Monday 3 June 2013

Broken Sword Review (Gameboy Advance)

Starting in a small café in Paris our unsuspecting hero George Stobbart becomes unwittingly involved in a plot that would lead him into unimaginable danger. The story starts when an assassin, dressed as clown, blows up the café with George sitting outside, a trifle annoyed George attempts to follow the attacker and ends up travelling half way around the world and back again as he becomes ever more entangled in the story of the Knights Templar and their Neo-Templar followers.

Starting out life as a point and click adventure it was clear changes would need to be made in order for the title to work on the Gameboy Advance. With such a small screen finding the sometimes-tiny objects would prove near impossible, with this in mind a new control interface was developed. Instead of moving a mouse cursor around the screen George now walks around and with any important objects becoming clearly highlighted as he walks. Furthermore, if this still is not enough by pressing the right shoulder button all things of interest can be highlighted and cycled through meaning you never miss anything.

Unbelievable, while the speech and dialogue have been removed from the game just about everything else remains. In fact apart from a couple of sections of dialogue, present in the original for comic effect, being removed everything else is here in all its glory. It truly is a remarkable achievement that this version of Broken Sword looks almost identical to the PSOne version, all the locations, characters and little touches of humour are all there, truly this is one of the most amazing achievements of the Gameboy Advance.

While the speech has been removed there are only a few sections that do not come across properly. Most noticeably in Ireland where the tone and accents of the inhabitants meant you always realised you where in a light hearted environment. Instead with just the text to keep you glued to the screen things do not always come across so well and a lot of the humour of the section is sadly lost. However, the rest of the game remains as magical as ever with the sheer quality of the script shining through at every turn. The clever writing means that French, American, Spanish and even Newcastle United fans all have their own distinguishable character and charm.

The game itself remains as brilliant as ever, with clever puzzles and an excellent plot drawing you in to the game with every step. Some puzzles are made easier due to the new interface but this is not necessarily a bad thing as a couple of the original puzzles suffered due to small areas of the screen being hard to find. The game manages to remain a classic piece of gaming history while simultaneously developing a new way to present itself.

Overall, Broken Sword is a gaming masterpiece, the very fact that it exists in this format is an unbelievable testament to the development team behind it. Absolutely essential for all adventure fans, the new interface makes the game seem fresher than ever and with the expert scripting and humorous characters it's hard to believe that the game is over half a decade old. More proof if needed that class ages very well.


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