|System: DS, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Revolution Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 26, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
Ports and remakes are a fact of life in gaming, and Nintendo DS has already seen its fair share some quite good, others not so great. However, the system has proven to be especially fitting for the point-and-click-adventure genre, so its nice to see a return of such games as Broken Sword. Initially released for PC as Circle of Blood and later ported to both the original PlayStation and GameBoy Advance, Ubisoft has now revived this long-time classic for one final encore on DS (and Wii).
For those who have played the original game in one form or another, youll mostly know what to expect here. Though this latest iteration offers quite a bit of new content, the original game is still very much intact. Im hesitant to say too much regarding the plot and progression of the game, as even fans of the original will find some new and unique twists here. Suffice it to say, however, Shadow of the Templars still holds up as one of the most well-written and intelligently presented adventure games of all time. Whats more, it fits almost perfectly onto the DS platform.
To even discuss how the game begins would give away too much to folks looking to enjoy the new content of this old favorite. Broken Sword is a deep mystery that begins in France and will take you to locales around Europe and even the Middle East. The dialogue is extremely well-crafted, though there are occasional bits of unnecessary information offered by various characters throughout the game. We wont beat around the bush, though this is a great adventure game that is more than worthy of making an appearance on DS. The storys pacing is perhaps the key element in what makes this such an enjoyable experience, and though it cant escape the more slow-paced nature of its genre, Broken Sword is sure to be a fun ride for those in search of a finely-tuned adventure.
In order to play the game, youll make strict use of the touch screen. What worked on PC many years ago, works equally well on DS. Youll move your character(s) by tapping on areas of an environment. To interact with objects or people, you simply hold the stylus over them and options will then appear. The system is simple and works well. Of course, there are ample puzzles that make good use of the touch screen as well. Youll encounter sliding puzzles, as well as use the touch screen to blend various things together and introduce items to characters for questioning.
Youll begin your adventure in France, and after a few scenes, an overworld map will open up, allowing you to move about in a semi-nonlinear fashion. Eventually, youll be able to move along to other parts of the world, though areas of investigation have a nice, bite size to them; youll never feel bogged down with too much to sift through at once. The game does call for a bit of back-and-forth to key areas, but backtracking never feels like a chore, since youll need to discuss newly found items and information with various characters everything feels seamlessly tied together to make the story progress smoothly. Some locales are only initially open for a bit of gumshoeing, and you might not be able to access certain elements within a particular area until acquiring a specific item or gaining access by some other means.
Its impossible to discuss the gameplay in Broken Sword without highlighting its presentation, since its the characters, dialogue, and scenery that make up the foundation of the game. The story moves along in a logical progression, and the dialogue feels natural. Youll have to pry for specific information, and though its not always obvious how best to proceed, the gameplay always makes perfect sense once you figure out what to do. All of this lends to making Broken Sword a very rewarding adventure, as youre always tasked with using ingenuity over mindless guessing and luck.