Game Daze: 'Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy,' 'Grid'
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Reviews are out of four stars.
3 1/2 stars = Very good
It is hard to consider "The Bourne Conspiracy" (PS3, Xbox 360; Sierra; T, for Teen) a movie tie-in game.
While its plot resembles the first "Bourne" film's, it otherwise is more like a freestanding game. There's no Matt Damon featured as the title character he made famous.
Hand-to-hand combat is the main thrill here, as it should be. Unlike James Bond and all his gadgets, what Bourne brings to the table is sheer brutality.
The game's controls are a little dicey to learn at first, but once you stop button-mashing and start wisely executing combos, you'll be thrilled when you chuck a foe into a neon sign or bash his head repeatedly into a desk. It's not gruesome or bloody, just bloody effective.
The fights are among the most thrilling sequences.
The environments are strewn with nice urban touches, though the textures and colors are sometimes too drab.
The big letdown is the gunplay. These sequences feel forced and lack the intensity and fluidity of other shooters. But the fight controls handle smoothly and the encounters are excellent.
You won't be disappointed.
3 stars = Good
"Grid" toes the line between simulation and arcade racing games.
This poses a big frustration if you prefer either one.
You'll probably enjoy "Grid" (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, DS; Codemasters; E, for Everyone) -- but only to a point, because you'll hit a wall no matter how you approach it.
Arcade race fans will find plenty of fun options. The most intriguing is a flashback feature, which allows you to pause a race, rewind and potentially take that curve a little better or avoid that wreck.
The risk-reward system pays off well.
Simulation fans will enjoy the smart-driver AI and the variety of race modes and locations, all of which test your ability to adapt to different styles.
This way you can excel in different disciplines -- such as drafting in Japan or street racing in the United States -- and earn lots of cash for new rides.
The online component is pretty weak, and there are limitations to both the arcade and sim elements. Casual gamers will benefit the most from "Grid," as sim fans will wish it had more customization and features.
First Published June 12, 2008 12:00 am