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Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars The Directors Cut Review

Genres: Adventure
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Revolution
Publisher: Ubisoft
Review Date: 12-8-2009
Review Platform: DS
Review Region: EU Available In EU
Est Playtime: 11+ hrs
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Review By: Bradley Beeck

Nico Collard is a journalist working for a French newspaper when sheís suddenly called to a meeting with a French media magnate. After arriving at his mansion she witnesses his murder by a killer disguised as a mime Ė The Costume Killer. She had been following the killerís other murders but how is the latest victim related to them? George Stobbart is on vacation in Paris when a bomb explodes in the cafť he was eating at. He survives uninjured but just who was responsible for this crime? Is the clown he saw moments before the explosion the one? George decides to find out and so begins his journey into the secret world of cults and the treasures of the Knights Templar.

broken_sword027Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars is a remake of the PC game of the same name released in 1996. It has additional art, puzzles designed for the DS and new story elements. The new story content centers on Nico who is a playable character at the start of the game. Remaking classic adventures games seems to be all the rage these days and after playing Broken Sword I hope more are brought to the DS.

broken_sword007The game begins with the murder of a French media magnate by a mime. Nico, a journalist, witnesses the event and has been following the ĎCostume Killersí other murders. The situation is complicated by the magnateís relationship to Nicoís dead father. The player takes over at this point and searches around the crime scene for clues. This is done through holding the stylus down over objects which then display a sub menu if they can be manipulated. The system is slow to respond and selected objects arenít highlighted which is a problem when interactable objects are side by side.

broken_sword023Interacting with NPCs is performed in the same way as interacting with objects. The top screen displays an animated image of the NPCís head as they talk. Occasionally these conversations offer a choice of either responding positively or negatively in addition to the usual mechanic of showing people items. Iím not sure how much these choices affect the game but it seemed that some sections required picking the right option. The stylus is also used to move your character around a scene and again it doesnít have the greatest response time.

broken_sword009Broken Sword features a built in help system which is the norm for mainstream games these days. Itís not so common in adventure games but I think it should be because these types of games always suffer from leaps in logic and getting stuck wandering from scene to scene searching for a trigger. That said the puzzles in this game are well designed and the only significant problem I had was with the cipher puzzle. You have to decipher a letter which uses a substitution system and it takes too much effort to do properly.

broken_sword015The story of Broken Sword follows the activities of a cult seeking the treasure of the Knights Templar and the forces working against them. Nico starts this journey off but an hour or so into the game it swaps over to George and stays with him for the rest of the game. The game gives you the false impression that youíll be changing between them but Nico only takes on an advisory role after the change. This is a shame because her involvement in the story is more interesting, as George was purely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Overall the story didnít have much of an impact on me although it does have a something of a mature tone.

broken_sword016One of the best things about Broken Swordís graphics is that all the characterís actions are animated on screen. Right down to interacting with objects and people waving their hand through their hair, which sets it apart from a game like Life Signs. The talking head animations on the other hand are simplistic and plainly drawn. The music and sound effects are strangely really quiet so I donít have an opinion on the music because I didnít hear it clearly.

Broken Sword is an old school adventure game reborn on the DS. Its puzzles are well designed and there arenít too many leaps of logic. And when there are the in built help system is there to smooth things over. The story has something of a mature tone but it didnít leave a lasting impression. It would have been better served with Nico as the main character or alternating between her and George. Broken Sword is an entertaining adventure game that has no major flaws and it didnít stand out as anything other than a good game.