A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this third-person game has some blood, gun shooting, and hand-to-hand combat, but it doesn't feel excessive or out of the game's context. However, this Teen-rated game does have some graphic finishing moves: You can smash an enemy's head into a neon sign or into a wall, or throw an enemy off a ledge. There's also some drinking and smoking and product placement.
What's it about?
More often than not video games based on movie franchises are a shoddy disappointment -- and you needn't look any further than recent examples such as Iron Man and Jumper. There are exceptions, fortunately, and Sierra's THE BOURNE CONSPIRACY is one of them. Based on Robert Ludlum's popular novels and movies, this Teen-rated game serves as an action-packed tale of espionage that lets you step into the shoes of trained government assassin, Jason Bourne.
Without giving away too much of the story, The Bourne Conspiracy begins near a shipyard in Marseilles, France, shortly after Bourne's attempt to assassinate African dictator Wombosi. Within the first 15 minutes, players will learn most of the mechanics of the game, beginning with hand-to-hand combat that does a good job of recreating actor Matt Damon's moves from the films. On the PlayStation 3 version, players press the square button for a light attack, triangle for a heavy attack (but takes longer to execute), and X button to block. Combos can also be created by pressing buttons in a specific order. Later on, players will master special kicks, using items in the environment such as weapons (like a laptop over the head of an enemy) and finishing moves that result in a cinematic \"takedown\" (such as tossing the enemy off a ledge or twisting their arm behind their back before kicking them to the ground). These hand-to-hand combat sequences were choreographed by the films' fight coordinator and stuntman, Jeff Imada.
Is it any good?
Played from a third-person perspective, players will also learn how to draw and fire a pistol, stealthily hide behind objects for cover (or to eavesdrop for story info), and sprint while chasing a target or evading gunfire. Press the triangle button, which kicks in your "Bourne Instinct," and enemies and objective points are highlighted on a small radar map. Some timed sequences -- where the player must quickly press a specific button on the controller when prompted -- result in a non-interactive scene, such as Bourne jumping over a wide gap or diving away from an exploding device. Later on in the game players will also be able to drive vehicles, which will be handy in a remake of the famous Paris police car chase from 2002's The Bourne Identity movie.
This all might sound like standard fare for an action video game, but the developers at High Moon Studios did a "bang up" job creating the same kind of nonstop thrill ride as the films -- be it the shaky camera angles while Bourne is on the move, slow-motion sequences for dramatic effect, or believable, high-definition characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why most movie-based games are a disappointment, more often than not. Do Hollywood studios consider video games just one of many merchandising opportunities and care less about quality? Perhaps families can talk about how this game got it right and what other game companies can learn from it. Would anyone buy this game if it was based on an unknown character?
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