Product Type: SoldOut PC games
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Broken Sword - point and click games like they used to be.
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars (PC)
Member Name: Hannard
Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars (PC)
Date: 08/05/11, updated on 08/05/11 (5 review reads)
Advantages: Some decent puzzles, and a good storyline.
Disadvantages: It's pretty linear.
(originally posted by me on GamesDomain)
It's not uncommon practice for a game to have different box-art in different countries, but this is one of the few times that a game has borne a different name; Broken Sword in the UK, and Circle of Blood in the US. Hmm. Do US gaming execs really think that US adventure gamers are shallow enough to buy anything with the promise of carnage or blood on it? It could be that they are (but don't quote me on that). What next? Will 'The Care Bears Adventures in Fluffyland' become ' Psycho Bear Carnage Mayhem' when it hits the US? By the way, the latter is an entirely fictional example. The idea of a Care Bears game is just to horrible to contemplate.
While Broken Sword may not contain the flying guts and gibs of Quake, being a point and click adventure after all, there are more than the statistical average number of murders. The game's plot revolves around the Templars, an ancient medieval order of knights, entrusted with the sacred task of generally killing anyone who they thought God didn't like. They amassed great wealth and power, but just when thing seemed to be going well, they were systematically exterminated, and the Templars were no more. But no-one ever found their stash of money, treasure, and assorted other trinkets. Until now. Dum dum duuuum.
But all that's all in the past. The game takes place in modern day France; you play the part of George Stobart, an American on holiday in Paris. You happen to be sitting in front of a cafe, minding your own business, when a clown belts past you, and runs into the cafe, emerging a moment later, carrying a briefcase. Then the cafe explodes, catching you in the blast. You emerge spookily unscathed, and pick yourself. Now, your average tourist would make a statement to the police, and put the whole thing down to bad luck. But this being a game, you don't have that option. It's up to you to investigate the matter, starting off with the dead guy inside the cafe. And so the adventure begins, as you make your way , poirot style, to a particularly explosive climax, with the remnants of the Knights Templar.
I won't say much more about what happens inbetween; I don't want to give away the entire plot. But you will have to visit locations across a number of continents if you are to succeed. You also join forces with a particularly tasty French reporter. But rather than following you around, as did Sofia in Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, she spends most of her time in her apartment, pretending to be busy. It's up to you to do most of the investigative work. And while none of the puzzles in Broken Sword are particularly obscure or illogical, it's certainly not easy. You'll have to talk to all manner of characters to get information; and you can die quite easily in this game. The creators of the game, Revolution have tried to make Broken Sword as involving as possible.
Broken Sword has a distinct graphical style as well. All the backgrounds are hand-drawn, and the characters are carefully animated cartoons, overlaid on top of the backgrounds. Chuck in more than a few animated cut-scenes, and you have a particularly impressive looking game. All the characters, as is expected of CD adventures today, have full spoken voice-overs, which are decent enough, with none of the flat voice-overs that graced the first few CD games created. The accents are a tad dodgy though. Ah well, you can't have everything.
As always, what counts is how the game plays. And Broken Sword plays fairly well. I say 'fairly', and not brilliantly because Broken Sword seems a little too linear places. Unlike The Pandora Directive, you only have access to a few locations at one time, and once you enter a new area, such as Spain, you can't leave till you're finished there. Similarly, many events only happen until you've completed a seemingly unconnected action. It's little things like this that stop Broken Sword being a must-have. Still, with it's intricate plot, and cartoony graphics, you could always give Broken Sword a try.
Summary: Fun if you're into adventuring and looking for something more taxing than hidden object games.
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