|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Revolution Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 24, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Thanks to the special control input methods available on the Wii and DS, Nintendos two current gaming systems seem to be a popular avenue for recycling old-school adventure games of late. For some publishers, taking old adventure games from a decade or so ago down from the shelf, dusting them off, throwing in a few new tricks, and repackaging them for new players seems like a great idea. Still, even the better offerings tend to show their age, and they often fail to fully hold up to current standards.
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars a stylish point-and-click game that first appeared on the PC about 13 years ago is certainly one oldie-but-goodie with the power to stand the test of time. The Directors Cut of Broken Sword on the Wii is a slick and entertaining adventure that adds some entirely new portions and other elements that are well-suited to the experience while also showcasing the titles inherent charm. Being slightly outdated doesnt always instantly signal the death knell for a game. This mystery adventure is worth revisiting.
Set in Paris, the games story follows photo journalist Nico Collard and American tourist George Stobbart who unwittingly uncover a present-day conspiracy that dates back to ancient times. When an important interview source an influential and well known public figure is suddenly murdered, and another of Nicos contacts is killed in an explosive blast at the very same café George happens to be lunching at, the pair cross paths and decide to work together to unravel the strange criminal occurrences. Their investigation leads them into the midst of a dark plot involving cults, danger, and the theft of an ancient text. The original game (known as Circle of Blood in the U.S.) focused on Georges perspective, but the new Directors Cut includes additional scenes where youll play as Nico. Switching back and forth between the two characters at different times, youll cooperatively explore the games plot from different angles. The tale itself lacks some of the excitement found in other games, but its well-scripted and interesting enough to keep you playing.
A bright and fluid animated presentation makes digging into Broken Sword a lot like playing an interactive cartoon. The hand-drawn graphics have a very distinct look to them thats a big visual change of pace from your average point-and-click adventure game. The detailed scenic environments are a real treat, and theyre easy to navigate. Characters are less detailed on closer inspection, but their animations are smooth and packed with personality. Most of the voice work fits nicely to the characters, though the audio sometimes sounds inconsistent. For instance, someone might say a few lines that sound well-recorded in a voice studio only to have the next few sound like they were recorded with a low budget microphone in a large auditorium. Also, the text is too small to read on standard TVs without squinting. With those few bones picked, the overall delivery is pleasant and delightful.
Like other adventure games, Broken Sword follows a slow, plodding pace. Youll spend lots of time examining each scene for items to pick up, hotspots to examine, and people to talk with. Chatting with the games strange cornucopia of characters takes up quite a bit of time, since youll typically be asking them about other people youve run into during your adventure and showing them important inventory items in some cases numerous times in a single conversation in hopes of gaining a crucial clue or triggering a breakthrough that allows you to progress. Exploring each location from top to bottom is also a substantive endeavor here.