Point and click games are enjoying something of a renaissance recently thanks to a bunch of successful projects on Kickstarter and the wildly successful Telltale games, such as The Walking Dead. One of the aforementioned Kickstarter titles was the pretty popular Broken Sword, which was a big deal back on the original Playstation and PC. Plenty of fans were happy to put up some cash to get the next game in the series and, about a year or so after the initial PC launch, the game has been ported to Xbox One and PS4.
Full disclosure: I actually backed the initial Kickstarter campaign but, for one reason or another, never really found time to sit down and play it. So now was the time to finally see if it stayed true to the series quirky roots.
In terms of art the standards here are as high as ever, and the decision to revert to a 2D style has paid off handsomely with some beautifully rendered backdrops that take in a range of vivid locations. It’s certainly easy on the eye, and the cel-shaded characters sit on top of those hand drawn screens with style. If there was to be one minor criticism it would have to be the fact that certain animations feel stilted and rather jagged around the edges.
It’s not a massive problem but the robotic movements jar when compared to how well things look in general.
Most of the original voice actors are also back, and it’s certainly nostalgic to meet and greet so many familiar faces that have cropped up throughout the series. The script is pretty tight and well presented, though it has to be said that the storyline doesn’t feel as though it holds up to the first two games in the series from way back when.
Despite that the overarching plot of hidden mysteries, spiralling from a seemingly innocuous investigation, soon sweeps you up for the ride and takes on a number of bizarre and interesting turns.
In fact, the nostalgia here will be lost on anyone that is completely new to the series as there are plenty of in jokes and recurring characters that will mean nothing if this is your first experience with a Broken Sword title. While that could be frustrating, the game does enough to stand on its own merits and even familiar characters are properly introduced so that players aren’t expected to just know what is going on from the games past history.
The point and click interface works fine on controllers, and puzzles are fairly taxing without ever getting too frustrating. Though it helps that most areas are fairly small and confined, so the answer to your problem is usually close to hand and you don’t have to engage in much back and forth between locations searching for minor items. On the flip-side, that does make the game fairly linear and pretty easy to soldier through in a short amount of time, so don’t expect it to hold your attention beyond the closing credits.
Despite the leads being American and French, there is just something intrinsically British about the game as a whole. With oodles of sarcasm, little jokes and asides, plus mockery of the odious rich tea biscuit (the worst of ALL biscuits) plus a bunch of hidden easter eggs to explore, you can tell this was made with plenty of passion for the subject at hand and for the fans of the series as a whole.
Broken Sword then is, plot wise, perhaps not the strongest in the series but it still tells a rollicking story and has plenty of puzzles that are sure to test you, without ever testing your patience. At times it can feel a bit too easy and, assuming you take time to explore and avoid an obvious guide, you should have a relaxing and enjoyable ten or so hours of entertainment. While it was clearly created for fans this is still a game that fans of the genre can pick up and enjoy, as it’s a smart and fun title, so here’s hoping we see more of George and Nico in future.