns. So block a lot and plan your strategies ahead. For the most part, the game looks relatively sharp. The character designs are outstanding and they animate in realistic fashion. The environments are nicely detailed, complete with interesting destructible objects. The cutscenes help project a sense connection to the story, while the suspenseful music and the awesome sound effects drive the excitement of the action home.

As the collection of Xbox 360 titles piles up, The Bourne Conspiracy is definitely one action game you can add this summer. The dramatic fight scenes are enough to send you flying off your chair. You’ve got these amazing takedowns that make you feel like a badass! And they are not only used for fancy brawling, but as part of your counter mechanism, too – such as evading certain fatal collision or dodging stray bullets by grabbing one of your foes as human shield. Interestingly enough, the cutscenes have further fueled the drama of the storyline, heightening the secrets behind the 30-million dollar weapon. The developer did an amazing job in bringing the action up close and personal. The boss fights are so intense that Bourne is left with noticeable injuries, with blood running off his face. It’s not every day that you’ll come across such an epic adventure yet full of incredible bone-crushing mayhem; but if you’re into high tension, action spy thriller, then do yourself a favor, check out The Bourne Conspiracy.

FINAL SCORE: 8.5 OUT OF 10