Bourne Conspiracy

Tried the 360 Demo last night and boy did that get the adrenaline up. It’s an FPS game in the same sort of interactive-fiction vein as “Dragon’s Lair” – i.e a mixture of live FPS action and coin-toss scripted action sequences. In some games, I find this equates to fail, but in this game – as far as the demo goes – it really helps to maintain the flowing action and adrenaline and pace of the movies.

It helps to know about this because 3 steps into the tutorial you suddenly start failing until you realize that dutifully holding down RT to sprint, as it just asked you to, is counting against you when it reaches its first “quick, press a button” sequence.

Having a button already pressed means you never see the prompt and it simply fails you for no apparent reason.

Mele combat is, basically, throw punches, kicks and combos out to build up a stamina bar and then go for a “takedown move”, which are the really cool Bourne “uber moves” like snapping a guy’s arm and ricocheting his head off a nearby window-ledge. They play out like cut-scenes but I suspect they’re using something like Euphoria to create an impromptu dynamic cut-scene based on the environment. Whereas, against the boss mob at the end of the demo, they do actually appear to be canned sequences that uphold the moviesque-feel of the playout: smashing the guy in the head with a fire-extinguisher, bouncing him off an instrument control panel, etc.

There is apparently a sound it makes when a “fast action sequence” – those canned sequence which require the right keypress to “win” – but I couldn’t discern it amongst all the noise, the only time I did it had already registered the keypress for me so, I hope they’ll improve that in the release product.

Weapon’s handling isn’t jaw-dropping, it certainly isn’t Vegas but it’s very “Bourney” and it’s fun.

To be honest, my one qualm is that the demo really throws you in at the deep end, which means you’re behind the curve learning basic controls. It’s quite a long ways into the demo before you get a few moments to yourself to figure out what stuff does.

It didn’t matter over much until I got to the driving segment which didn’t stand a chance after a 90 minute session of GTA-IV :( Thrown into the deep end, I didn’t have a clue, and I just went round in circles until it told me I’d failed, and then reloaded to the same fail. Ah – “fast action sequence” moment, and I’m holding down the accelerator trigger.

I avoid movie-based games like the plague, but I’ll probably fork out for Conspiracy.


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