Broken Sword Shadow of the Templars – The Director’s Cut Impressions

bs1Even though the era of the Point and Click Adventure is shining only as bright as a flickering candle light at the moment, it doesn’t stop my interest in the genre. In fact, I often use programs like ScummVM to rekindle my love for this classic gaming heritage. One of my favourite titles to ever be released has to be the first Broken Sword game, that featured everything I needed to get a real buzz from puzzle solving.

The Knights Templar, various worldwide locations, superb dialogue, full of mystery and intrigue while also mesmerising my senses with lovely animations, music and video segments. So you can imagine my reaction when I heard of a Directors Cut version appearing on the Nintendo Wii.

bs2After playing the game for a number of hours I conclude that the Nintendo Wii-Remote lends itself so well to the point and click genre, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a sudden burst of new titles and enhanced versions if Broken Sword is indeed as successful as we all hope on this platform. The Wii-Remote in fact is so well suited for this type of gameplay, the mouse almost seems like a redundant tool. The fact that I can now sit back and play the game on a large screen HDTV and feel totally immersed is just a stunning sensation, so fingers crossed this is only just the beginning.

The game isn’t just a straight port; instead it actually features new sections where you control Nico. Before, we had to wait for the sequel before we had the chance to control her, but now you have a sort of prequel feel to the story as you are destined to begin your journey with Nico before George is even mentioned. These new sections tie in extremely well with the rest of the story and fill in a little more about the other characters. There is also new dialogue within the old part of the game memorable from years ago, which I assume is just to tighten up some of the loose ends.

bs3For those who get stuck and then give up easily, there is also a new hint system that will aid your adventurous activities. Be warned though, although there is no penalty for using this feature, it does monitor how many times you use it if you fear the dreaded cheating statistics on your save game information. This can be turned off though completely if you wish to challenge yourself to the maximum the game has to offer.

As much as I am enjoying the Director’s Cut, there are issues…

Although the music is far superior to what I remember from the heavily compressed version we found on the PC (11kHz mono nastiness if I remember correctly), the dialogue remains the same poor quality by today’s standards. I can’t really blame the developers here, can you imagine trying to re-do all the dialogue from the original DAT tapes? The new sections of the game sound far more sprightly thanks to more modern compression methods though and unfortunately further highlights how poor the originals were.

bs4The Wii-Remote obviously has opened up a few more possibilities and they haven’t been ignored. The new puzzles will frustrate you immensely if you haven’t a lot of patience. More novelty value than actually adding to the experience as the small precise motions to unlock a certain door had me in desperation. It is not all bad though as viewing new close ups of items and searching areas are far more rewarding than ever before.

bs5My main gripe though has to be the animations. Before, everyone would have an animation when speaking and although this happens a fair bit, you will notice many scenes throughout the game where the characters just stand there. George may be moving to simulate a talking action, but the others just stand there like stone. It appears our attentions should be now directed to the new character boxes that appear when in a conversation, which feature subtitles beneath. I suppose for larger screens it was necessary to have something that stood out, however I really feel I am losing a connection with the characters and the environment with this new feature.

Overall I have found myself loving and being a little bemused at Broken Sword Shadow of the Templar’s – The Director’s Cut. At the very least I hope it opens the flood gates to more of this genre being released on the Nintendo Wii. It is the perfect platform for this type and would certainly result in myself and many other loyal fans of this adventure pedigree turning on their consoles and aiming their Wii-Remotes in glee. I am glad to see an old friend return to my screen, however I feel like I am missing moments rather than gaining, which is a shame. It still won’t put me off playing the wondrous Broken Sword though!

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology. Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.