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Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 24 - 2018

Switching it up.

Okay, it seems like every developer out there has realised the success of Nintendo’s latest console and are rushing to check their back catalogue to see which titles they can hastily port onto the home/handheld console hybrid. While it is great to see so many titles coming to the Switch, the fact that many of them are older titles that multi-platform players will have already seen is a little concerning, especially when the majority of these titles are coming across to the Switch with no additional content and, in many cases, with seemingly little enhancement for the Switch. Still, whinge over, let’s take a look at Revolution Software’s Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse.

bs5sc1 (Copy)

Originally released some years back after a successful KickStarter campaign, Broken Sword 5 is the latest instalment in a long running series that harkens back to the golden era for pint and click adventures. The game was released in its original form as an episodic adventure and turned up on iOS devices before later coming to the PS4 and Xbox One. Having already launched on pretty much every platform, it would come as no surprise to finally find this game on Switch.

Starting out with an art gallery robbery and subsequent murder, Broken Sword 5 is a point and click romp in grand tradition. Players will join the American George Stobbart and his French companion Nico Collard as they trot their way around various global locations, through various conspiracies and even the odd secret society, as they try to solve the murder, the robbery, and the surrounding goings on.

bs5sc2 (Copy)

Broken Sword 5 was made for the fans of the series, which goes back more than 20 years. What this means for the player is that there will be the occasional in-joke that the player will miss, and the return of some long running characters will have less of an impact on the player than hoped. It is not necessary to have played any of the previous games to enjoy Broken Sword 5 as it is a self contained adventure, but it is the fans of the series that will get the most out of it.

Gameplay is as would be expected from a point and click adventure. The player will move from one location to another, talking with various characters along the way and picking up pretty much anything they can find in the environment, before using these items to solve the various puzzles. The puzzles range in difficulty and there are not too many instances where logic is cast aside, but for the more obtuse puzzles, or those that are too difficult, there is a very nice hint system that will gradually give the player more information until they solve the puzzle. It is a nice way of helping the player out without making them feel stupid.

bs5sc3 (Copy)

The story is quite a journey, with plenty of historical reference, secret societies, religion and conspiracy. It feels quite grown up, although the wit of George and Nico keep everything from getting too serious. It can be cheesy in places, but it is nothing that the lactose intolerant need worry about. However, the overriding problem with Broken Sword 5 is the speed at which the game plays. The characters move incredibly slowly, which has a roll over effect on the rest of the game. Even when there is some level of threat, they will still amble along as if enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll. As a result, walking across a screen to examine an object can be a bit of an effort, and talking to other characters will take far longer than necessary. This is a problem that has been evident in all of the previous versions of Broken Sword 5 and has not been fixed or improved here, which seems like a missed opportunity, but does suggest the this is a simple port of the game.

The visuals are a highlight of the game. The backgrounds are incredibly detailed, hand drawn locations that burst with colour and character, and are an absolute joy to explore. Each of the different areas that the player explores has an authenticity and theme all of its own. The characters are three dimensional and can occasionally look slightly out of place in these beautifully created settings, but not to the degree that it takes away from the game.

When it comes to how the game plays on Switch, there is nothing to complain about. The JoyCons are perfectly set up for the pointing and clicking, working how they should, and there is even some touchscreen support when in handheld mode. While playing on the big screen is good, this style of game really is well suited to playing on the go. For this version of the game, the developers have included some behind the scenes movies that are unlocked as the player progresses. It’s a nice inclusion for the fans.

bs5sc4 (Copy)

Broken Sword 5 is a classic point and click game. Aside from the visuals, which are beautiful, this could have easily been a twenty year old game. For the older fans of the point and click adventure, this will be exactly as expected. For younger gamers, Broken Sword 5’s slow pace and occasionally tricky puzzles may test their patience. While there are a few good point and click adventures on the Switch, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse is a worthy addition to any point and click fans Switch library.




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