I shoot you, you shoot me. We're a shooting family. With three very popular books written by author Robert Ludlum and three very successful movies based on them starring Matt Damon as the amnesiac hero/spy Jason Bourne, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that this might make a really cool video game. Developer High Moon Studios has made a game for both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 that combines elements of the book and film series. As one of the best cinematic action series of the last decade, it would take a game developer a lot of effort to make a game that's as compelling and action oriented as the movies. But, for the most part, they have done just that.
The Bourne Conspiracy is basically a retelling of The Bourne Identity with a nice prequel that could be made into a game or movie. The creators went all out on this one with using Bourne screenwriter Tony Gilroy, Eric Lustbader - the author of the newer Bourne novels - and the late Robert Ludlum's estate to bring out the best of both the movies and novels for this game. Unlike Matt Damon's rendering, the game's Jason Bourne is hard edged. While more physically and mentally scarred than Damon's Bourne, the character is still recognizable as a sleeper agent involved in project Tredstone.
Between iconic moments from the novels and movies, such as the escape from the American Embassy and the showdown between Bourne and Castel in Bourne's Paris apartment, Conspiracy gives fans a series of missions that flesh out the character and lead up to the moment where Bourne goes for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Going from amnesiac to assassin makes this a very interesting game and keeps you motivated to see what happens next. This comes off as a great mix of action movie kinetics and a novel where you have to see the next "chapter." Visually the game looks great. It uses the Unreal engine to render highly-detailed characters and props, like the signature Cooper Mini, that give the game a cinematic feel. Like some other game designers, High Moon opted to forego using the voices of the actors from the film. In this case, it's actually a good thing as they might distract players from the characters and their objectives. Also impressive are the game's sound and music. Explosions, ambient noise, weapons firing and sounds are done properly. The developer did itself a service by using the original music score from The Bourne Identity and new cues from trance artist Paul Oakenfold to give an excellent connection to the movie series.
For all the game does right, there are a few bugs when it comes to game play. Controller sensitivity can be adjusted but it takes some time to find a sweet spot that's fast enough to target weapons and shoot straight and steady. The game itself is kind of short and the replay value is limited. Putting in a multi-player feature like the game Goldeneye might have been a good idea. But for a first attempt at creating a franchise, High Moon has done a great job of avoiding the mistake of making a lousy game based on a decent movie.
The Bourne Conspiracy ★★★★✩
Rated- M for MaturePlatformPlayStation 3, Xbox 360