The Serpent's Curse – Part 1
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
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
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
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
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.
Broken Sword: The Serpent’s
Curse – Part 2
Well at least now I know why we
didn’t just squish the cockroach.
Continuing the penchant of the
franchise for convoluted solutions, Part 2 of the Serpent’s Curse
elegantly wraps up the reincarnation of George Stobbart. When all is
said and done, it was a solid outing, by and large responding to what
fans like most.
Having made it off the burning
roof, we delve further into religious tension. Once people stop shooting
at us that is.
Things still look good, the
locations are appealing, and the voice acting has improved, or else it
grew on me. Puzzling is the thing this time, logically and ephemerally.
McGyver has nothing on George, which if you are a fan of the earlier
games is how you will like it. Searching rooms for clues abounds, and
whether it be decoding or fixing or banging on paint tins, each has its
It felt a tad too linear,
particularly after Episode 1, but the puzzling more than compensated.
The hint system may well come in handy.
Some old friends make an
appearance, but don’t panic when you see the goat.
The bad guy is bad rather than
wicked, which is probably a good thing as George probably wouldn’t cope
well with wicked. Mysticism he is much better at, which probably
explains why it keeps finding him. I thought the plot was satisfyingly
wrapped up, and the whole thing left a good feeling behind.
If you did what I suggested at
the end of the first review, which is wait and play both parts together,
you did the right thing. Breaking this in half just felt artificial - it
stops, then starts, but really just continues. It deserves to be played
and seen as a single whole.
If you do that, and if you liked
what made the first two Broken Sword games the fan favourites that they
are, I expect you will be well pleased with the Serpent’s Curse. It is
well written, well drawn and made with appropriate regard for what came
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz