Developed and published by Revolution Software, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse is the fifth instalment in the point and click adventure series created by Charles Cecil. Broken Sword as a franchise has been running since 1996 and is based on the characters, George Stobbart an American Patent Lawyer and Nicole “Nico” Collard, who herself is a Journalist.
Originally released on the PlayStation Vita as two separate episodes back in 2013, the follow up to 2006’s, The Angel Of Death had now made its debut on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 after successful releases for Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. The fact that Revolution has managed to fund so many titles is a true testament to the calibre of the series and with the use of Kickstarter, The Serpent’s Curse came about. Receiving $700,000 of a $400k goal.
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse: Playstation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed]
Developer: Revolution Software
Publisher: Revolution Software
Release Date: 4 September 2015
Price: £19.99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Developer/Publisher]
After a short enthralling opening cutscene, The Serpent’s Curse finds itself in the heart of beautiful Paris, France, more specifically inside a Parisian Art Gallery where the infamous painting, la malediction hangs proudly on display. A chance meeting between old friends George and Nico is abruptly interrupted when a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet bowls in and promptly holds the place up at gunpoint before making off into the streets of Paris with the somewhat eerie painting in hand.
With the Art Gallery, now a closed off crime scene, lawyer George and journalist Nico set about getting to the bottom of the heinous event that had occurred moments earlier. This was my first real hands-on experience with the point and click series that I had heard so much about, the art and presentation of the game already won me over. I found the controls to be relatively easy to pick up as I took control of George Stobbart, who was in Paris, representing the insurance company behind la malediction.
The first thing that stood out for me was the beautiful art design within every inch of the game. I grew up on the Adventures Of Tintin, I had experienced the criminal adventures first hand through the eyes of the iconic young reporter from Belgium and his trusty dog sidekick, Snowy. Through reading the comics and watching the later TV series, I had fallen in love with the art style and concept for the character, a hero who embarks on wild and wondrous adventures that take him all across the globe. It always gripped me and I felt the same way throughout The Serpent’s Curse.
As I thoroughly searched every inch of the Gallery for valuable clues and spoke to the various eyewitnesses I began to uncover some rather odd facts about the painting that had been stolen right in front of my eyes, a dark seeded mystery was beginning to unfold in front of me and any one of the witnesses, barring Nico could be behind it, everyone was a suspect.
The game’s controls are simple, yet elegant. To move George around the Gallery I simply had to place a marker in the direction I wanted him to go and off he set, any items I picked up could be examined at will and with ease while conversations with the other characters in the game which included a nervous Catholic Priest, a dodgy looking Russian businessman, a mysterious French Waiter and the rather clumsy yet wonderfully hilarious duo of Inspector Navet and his right-hand man Moue were fantastic to interact with, often the dialogue within the game bordered on the humorous, which I found all the more amusing considering the harsh current situation.
George clearly had a way with words, in particular, people. Although not every character is as endeared to his rich charms as maybe others are, he knew how to extract the right information, especially when provoking suspects. Couple that with a brand new element introduced to the series which allows George to connect parts of knowledge learnt in order to come to logical conclusions, which allows him to proceed further in the game.
Although the vast majority of the adventure is played out through George, there are various points where players take over control of Nicole or “Nico”, who has her own persuasive charms and intuitive wit. She wants to bag the biggest story in town and believes with the stolen la malediction, she has found it. Nico is very driven and works incredibly well with or without George.
Most adventure games have a gripping story behind them and that is certainly the case with Broken Sword 5, from the very moment the sought after painting is stolen the player is taken on an investigative roller-coaster ride that would be fitting of an episode of Poirot or Inspector Morse for that matter. George and Nico work tirelessly together to locate key items, solving puzzles in order to piece together the clues and solve the mystery and dark secret behind la malediction, this is no ordinary painting.
Their investigations lead them to some of the worlds most iconic pieces of scenery, from sunny Paris, with the Eiffel Tower for a backdrop to London and the Houses Of Parliament. The game’s design really shines through, with glorious attention to detail, this combined with the witty dialogue brought the game to life. Being a point and click adventure, Broken Sword 5 needed to blend certain elements together in order to be a success. The Art design mixed with dialogue and adventure help immerse the game.
George Stobbart is a very likeable character, intelligent, with a sense of humour and a key eye for problem-solving. His use of items to create something out of nothing was a joy to behold and with Nico as a partner, there was always a sense that this crime wouldn’t remain unsolved. There are a lot of different characters in the game and they are all voiced extremely well, despite this being my first venture into the world of Broken Sword I was hooked and wanted to delve further back into the series.
Behind the stunning graphic novel style artwork, lies a deep and dark storyline to explore. I found myself lost in the vision of Charles Cecil as I was transported into a world of deception, theft, lies and murder. I was rather saddened when the story came to end but that’s a sign of a great game, I hadn’t felt that way about a game since Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption and it was pleasing to see.
Overall, this was my first experience of the Broken Sword series and I had become instantly hooked. Being a huge fan of art and adventure, in general, this game appealed to me greatly. Revolution and Cecil knew how to tell a storyline and have delivered a mystery that will use up all of George and Nico’s expertise to solve, the only thing missing from the story was a Mystery Van. The Artwork that resides within The Serpents Curse is a thing of pure beauty, it oozes class and when you combine all of the other fabulous elements together, it makes for a wonderfully entertaining game and one I would highly recommend.