|System: PS3, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hugh Noon Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Vivendi / Sierra||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The game has its fair share of quirks. For instance, Bourne can't vault over cover or objects. This comes off as strange considering he's a highly trained government agent. It's understandable in a sense - the developers have a set path they're funneling you through - but it also can be a little silly. During the airport level, you'll notice a series of tiny travel bags block your path. Instead of vaulting over, you have to run entirely around them. Also, the synthesis of the game's mechanics can sometimes falter. Going from hand-to-hand to shooting works well, but it's odd you can't decide to opt out of hand-to-hand and pull out your gun - once you're locked into a fist fight, you've got to finish on those terms. Enemies will wait their turn to attack, but sometimes their compatriots further across the screen will opt to shoot you, and there's no way to dodge their fire because you're engaged in a knuckle brawl.
A core element of the game is the use of Quick Time Events (QTE). QTEs rarely catch you off guard - before each one, you'll hear a whistle sound to denote its triggering. The most pervasive way they are used is to advance important level segments. Sometimes, this simply requires pushing one or two buttons to advance Bourne over a rooftop, while other times, you'll be pressing several buttons in successive order to pull off a daring escape. Obviously, you'll trip up from time-to-time, and the game is gracious with its fail system. Fail a QTE that's not too important, and you simply take damage (for example, when an enemy tries a takedown on you), but mess up on a significant one, and it's back to the last checkpoint. Thankfully, the game is liberal with its doling out of checkpoints, and aside from one or two levels (such as the Zurich airport), rarely will you find yourself thrown too far back in the level.
The game has detailed character models, maintains a smooth framerate, and has great lighting effects. These are all enhanced by the dynamic camera - it shakes when Bourne is taking fire and quickly zooms in-and-out during fights. The development team has replicated the feeling of having a Handycam constantly with Bourne. It's too bad the two versions of the game don't compete on a level playing field - the 360 version comes out on top, with the PS3 falling behind. Not only does the PS3 version require a 5 gig hard drive install (which doesn't make it load any faster than its 360 cousin), but it has a lower maximum resolution (only 720p version versus 1080p on the 360) and suffers from a look that's a little rougher around the edges. Pairing with the video, the sound production comes off quite well. All the action details - explosions, gunfire, cracking bones, etc. - sound great. Conversely, the voice acting gets the job done, but feels a little forced for some of the characters.
Bourne's adventure, while action-packed, can be completed in one or two sittings. Weighing in a bit shy of five hours, it's not a lengthy affair. To keep players coming back, there are the obvious achievements (called accomplishments on the PS3) as well as hidden passports. Collecting these unlocks concept art, pre-rendered cinemas, music tracks, and the ability to replay boss battles. Beating the game on a different difficulty unlocks a set of cheat codes that do things like swap out manual for automatic weapons.
By breaking all the assumptions that normally come with a movie-based license (such as using the film's actors and pushing to do a simultaneous game-film release) High Moon Studios has crafted a solid action game.
CCC Freelance Writer