Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Part 1

 

 

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Revolution Software

Released:  December 2013

PC Requirements:  

    • OS: Windows XP

    • Processor: 1.6 GHz

    • Memory: 1 GB RAM

    • Graphics: 256 MB

    • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space

Additional screenshots  

 

 

 

by flotsam

  

Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse – Part 1

Revolution

Sixteen years and a kickstarter campaign later, and here we are back in beautifully drawn 2D Paris, with a dead body on the floor and George looking through pizza boxes.

Anybody with a fondness for the first two Broken Swords will likely be pleased with The Serpent's Curse. It has its flaws, but it’s the closest Revolution have come to the look and feel of those first two games. It’s also the first Broken Sword game in six years, and given its funding source, it’s no surprise that the outcome resembles the earlier forays rather than either of the next two games.

Not only is the look back (well, almost, but more of that later) so too is Rolf Saxon as George. The franchise has never known another George, and if getting back to what made it so popular was an aim of this latest game, Mr. Saxon had to be on hand.

Nico is also back, but unlike George we have a new voice. Emma Tate, an actor who has made a vocal contribution to numerous animated films, series and games including The Witcher, Wallace and Grommit and Flushed Away, gets the gig on this occasion. However according to Wiki, the eagle eared and long of memory amongst you may be able to discern two of the other Nico voices in other characters.

Other previous characters also make an appearance, none of which I will spoil by “bleating” about them.

Murder most horrid

As indicated, we have a murder, the by-product of an art theft from right in front of George. The art in question, La Malediccio, we have seen briefly before, stolen from pre-war fascist Spain and now residing in a Paris gallery. The prognostications of the priest in the corner regarding the painting suggest a murder is the least of George’s worries, and the trail to a conspiracy involving the Gnostic Gospels is set.

Good thing for George that Nico happens along. He tends to do his best work in her company, and you get the added bonus of playing both characters at various times in the game. But first a coffee.

The café waiter had some interesting perspectives on a variety of subjects, but I did think there was a bit much sitting about and chatting. Or rather, not getting on with things. Headlong helter skelter we don’t need, but the pacing I thought was a little flat, a factor which bled into some of the puzzle solves (why not just squish the cockroach for goodness sake!).

Having said that, the solves themselves, whilst they can be convoluted (aka fanciful), are not too difficult, and an optional hint system will make sure you aren’t ever stuck. Be warned though, the third hint on each occasion is a straight out solve, not another nudge.

Dialogue conundrums also occur, which are pretty much “solved” by asking the right person about the right thing. You will do a lot of asking of a lot of people, which again contributes to the overall pace. When engaging in conversations, icons will give you topics to ask about, rather than choosing which lines of dialogue to utter. Back in the day, this was a significant shift from most games.

Listening to the dialogue is a mixed bag. George is excellent, Nico less so, and some characters are best described as ordinary. The dialogue itself is by and large pretty good, although the intended to be funny bits didn’t work for me.

Settings most splendid

The look is sensational and is everything fans of the earlier games would want. Lavishly drawn, sumptuously detailed, and vibrantly coloured, they are a pleasure to behold. The character modelling, by comparison, is a little lacklustre, but perhaps it was always thus, and anything but the bestest characters would suffer against these backgrounds.

The unfolding story is intriguing, which is nothing less than fans would expect.

From the settings menu you have a number of options. You can choose to play with hints or not, and you can turn subtitles on or off. Various other aspects, including the user interface, can be either modern or classic, which results in, for example, the subtitles either appearing in little speech bubbles for the character in question, or being at large above their heads. Gameplay is the same, but if you want the maximum “old-skool”  experience, you probably choose classic.

The game plays completely by pointing and clicking, and cursors (a magnifying glass, a gesturing hand, etc.) will tell you if you can interact in some way with an object. The inventory is a little valise in the bottom left, and “escape” brings up the menu screen. You can save at will, although the game also autosaves at various points.

The Serpents Curse is a game in two parts, and while Part 1 stops at an appropriate juncture and winds up a few plot lines, it still stops. Given Part 2 should be available in January, I would be inclined to wait to get both and play them back to back. Despite the downsides, if Part 2 is of similar length and style, it will give you a game of about 15 hours that any fan of the originals will be hard pressed to complain about.

Grade will be posted after the review of Part 2.

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB

 

 

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