George and Nico are at it again!
For fans of point and click adventures games back in the 90’s, Broken Sword is a franchise that had a great cult following. Always following in the adventures of George Stobbart and Nicole Collard, the franchise always played on its realism in settings and history. They also feature the fantasy adventure aspects more akin to something like Indiana Jones and the perilous booby traps and puzzles. As technology went on, the games moved from classic 2D animation point and click to a more 3D style with mixed results. Now, after a very successful Kickstarter campaign, Broken Sword 5 the Serpent’s Curse is a return to form, but does Revolution Software still have what it takes to honor the series it started?
What starts as a normal day at an art gallery turns to a tale of murder and theft. George and company see a painting stolen right in front of their eyes, as a helpless gallery owner is murdered. Nicole chases the suspect and immediately George starts to investigate what exactly just happened. What transpires over the course of the game is more than George could have ever expected, and a painting with more history behind it than first thought. Soon the duo is back together to solve the mystery and help discover just what is going on behind the scenes of this little known painting.
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
How long to beat: 10+ hours
Broken Sword 5 returns to its roots of classic point and click adventure games. Players use the controller to guide a cursor to various areas in the environments to explore, examine, and find new items to pick up and use. Sometimes puzzles will involve something rather serious, others will task the player with some more obscure or funny scenarios, like how to remove a huge cockroach before a NPC will talk to the player. The puzzles never felt extremely obscure, made sense mostly, and fans of the genre will be able to figure out most of them after a few moments of thinking. Luckily if players do get stuck, there is multi-tiered hint system that gives clues and ultimately the solution if needed. It’s a great tool to ensure players don’t get stuck for too long and keeps frustration down to a minimum.
Graphically, the wonderful backgrounds are brought to life with beautiful artwork. Ditching the 3D environments of the prior 2 games, this is refreshing and definitely harkens back to the original two games. The characters in the game are 3D models yet retain a very 2D art style. It works, and better then it expected, as the meshing of the two could lead to some oddities in other games, though it’s not without its flaws. Audio work is great, with most music tracks kicking in during key moments and the classic Broken Sword theme being prevalent throughout. Voice acting is rather well done and it wouldn’t be a Broken Sword game without the original voice actor playing George, who continues to offer his dry humor, sarcasm, and at times inappropriate comments that will have old and new players laughing.
Going back in time and looking at the older games, Broken Sword 5 really hits on all the high notes of the first two games in the franchise. The biggest issues one might have is with the 3D characters, that while meshing well with the 2D art, the animations seem off or inconsistent, and this also rolls over into the mouth movements and emotion on characters faces. Sometimes it just feels at odds seeing the characters talk with little expression or animation to their otherwise nice looking face. It’s something most players will be able to get over, but with it constantly kept being brought to attention, it’s hard not to notice.
That said, if you like point and click adventure games with mystery, good puzzles, humor, and a little bit of history, Broken Sword 5 is exactly what you’re looking for. It stays consistent with the genre it helped invent and does so almost flawlessly, coming highly recommended to fans of the franchise.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.