Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse Review
Before Nathan Drake quipped relentlessly, hung out of aeroplanes by his pinky and Nolan Northed about the place with whoever his sidekick was, there was George Stobbart and Nico Collard from the Broken Sword games.
Like Nathan Drake and his comrades, George and Nico were globe-trotting investigative types too. Unlike Nathan Drake though, they didn’t clumsily destroy everything in their path like a chimerical bastardisation of Ben Affleck and Kenan and Kel (on that note Uncharted 4: The Hunt For Orange Soda is on our most wanted list now).
George and Nico went around the world using their investigative chutzpah to put right the potentially catastrophic wrongs. Or your investigative chutzpah to be precise.
The Broken Sword series got slightly derailed when it tried to go 3D, but Broken Sword 5: The Serpents Curse sees things go back to the way they should be. This is classic 2D point and click shenanigans with a modern sheen.
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse – Murder In Paris
People that played the first one (that should be all of you by the way, considering how often the game is on sale) will instantly feel at home. Once again, George Stobbart is goofing around in a beautifully rendered 2D Paris, and just happens to witness the robbery of a mysterious, highly important painting, which involves the unfortunate murder of a man with a toupee.
Investigative journalist Nico’s on the scene too, giving chase to the perpetrator, snapping away. Once you take control, it’s standard point and click fare. You’ll flit between George and Nico throughout, as they interrogate, investigate crime scenes and solve puzzles.
It’s nothing earth shaking, but Broken Sword 5, just like the most celebrated of its predecessors, stands out thanks to how well written and effortlessly charming it is.
True, you’re investigating a murder, uncovering conspiracies and scouring through crime scenes, but we’re not exactly talking gritty and nasty gumshoe stuff here – Broken Sword 5 is more Midsomer Murders than Condemned: Criminal Origins.
Wait, come back! That’s a good thing!
Despite its middle of the road reputation, Midsomer Murders can be genuinely bonkers, and Broken Sword 5 is the same.
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse And The Best Gaming Character Since Scorpion
George and Nico are the straight characters (with a fine line in wry quips) trying to make sense of the madness surrounding them, provided by a litany of daft, and instantly memorable characters, like the pervy art critic with a skullet who immediately wants to bone anything female, or the existential Barista who quotes Sartre, only serves black coffee and hates people that buy drinks called things like mocha chocca frappe-cappucinos (immediately positioning himself as the best gaming character since Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion).
Simply put, it’s impossible not to have a big daft grin spread across your face as you go through Broken Sword 5. It’s funny, compelling and has an effortless swagger about it. It knows it’s smart, but not in a smug way.
There’s the odd niggle. As with most point and clicks, puzzle solutions can be a bit obtuse, though we’re not sure if this is because we’re just slow generally or we’ve just become dense through constant handholding in most games now.
There’s a hint system you can use, but using it is a last resort and you should feel ashamed if you do. It can be a bit of a random pixel hunt too.
There’s nothing heinous enough to truly taint the experience though. Let’s be honest here, if a non-gamer friend walked in on you playing most games, you’d be a bit embarrassed, yes?
Imagine you’re blasting (or more accurately, sighing) your way through Crysis 2, and your uncle or your sister’s friend comes in just as a ‘badass’ voice says ‘CLOAK ACTIVATED’ or something. You’d go crimson wouldn’t you?
Broken Sword 5 is one of a handful of games that you wouldn’t be embarrassed being caught playing, and it’s heinous that something this ruddy lovely has to be financed through Kickstarter now.
In an age of arguments over screen resolution and framerates, it’s nice to escape to a beautifully rendered 2D world where you can make incontinent French rozzers almost piss themselves.