Broken Sword 5 is a welcome return to classic point and click storytelling. Xbox One - PS4 - PC Read review
Broken Sword is one of the most beloved point-and-click adventure games of all time. Since it's first rebut in 1996, many have come attached to it's well written narratives, following patent lawyer, George Stobbart and French photo journalist, Nico Collard. Broken Sword 5 : The Serpent Curse brings back some nostalgia, returning to it's roots, but with a modern three-dimensional overlay. The story has Broken Sword written all over it, providing another mysterious case filled with conspiracy, occasional humour and puzzles. It's not as clever as say, Shadow of the Templars or The Smoking Mirror, but Broken Sword 5 still provides a fun-filled adventure, containing a few neat puzzles. Either way, seeing George and Nico back after the 2003 game, "Angels of Death" is certainly a delight.
It all begins in Paris, sometime in spring. George is now working in art insurance. He attends a private viewing, when coincidentally, he bumps into an old friend, Nico Collard. Despite their friendship, it's never a great sign when their together. They always tend to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Suddenly, the gallery is robbed by a masked pizza deliver guy. He quickly steals a specific painting, then successfully escapes, murdering the gallery owner in the process. Once again, George and Nico go on another mysterious adventure, trotting across Europe, questioning suspects and finding clues to a case of murder and theft.
Straight away, you'll notice how detailed the game looks. It's a work of artistry, displaying neat cel-shading and perfect blends of colours. The 2D backdrops are beautiful, and very reminiscent of Shadow of the Templars. The characters are now rendered in 3D, which blend well with the 2D artwork, but animations can seem a little stiff. However, they still look great and have solid voice acting to back them up. The interface is pretty much identical the original, but with a modern overlay. It's easy to navigate, which makes it great for newcomers to the series.
The Serpents Curse plays almost identical to the first two games. Simply using a cursor, you can move George or Nico around the environments, as well as interact with objects and other people. A lot of time takes place in conversations, as you try to unravel more about your suspects. Any person you interactive with brings up a small menu, which displays a number of objects. These represent questions for your character, which can be chosen in any order. The process is fairly slow paced, but the dialogue is charmingly well-written, and there's a few humorous moments throughout. Those who enjoyed the original games should enjoy the interactive dialogue sequences, but for newcomers, it may become slightly off-putting.
Broken Sword is at it's best when your simply searching for clues. George and Nico always have something to say about an object, even if it's not an integral part of the investigation. Any useful objects you discover are automatically sent to the inventory, which can be later examined, shown to people, and used to solve puzzles. Throughout the game, puzzles will stop you in your tracks, but maybe not for long. Many of them should only take a few minutes or so to solve. Most of them are fairly light, which is good for newcomers to the series, but the loyal fan may feel forgotten. That's not to say every puzzle is simplistic. There are some very interesting ones, which may have you scratching your noggin for quite some time. If you do become stuck, a robust hint system is in place, providing you with a list of clues before finally giving you the answer.
Throughout the game, you'll play as George and Nico, but mostly from George's perspective. The interactive map returns, allowing you to fast-travel to different places in various orders. You will travel to a variety of locations, such as the streets of Paris, Nico's apartment, London and many more. You don't visit too many places though, and a lot of time is spent back-tracking, revisiting familiar places. This doesn't stop the adventure been fun though, as there's enough interesting things going on throughout each setting. It all moves at a steady pace, with you introduced to a variety of characters. Some may seem mysterious, whilst others simply bring humour to the narrative.
Broken Sword 5 clocks in roughly six hours long. It's the complete experience, bringing both, part one and part two, which was first released on PC late last year. On consoles, the transition is beautiful. The visuals are stunning in 1080p, and the controls are responsive, with just a few minor graphical glitches here and there. All in all, Broken Sword 5 is a love letter to the first two games in the series. Some puzzles might not be quite as inventive as it's predecessors, but it's still a fun, solid adventure to the franchise.