Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templar’s – Director’s Cut

So I’m going to start this review by talking about the Nintendo Wii…..cue the long silence……

I bought one of those little white boxes on it’s release day back in 2006 and subsequently sold it 6 months later. There are so many tangents I could take at this junction (next blog) but simpy put, I lost a lot of faith in Nintendo with that system. It wasn’t until recently that I even comtemplated owning one again, but it seems that time has served it quite well.

There have been over 1200 games released for the Wii, and perhaps 90% of them are fucking terrible. But nestled in between the plaethora of Zumba and Just Dance titles are an elite group of wonderful games. So I purchased a used system and went about locating some of those gems; Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Little Kings Story, Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon, A Boy and his Blob…so much awesomeness just waiting to be discovered.

One genre that was expected to see a rebirth on the Wii was point ‘n click adventure games, and while this never fully came to fruition, a few games did appear such as Secret Files: Tunguska, and Another Code: R. It also saw the return of a franchise that started many years ago on the PC – Broken Sword. Made with the Wii’s controls in mind, Shadow of the Templar’s – Director’s Cut was a fully realized remake..…so let’s break it down.

Graphically the game looks good, the backdrops are expressive and character movements are fluid. Artistically we also see a key enhancement of the remake which are character windows that appear during dialogue. These are a welcome addition and assit with long periods of conversation. Plus we now see what many of these charcters actually look like (in contrast to the low-fi-in-game models), as well as their reactionary expressions. Occasionally there can be a significant disparity between the two, but on the whole it’s a very welcome feature.

Another key to the experience is the Wiimote, which naturally lends itself to both pointing and clicking. It also buzzes when you hover over an item of interest which is neat. Puzzles too have been enhanced as they now involve gestures instead of commands, although they felt quite sporadic. Not a slight on the remake however, but I would have absolutely welcomed more throughout the game.

George Stobbart is voiced by Rolf Saxon, and both the script and his delivery are excellent. He’s likeable, sarcastic, yet fallible – a somewhat atypical protagonist for this type of game. Nico’s dialogue isn’t quite as strong but the NPCs are voiced well with engaging performances. The humor is there and has been woven deftly within the serious plot themes. Many games in the genre tend to take the route of absurdity, which while fun can sometimes detract from the overall tone.

Point and Click games by design are very linear, which become apparent when you flat out get stuck. You then spend hours revisitng every location, speaking to every character and combining every object in your possesion…all to no avail. I chalk these moments up to bad game bad design, and more often that not they are the result of two things:

  •  An extremely tenuous link is made in the game between certain elements.
  • A purposely absurd element is placed in the game.

Some might call this charming or maybe even creative, I call it annoying. Unless you haven’t been following the story, adventure games should have a flow, and these moments become crucial because they interupt that flow. It’s a shame because I HATE HATE HATE to cheat. But I also hate clicking thru endless conversations to find the one magical thing that will allow me to continue. Broken Sword had two of these moments, which are two fails in my book.

In 2013, Broken Sword can be seen as pivotal, but in 1996 it took many of it’s cues from other classic point ‘n click games that came before it. Humorous dialogue, tongue in cheek puns, and an assortment of obscure objects that help you save the world. But Broken Sword does do enough to build on it’s predessesors and add to the genre. To me it most definitely deserves a spot alongside Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. If you enjoy the genre I would highly recommend this version of Broken Sword – heck even if you played the original I would encourage you to play this remake.

Since I love hockey and hockey stats, I will be awarding +/- ratings and player comparisons.

{Game} Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templar’s – Director’s Cut

{Plus}  Added character windows – Wii controls – Character scripts – Voice acting

{Minus} Certain character models – Unintuative story points – Sporadic puzzles

{Overall Rating} +2

{Player Comparison} Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes). A veteran and a solid performer. Not a superstar by any means but any team would be lucky to have him on their roster.

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Eyes Are On: Dreaming Sarah | FlatRPG.com - Home of Classic RPG and Adventure Games

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