My wife thinks I am insane when I buy something more than once – she considers it extraneous. Generally she is right, and I seldom do it – but there are also times I go overboard. For example, there are several games I own for both Mac & PC so I can play whatever platform is available. Also, I recently bought ‘Puzzle Quest’ for the iPhone, which is now my 8th copy – I bought it for the PSP, two copies for the DS to play multiplayer with my kids, the PC, Mac, Wii, and normal cell phone version. All except the Wii version (which has terrible controls) have gotten enough playtime to justify the cost. There is another game to add to that list – Broken Sword, which I have now bought and played for the fifth time.
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – The Director’s Cut starts with the player in control of charming Parisian photo-journalist Nicole Collard, who witnesses the brutal and horrifying murder of one of Paris’s richest and most influential statesmen. During her investigations, which feature exclusive new locations, Nico meets amiable American George Stobbart, who has been unwittingly caught up in the sinister and bloody theft of an ancient manuscript. Together, they are drawn into a terrifying conspiracy rooted in a long-forgotten medieval legend. Expanding on the original classic storyline, The Director’s Cut features tight scripting and an intense atmosphere from the explosive opening sequence to the gripping finale, where the full threat of the conspiracy is revealed.
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars was originally released for the PC and Mac in late 1996, followed quickly by a release for the original Playstation. More than five years later it was brought to the GBA (GameBoy Advance), along with a bug that could kill your game if you chose to go somewhere before you were supposed to. A few years after that it was ported to PalmOS and soon after to Windows Mobile. Now, nearly three years later it has arrived in a ‘Director’s Cut’ on the Nintendo DS and Wii.
Before getting to the game, I want to address a potential question why am I reviewing this game here as opposed to any other game? Back in 2006, nearly three years ago, Judie posted on her ‘Gear Diary’ at The Gadgeteer about the game … she intended it as a mention but it turned into a sprawling review!
Broken Sword is a classic ‘point & click’ adventure game. In that genre, the screen is mostly static and you need to click to interact with various objects in order to make progress and uncover the story. There are generally loads of puzzles of various difficulties throughout as well as clues to help you to make choices about where to go and what to do. These games are very nicely suited to stylus-controlled devices such as PDA’s and the Nintendo DS.
So what is the game about? “Opening in the city of Paris, George Stobbart is enjoying his autumn vacation when he narrowly escapes an explosion outside a café. Following the clues left behind by the killer, who is dressed as a clown, George discovers there is something much larger and more dangerous going on that stretches back in time as far as the Knights Templar. Enlisting the help of a French journalist, Nicole Collard, they follow an intricate manuscript which points them in the direction of various locations around the world.”
For the new Director’s Cut the game has improved some of the visuals, introduced some new puzzles and mini-games, and generally optimized the game for each of the new platforms. More specifically, the DS game works great on the dual screens, while the Wii has enhanced visuals to look good on larger TV’s. But make no mistake – this is still the same classic game I was playing alongside Diablo on the PC back in late 2006.
More specifically, the original game starts from George Stobbart’s perspective as the cafe explodes and works from there. The new version starts with you controlling Nico – the day before. There is lots of added content due to this dual character interplay. It was a mandate that nothing from the original could change, so the developers added a subtext of dark secrets revealed that were merely hinted at before. You also get a full diary system and wonderful facial animations.
The game looks wonderful on the DS, and the use of the dual screens is perfect – you get the basic scene on the top screen and whatever you’re interacting with on the lower screen. This basic setup has proven quite successful and has helped make the DS the ‘place to be’ for adventure games recently. This allows you to work on complex puzzles while still viewing the main screen to obtain hints.
This is important because whereas the PC original (and every previous port) had a couple of combat moments where it was possible for George to die, the DS version completely removes these and replaces them with loads of interesting and mildly challenging puzzles.
The adventure game genre is back with a vengeance and has found a home on the Nintendo DS, and Broken Sword is one of the best entries so far. It combines everything that made it a classic in 1996 with a thorough updating and the introduction of new content that will provide even those who have already played it several times with a fresh gameplay experience.
Where to Buy: Buy Broken Sword at GameStopfor DS
What I Like:
– Classic adventure game
– Loads of added content
– Looks great on DS
– Intuitive controls
What Needs Improvement:
– When will we see this in the iTunes App Store?