Reviewed in Point and click adventures
Having never played a Broken Sword title in my gaming life I have heard many great things about it and how classic the franchise is, but point-and-click has never been my thing. Iconic titles like The Day of the Tentacle and Monkey Island just did not gel with me at all. Even a point-and-click virgin cannot deny just how beautiful and well crafted the locales in this game are. It opens in an expertly designed art gallery and here begins the intrigue and web of lies which kicks of with an unexpected death. You play George who has fallen into the art insurance trade - which really is about as exciting this game gets, as a combination of awful dialogue and clunky touchscreen controls gets in the way of it being enjoyable. A lot of the time a game can have amazing graphics and a gripping story but the mechanics really let it down, which is sadly the case here. I played this title on the PS Vita and personally find touchscreen controls fiddly and tough to get on with at the best of times, Broken Sword being no exception. Even the Little Big Planet handheld version, which is in my opinion the best title on the console, stumbles at touch screen controls. Being a point-and-click game it is imperative that the player can simply inspect or pick up any item with ease, but on the Vita I found having to choose one item that is in very close proximity to another became a real chore and ended up giving up a couple of times. More often than not I would inspect instead of use an item which caused a lot of frustration and made me feel that it wasn’t suited to touch screen controls despite on the surface it being a great idea. Perhaps a bigger screen like an iPad would have been better. Early on, it was very easy to get lost in the mystery story but soon it did not seem like the story was actually going anywhere and I felt like I was simply going through the motions of a prologue to get to the next episode. Certain leads such as the religious doom and gloom felt very out of place in what seems like a very by the numbers Law & Order episode, but actually provided the most interest. The dialogue and voice work did not help as the game feels like a terrible ITV cop show with puns that felt very flat. Multiple times I had to cringe at the supposedly ‘witty’ lines that George, the series lead, came out with and many of the jokes and humour in the whole episode completely felt forced yet it seemed like it was pure fan service, so fans of the previous games may find some laughs in it. Through the hopping around of the Paris metro, and even a trip across the channel to London, there is a great deal of backtracking and returning to areas multiple times and I only really found myself gripped towards the end of the game and when I really hungered for more the credits rolled. Puzzles are a staple of the gameplay and some can be quite fun and even rewarding once solved. However, the majority involve just picking items up then using them. The process really felt like padding and became boring fast due to the touchscreen troubles. The episode took around five hours to complete but easily felt about two hours too long as I grew tired of the characters and constant back and forth. A lot of the time I knew exactly what I needed to do. For example in one section a ledge needs to be climbed but the icon to climb just would not appear at all. Sadly this was not an isolated incident and I had to resort to the in-game hint section only to be told that I had the right idea in the first place. Broken Sword 5 has not made me love a game genre that I have previously had no interest in and I do not think I will be sticking with the series to see this episodic version to the bitter end. However the story did pick up in the final moments and with the dull murder mystery section out of the way I could be tempted to see how it ends, but only on PC as the PS Vita just does not seem suited to the game at all.