Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.
What the Game’s About
The Borne Conspiracy is the first video game about the $30-million human weapon that can’t remember who he is or what he has done. Billed as a companion piece to the movie and books, Conspiracy fills in the holes and expands the Borne universe. Developer High Moon Studios worked closely with the Robert Ludlum Estate and key people integral with the movie production (including the fight choreographer who performed mo-cap sessions for the game) to ensure that fans of the Bourne would get the authentic feel for what it is like being Jason Bourne. Taking a highly cinematic approach, Conspiracy feels a lot like how a movie would play as a video game.
Jason Bourne is a hard character to nail down. He’s a super suave and resourceful secret agent but there is a darker more brooding side as he tries to unravel his part piece by piece. In Conspiracy, that sense is immediately established from the beginning level. From the superb art direction to the small touches in the game environment that add a large amount of polish to the overall game, the Conspiracy will melt the world around you and you’ll feel as if you are the man Bourne himself. To capture the moody nature of Bourne, some impressive facial animations give life to main character and even the other characters Bourne interacts with.
The special ability to utilize “takedown” maneuvers is a visual and visceral delight. Build up enough adrenaline and executing a powerfully punishing move is as simple as pressing a button. While simple to perform, the result is nothing less than astounding. As you start taking down enemies, you quickly realize the world Bourne lives in is a giant weapon. If you are standing close enough to a bar stool as you press the takedown button, Bourne will slam an enemy and make a tooth pick out of the stool. The items you interact with are limitless refrigerators, neon signs, sinks, wooden shipping crates, bookshelves, railings, windows, walls, picture frames, vases the list seriously goes on forever. Even if you successfully destroy the environment around you, unassisted takedowns are still an impressive game mechanic.
The punch line for all the things Conspiracy excels at is this is a highly cinematic experience. The attention to detail, the living world that is reminiscent of an open sandbox environment to the way the takedown moves are edited to resemble actual movie scenes shows that a lot of care and thought went into how to successfully transfer a complex character into a virtual space you interact with and you eventually feel as if you are Jason Bourne.
With every yin comes the yang. While the movie aspect with editing and on-screen action is entirely entertaining (and the takedown moves send it over the top), the standard hand-to-hand punches are weak. The three hit combos resemble a Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots match until you can build you takedown moves. Melee combat falls into this routine: attack, block, attack or until you have beaten your foe. Even with some weak basic controls, the takedowns add that pizzazz that never gets boring.
Along the same combat lines, some boss fights are aggravating. One sticks out in particular. You are tasked to fight against an APC in the middle of a plaza. While the strategy is easy enough to figure out (hit the fuel tanks), as you may have guessed, bullets coming from the APC make quick work of the hero making use of the simple cover system.
There are more basic nuisances like Bourne not being able to jump, not able to run away from a fist fight, unable to get past velvet ropes which is something easy to overlook but when such attention to detail was paid in other areas it will give gamers pause for thought right before they are sucked into Conspiracy’s universe.
You have to hand it to High Moon Studios for taking on a difficult IP and succeeding at delivering a truly authentic experience. The highly cinematic approach that has been praised earlier is something that will pull you in to the game. The choice to make the game resemble the movies was a smart design choice as the unique visual style is immediately recognizable. Lack of depth in the pre-takedown combat withstanding, combat is full of hard knocks and impressive animation and editing. At the end of the day, Conspiracy is a winner.