Published on August 31st, 2015 | by Gary Mullen0
Review: Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse
Broken Sword 5 may have initially come out on the PC and PS Vita back in 2013, however, it has finally made its way over to the Xbox One with both episodes being included in this single title, in what is basically a straight port over from the PC version. Broken Sword 5 is a classical point and click adventure which sticks to the tried and tested method of the original while also having a few nods to previous characters and several mind-numbing puzzles to be solved while on your journey.
The story of the game kicks off in an art gallery where a robbery has taken place with the owner of the gallery being killed in all the chaos. It all revolves around the painting which was stolen in this robbery, as you also try to piece together the story behind the murder. Throughout the game you play as two separate characters who are called George and Nico, with the game automatically jumping to whatever character that section of the story requires. At times it does seem that it’s a bit locked down to the point where you’re in a room looking at objects and the NPC doesn’t walk in until you do X, Y and Z in any order. Because of this there is really no way to “lose” in this game as it can’t move on until the puzzle is fully solved and there are no time restraints behind any of the challenges.
You have to admire the Broken Sword series for sticking to this control system and not moving towards one we see used in games of the same sort of format in present day with games such as Life is Strange. Instead they are using the same controls that you could find back in the 90’s original, which adds to the whole series as we have followed George since the start and to change the controls would have perhaps disengaged us from the previous game. Thankfully the controls are so simple that you take the cursor point to the object you want then either examine or interact with it. You can also access your inventory grab an item and point to the item you want to use it on. Some people will complain this is a mouse game seeing as it’s a traditional point and click, however, personally speaking I have no issues with using a controller for this game and I don’t feel like it takes away from the ability to play it especially since there are no time limits on any of the puzzles.
Following George and Nico through this story you will find a lot of it very predictable and will figure out what the outcome of some of the puzzles will be before you even start solving them, but this is not the biggest problem you will have with games like this. The problem is there is simply no replay value, you complete the game and that’s it. The story does not change due to choices you make, so every time you get the exact same story and the exact same ending. Other games in this market have moved on and made your choices have some sort of impact in the outcome of that section of the game, however, I would argue that like the controls this is part of the series, and to change it would be a move away from the series that many love. Despite these two issues in the story, the overall story is quite good and you do start to feel for the characters. Throughout the game you move between three countries and interact with several NPC’s trying to find the missing painting, history behind it and working out links between certain NPC’s. The country that you are in and the NPC’s that you interact with are locked down and at any one time I think the most NPC’s you can talk to is five, which means trying to figure out what to do next is fairly easy as the options are somewhat limited.
The game uses a mix of hand drawn backgrounds and cell-shading, which gives the game a slightly flat look with plastic looking characters moving through it. However this game simply could not work without this style due to the nature of point and click being a 2D interface. I actually love the look of cell-sharing in this game as it gives it a more cartoon feeling which brings back a lot of memories of the older Broken Sword games, and the hand drawn backgrounds are beautiful.
The question is though is where does this leave us? Is this simply a two-year old game ported to the Xbox One? Technically yes, but this game does offer some great moments and an enjoyable story with a slow-paced feel where you can take all the time you need to play the game without worrying about being killed and such. It could be the best recreational game on the market as you don’t even need to pause the game if you step away for 5 minutes (if for example you went to look at a walkthrough as some challenges left your head hurting). However at the same time I was left with the feeling that the whole story blurred over the murder to a certain extent and other things within the story were more important which seemed a little counterintuitive. It’s by no means perfect but it is a game that I enjoyed playing and it felt like a Broken Sword game, something which I have not played since the 90’s, so it brought back a lot of memories.
Summary: Broken Sword sticks to its roots in this traditional point and click adventure, making it a must have for the fans of the older games.