Borne Conspiracy Demo Review

By Mike on 11:26 pm

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Jason Borne, the man without an identity, brainwashed by the government to become the ultimate killing machine. I enjoyed the movies so it peaked my interest when I found out a Borne game was coming out. The films were known for their fast paced action sequences as Borne dodges assassins and find out who he really is. The game supposedly isn't based on any of the movies. The demo has been out for a couple weeks now on PSN but I finally got around to downloading and playing it today. The demo of Borne Conspiracy (BC) has three levels: escape from an embassy, assassinate a terrorist, and escape police while driving through Paris. There's really not a heck of a lot to say about the demo other than I felt like I had just played through the entire game.

BC is a third-person shooter game along the lines of Naughty Dog's hugely successful Uncharted: Drakes Fortune. I think Uncharted really set a benchmark for the genre so it's worth comparing BC to it. Unfortunately, Borne does not live up to Nathan Drake. Gameplay mixes both fighting and shooting elements. The hand to hand combat mechanics are good. You can use Square for a light attack and triangle for a heavy attack. X button allows you to block and dodge. Some enemies use their first or melee weapons, though apparently Borne doesn't know how to use the latter. Building up adrenaline (blue bar on hud) allows you to execute a powerful combo attack which can quickly take out enemies. You can also sprint takedown or use sneak attacks. Unlike Uncharted, you can't really control Borne's movement with the analogue stick during hand-to-hand combat. Borne can sprint using R2 outside of combat or use it to ram into enemies.
Shooting is like Uncharted. You can use X to hide behind cover. L2 draws, L1 aims, and R1 fires. Shooting though feels kind of clumsy and unresponsive. The enemy AI is just horrible for this day and age. Enemies didn't really respond to getting shot until they died. They seem rooted to the ground as well. They don't move much to attack you. Melee combat has patterns with little variation.
The driving mission was pretty basic. It uses digital controls rather than the analogue triggers. Oddly, your Mini has no breaks, just a parking break. The goal is to basically escape from the police chasing you through the streets of Paris. The mission was short and overly easy.

The graphics in the game aren't that great. They look dated compared to other titles, about equal to an early 2006 PC game. Not much use of HDR. The indoor embassy scenes, the Paris Streets, and the NPCs look cartoony. The outdoor scenes look good. Physics in game are ok even though it's supposedly accelerated using Ageia's software PhysX engine. Boxes break apart realistically when they get shot but that's about it. Audio is decent. It would have been something if they got Matt Damon to voice Borne like Robert Downy Jr did for the Iron Man game. Your PC only mildly resembles Damon and is kept generic. I guess he didn't given them the rights to use his likeness.

Overall, I wasn't impressed with the demo. I suppose it's not a bad game. The bar has been set quite high by games like Uncharted. There's not a whole lot to say about The Borne Conspiracy. The demo is nice and long for a demo. I'm not sure how long the full game is or what extras it provides. However, I give it a rent only for now.

What Works:
-Good hand to hand combat system
-Use of PhysX
-Long demo

What Doesn't Work:
-Dated graphics, some environment scenes cartoony
-Sluggish shooting controls
-Driving missions simple and non-innovative.

Score: 6.5 out of 10

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