The demo for Sierra’s new game debuted today on Xbox Live and PSN and showcases a few levels from the finished product. First up is a mission where Jason is discovered at a US Embassy and accosted by guards. Mr. Bourne must subdue his assailants and make a daring escape from the building before he can be captured. The level is pure “fight and flight,” with moments of sprinting away from guards or sliding under gates interrupted for close-quarter combat with various guards and military officials. The stage introduces you to the main combat system, wherein you use a combination of light and heavy attacks to overpower your opponent. Building up enough adrenaline (earned through successful attacks), allows Jason to unleash a takedown move, a preset cutscene where he will string together a few martial arts attacks and leave his opponent unconscious on the ground.
Also peppered throughout this first level (and throughout the demo entirely), are a number of quicktime events that will keep you constantly on your toes. In the middle of what seems to be a non-interactive cutscene, you will be prompted to quickly push a button to slide under a gate, dodge a sniper bullet, or disarm an enemy. Failure in one of these segments means an instant game over and a trip back to the last checkpoint in order to try again.
The second level of the demo takes you back in time to when Jason was still working as a tool of the government as he hunts down a terrorist with a hijacked plane. This mission employs a healthy dose of firearms combat, as you’ll spend nearly the entire level shooting your way through waves of terrorists. I’m not sure if the levels in the final game are going to played in the same sequence as in the demo, but if so it seems like the developers are taking a not-so-subtle dig at how governments solve problems (shoot first and ask questions later), as opposed to how Jason does things (non-lethal force whenever possible).
The final segment of the demo is a re-envisioning of the Paris chase sequence from the movies, with Jason trying to elude the police as he makes his way across town. This seemed to be the most under-developed mission, as it featured only a few city blocks, and a fairly boring premise. Rather than trying to outrace and elude police, you merely hide from them by ducking down alleyways or staying out of sight, while you wait for a tunnel to clear so you can move onto the next area. Perhaps in the final build, the level will be longer and more action-packed, but right now it’s little more than a gimmick level ostensibly designed to somehow tie the movie and the game together.
Aside from the weak driving mission, the rest of the demo presents a game that looks to be ready to storm onto consoles later this summer. The hand-to-hand combat is quite fun, and the game does a great job of utilizing the environment during takedown moves. Also, considering that the screenwriter and fight choreographer from the films are both working as consultants on the game, fans can expect to receive a story on par with what has been seen in theatres, as well as fight sequences just as good if not better than anything previously seen on consoles. By June 27th you may just be getting a little tired of GTA IV, and this may just be the game you need to scratch that high-octane itch.