Back in the day of 486 processors and the invention of CD-ROM drives, the humble PC’s best type of game genre was easily for me the point and click adventure where exploration, problem solving and all out guess work got you through the conversations of the massive array of varied characters. Simon the Sorcerer was one of my favourites of the genre and when Broken Sword came along it had that all mysterious adventure slant that had me hooked straight from the off. Both the first two Broken Sword games were in the classic 2D environment and it worked very well for the games but just like the third offering from Simon the Sorcerer the advancement to 3D has to come along at some time if the series is to continue.
Hopefully this will not be as terribly bad as Simon the Sorcerer 3D which had dated graphics and a lousy interface on the PC. I must admit I was very apprehensive about this game. As excited as I was about playing the long awaited third game in the Broken Sword series I was also nervous about how the transition from point and click to 3D environment would effect the gameplay. I just couldn’t imagine it in my head working but thankfully it looks like my fears were not needed.
The story is just as mysterious and adventurous as you would hope adding the much needed suspense and tension to a nice sit back and think game for Xbox. The 3D graphics have certainly been carefully worked on with some nice detailing all around. It is not mind blowing, but certainly makes you believe the characters are true and interaction becomes a lot easier because of this. As George and Nico, (yes that’s right you control two characters at different intervals during the game) just as the previous Broken Sword games they must travel to all sorts of captivating locations around the world such as Paris, the Congo and one of the funnier sections Glastonbury.
Control of the characters is surprisingly simple once you grasp that you’re in a 3D environment. The only real difference is the need to hang, climb and jump across platforms in some of the areas almost like you were playing Tombraider. A rather pointless exercise really in this type of game but it doesn’t upset the balance of the adventure of traversing cliff edges from the constant chatting and collection of items. The character voices are all acted wonderfully and the original voice of George remains the same vocal talent, which is a huge plus for us Broken Sword veterans. All the conversations and there are a lot of them through the game are very entertaining while the jokes and clues are sprouting from all types of individual people. Just like any point and click game talking and learning information from witnesses is vital to progress and there is where the major problem of the game rises it’s ugly head.
You will dread the time you enter or leave a room as the loading times are very long and really shows everybody that it is just a game rather then a gripping thriller of which it easily would be if it weren’t for entering the same room seeing if you have missed any items only to get that darn loading screen over and over again. Granted there is a lot of animation and graphics to load for each well designed section, but maybe more use of the Xbox hard drive would have improved this torment but again we are let down by the multi-platform problem of not as much optimisation for our lovely Xbox. If you can get past the loading times which I have you can really enjoy the experience of puzzle solving and enjoying the witty conversations that are throughout the whole game. Quite a few people from the previous games will appear, maybe a little too often but hey just gives me fond memories of simpler game playing. Take for instance the music. It would pop up in the game just at the right moment and in this latest edition it is no different with the same style and still gives me that warm fuzzy feeling every time a little musical interlude transpires. Even if you have never played the previous Broken Sword games you can easily pick this up and get into the feel straight away. There are plenty of details from the previous titles to help you out with the plot if need be but within the game itself there are good explanations of past events and past characters when they appear. The charm of the game still remains but the magic of point and click has been lost forever and that is quite sad.
Broken Sword is back and in 3D. I was very nervous about this title as I loved the previous Broken Sword titles very much and overall they have still managed to capture the essence. Loading times make a dodgy impact on the game but ignore this and an amazing adventure game is waiting to entice those brain cells.