Not long ago on Revolution Software's forum, a topic was raised that had fans asking what makes Broken Sword so great, and what the series should always have. Being one of my favourite games, I thought I should dive deeper into this topic and attempt to work out exactly why Broken Sword stands out from other adventure games out there.
"Paris in the fall. The last months of the year, and the end of the millennium. The city holds many memories for me – of cafés, of music, of love... and of death." These are the immortal words that stick in every persons mind upon starting the game, and as you follow George throughout his adventure, you find out why. The mix of modern life and history plays a big part in all of the Broken Sword games, and this should always remain the case. The history aspect sees the series visit unique locations of historical relevance, and is sometimes used to build tension in key moments of the game, which leads to the gamer wanting to push forward and discover the truth of the mystery that surrounds him.
The Broken Sword series has always had a strong focus on its story and characters; this should always be the case for the player to really feel like it's a continuation of the series and not something entirely new. The greatest of detail to character development can be easily spotted in any of the Broken Sword games, and this has been a crucial part to the success of the series from the beginning. Regardless of how big or little their role is within the game, each character has their own personality, making it fun to work out if they can be influenced to help you or not. While some characters may be more than happy to help, others might not be so easily won over, leading to finding other ways around them to complete your current objective.
Along with the mix of history and modern life, Broken Sword also creates these great moments where you panic for George. When I first played Shadow of the Templars, I remember panicking about what do to when Khan was coming into his hotel room with George still in it. The sudden sharp rise in music and the tension it created, had me gripping my controller thinking “What do I do, What do I do!”. Khan then opened the wardrobe where I hid, and I honestly thought that was it. He had found me. Moments like this were ruined in the Director's Cut for me by unnecessary lines added. This needs to be looked at carefully in the next game, as great tense moments could potentially be spoiled by unneeded dialogue.
Speaking of dialogue, certain lines in the Director's Cut really annoyed me. The first line George use to say after the explosion was brilliant. The new line however, feels really out of character and out of place in the Broken Sword world. It felt too comic like, which despite the look of the game really isn't how it's remembered.
Another thing that always attracted me to the Broken Sword series was the graphics. Its rich 2D hand drawn style always made the game feel different to anything out there and continues to till this day. While I did enjoy the 3D Broken Swords, I personally think 2D is where it belongs. The 2D graphics captured the games feel and atmosphere perfectly, and now that Revolution Software has found a platform that makes a 2D game financially possible, they should continue down that road.
Apart from Broken Sword 4, the puzzles in the series have been brilliant in my eyes. They tend to just need some thought or more information from certain characters to be solvable, this for me makes the game far more enjoyable than a lot of other point & click games. Some games have you stuck for ages on one annoying puzzle that can become really frustrating at times, but apart from a certain goat in Ireland, the games puzzles are lot of fun and will keep you busy for just the right amount of time.
Adding all these elements together, with an outstanding soundtrack, makes the game what it's remembered for after all these years. Many fans of the series have been waiting for a long time for Broken Sword to return to its 2D styled graphics, and we saw bits of what could be with the new scenes in the Director's Cut. Hopefully, more information will be released soon on the future of Broken Sword.
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