No-one was excited as we were when Major Nelson announced that the Bourne Conspiracy Demo was up on the US Marketplace.
We’re big fans of the Bourne films, and with Matt Tieger saying at last month’s Sierra Spring Break that you will “become Bourne” we had to find out as soon as possible if that statement was to hold water.
Read our full impressions of the demo after the link.
The demo gives you three different aspects of the game to deal with: Bourne on the run (as we know him in the films); Bourne the shooter – this section lets you play as Bourne when he worked for Treadstone; and Bourne in a car being chased by police through Zurich.
The first mission is taken straight from The Bourne Identity. You’re at The American Embassy in Zurich and have been spotted. Immediately, you’re thrown into some close quarters, hand-to-hand combat. Press X for some light punches, Y for some heavy ones and hold either button to give your assailant a swift kick to the mid-riff. Nice and simple.
As a tension-generator, there’s a countdown timer in the top right of the screen urging you to get past the goons post haste. Fortunately for you, after you’ve landed a few well-placed one-two’s, your Adrenaline Meter fills up and you can perform a Bourne Takedown. When you press B, the 360 takes over and you see Bourne – though unfortunately not Matt Damon – use his environment to his advantage to cause as much pain as possible.
For example, if you’re close to a radiator, that’s where he’ll put the security guard’s head. If there’s a fire extinguisher nearby, he’ll rip it off the wall and cause some grievous bodily harm with it. So far, so very good.
A star is Bourne
As you leg it up the stairs away from the bullets, a sound signals a quick-time event. Once successfully pressed, the game again takes over and you see Bourne perform some kind of evasive manoeuvre which punctuates a checkpoint and takes you onto the next part of the level.
However, the window you have for pressing the button is very short, and if you miss it you’re captured and it’s time to go back and do it again. Also, you have to hold RB to run, and as the QT event happens in what seems like a split-second, we found ourselves pressing X with RB still held down. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t recognise this and it’s back to square one again. A bit annoying, but we’ll forgive it for now.
The Treadstone mission is pretty much standard third-person shooter.
Press A for cover, hold down the left trigger to aim and right trigger to fire. We’ve seen it in Gears of War and Uncharted and we’re all happy with it, so no problems there. However, when the bad guys get too close, it’s fisticuffs time which we found so much more satisfying than shooting things if we’re being honest.
You can also charge your adrenaline meter by blowing people away. Use the B button again to enter another QT sequence where Bourne will take down his enemies with one shot. Also, if you do engage an enemy close up on the battlefield, performing a Takedown will make Bourne use his opponent’s body as cover while his friends fill it with bullets. Which is nice.
The driving part of the game sees Bourne and Marie whizzing round the streets of Zurich being chased by wailing police cars. Marie keeps on yelling in your ear as to how they are gaining on you, but being real male drivers we didn’t really listen to a word she said.
There isn’t much to say about the last bit. It’s very short indeed and the experience is on rails almost, as all turnings are cordoned off apart from the corners the game wants you to take.
It ends with yet another QT event, with Bourne doing his super speedy gear changes with the shaky-cam going ballistic. A very acadey experience: the whole thing was over in less than five minutes.
From what we’ve seen so far we have to say that the first level was easily the most enjoyable, and as close to the film as you could probably get. However, with the Treadstone level becoming borderline ‘been-there-seen-it-done-it’ and the driving mission being too short too judge, we’ll just have to see how much weight is given to each section in the final game. This isn’t to say that we’re put off – far from it – but as with most demos, you’re left asking more question than you get answers from the Bourne taster.
I guess we’ll see on June 24 when The Bourne Conspiracy is available for 360 and PS3.
By Mike Bowden