Broken Sword 5: Serpent’s Curse Review
Broken Sword 5 offers a gripping detective story of Dan Brown proportions
First of all, let us point out that the fifth instalment of Broken Sword is broken. It has been split in two with the second half set to come later this year. Developer Revolution Software didn’t want to try the patience of fans who helped fund the game via Kickstarter and figured creating parts one and two separately would get it into their hands far quicker.
The new release sets up the story that will run across both parts: George Stobbart witnesses a murder and the theft of a painting prompting him and French journalist friend Nico Collard to join forces in working out whodunnit. They hunt down clues in Paris and London in an intriguing tale hinting strongly of curses and a cult.
For those unfamiliar with point-and-click adventures, the idea is to scour the screen for clues. Small circles show potential objects of interest and two icons – a hand and magnifying glass – let you pick them up or examine them. There are loads of characters to interact with and objects can be combined in order to get through the dozens of logic-based puzzles that you need to solve.
The first thing you notice is the styling of the game. After a failed attempt at 3D graphics in recent instalments, The Serpent’s Curse returns to gorgeous retro, 2D cartoon roots and it’s better for it. Similar to the debut game, Shadow of the Templars, there is also a sense of “ah, yes” and forehead slapping when you finally solve a puzzle.
Although there is a walkthrough system that reveals hints or solutions, the challenge is to work out the puzzles without it. Some clues reveal themselves in the conversations George and Nico have (chats that are sometimes overblown, causing you to tiresomely tap the screen to get through the dialogue). But they drive the narrative and, while the attempts at humour often fall flat, players do well to listen.
It helps that the game is so engrossing. Yes, it plods ever now and then but it builds slowly and leaves you yearning for part two which promises to up the action.
A fun, visually appealing game that will suit players who like their action a touch more controlled.
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