Broken Sword is easily one of my favourite game franchises. Not only is it British made, I am of course a patriot at heart, but it encapsulates everything I love about adventure or point’n’click games. Deep story lines which span not only the globe but time itself, full of bright and diverse characters along with difficult puzzles to solve all entwined around a core theme of exploration and wonder. In my younger days I would spend hours stuck in sections of The Smoking Mirror, feeling encouraged not to rush but instead to talk to everyone and explore everything I could.
As time moved along and the gaming world became more and more obsessed with the concept of triple A, in which the lumbering FPS beasts such as Call of Duty took the throne, we began to see less and less of the Broken Sword series. It has in fact been around 7 years since our last slice of Revolutions adventure series and while it has been a long wait indeed, if not for a little known movement by the name of Kickstarter, then perhaps we would still be waiting, but has it stood the test of time?
Well, quite frankly, yes it bloody well can!
This time around seeing its release on the PC, iOS devices and the PS Vita, The Serpent's Curse manages to enrapture everything I loved about previous instalments into the series, while its new look which blends classic 2D backgrounds with 3D character models, breathes in some new life to the series.
The story begins as any other in George Stobbart's life. While at a gallery opening, which his employer insures against robbery and damage, he bumps into Nico once more, rekindling their friendship briefly before a lone gunman bursts in to steal a seemingly worthless painting and then gunning down the gallery owner for good measure. Why is it these two always meet over a good murder? If I were a lesser man, I'd be inclined to think that Nico is secretly the head of a criminal organisation while George is simply in the wrong place at the right time…
Opting to enter the realms of touch screen devices as opposed to more classic consoles, I knew how the PC version would run and instead, treated my senses to the iOS version as both the Director's Cut and HD remix of the series original duo translated so well onto the iPhone and iPad, I thought it only right to start a new chapter in the same fashion.
The Serpent's Curse ran extremely well, with everything controlled simply by a swipe or a tap, I had no trouble highlighting objects or important scenery or taking action with them, something that I had read was quite difficult on the PS Vita version. All animations ran smoothly with no issues or glitches and the same can be said for the beautiful soundtrack that came flowing through the tiny speakers of my iPad Mini.
As the story progressed, the game threw increasingly more difficult puzzles my way which left me wholly satisfied that Broken Sword was indeed back and in fine fettle, the only draw back I had noticed was that, for the first half at least, every puzzles solution tended to be within the same room, meaning it was more a case of cracking the correct combination of items rather than exploring the world for the right kit. This is no doubt an attempt to make the harder puzzles offer a glimmer of hope, perhaps for those less familiar with the series, but something which felt to me like a solution to a problem which didn't really exist.
This move to pair solutions right next to the problem is also something which moved to highlight that, while still highly enjoyable, this is quite a short adventure even for one half of a whole and after such a long wait is a little disappointing.