Forgotten Gems of Gaming: Broken Sword

The Broken Sword series harks back to a simpler time, when the PC was used for more than just World of Warcraft and porn.

Broken Sword is a series that has spanned 10 years and provided gamers with 4 installments of its mystery adventuring fun and is one of the most fondly remembered series€™ in gaming. Sadly, in the modern gaming world it is hard to see the games developers breaking anymore swords in the near future. Developed by the brilliant Revolution Software who are also responsible for one of the greatest adventure games of all time; Beneath a Steel Sky, The Broken Sword series harks back to a simpler time, when the PC was used for more than just World of Warcraft and porn. It all began in 1996 with Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars which was a classic Point-and-Click adventure. Cinematic globetrotting gameplay and a well written script made The Shadow of the Templar an instant hit. Point-and-click adventure is one of the worsted names for a genre ever, long and clumsy and doesn't tell you anything about the game. Why has no one ever taken the time to even abbreviate it is beyond me. I know it kinda describes what you do in the game, but it€™s still too long. What is wrong with PaCa? Or just PaC, as the adventure part goes without saying anyway. PaC, that sounds great, it€™s edgy and cool for a new generation. When we live in a world in which there is an obscure sub-genre called 4X, I think we can get PaC to stick. But anyway The Shadow of the Templar and its just as enthralling sequel Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror utilise a cartoon style, similar to early 90€™s Disney films. The player guides the main character George Stobbart through the games locations using the pointer to interact with people and objects to progress the story, which makes for some puzzling situations and at times, some quick movements. This is one of the great factors about the series; the tricky yet generally logical challenges that make up the core gameplay.
As you might have guessed from this PaC, there is a pointer. The pointer is designed to be controlled by the trusty PC mouse, but these games have now been released on every gaming platform ever including the GBA, Apple€™s iOS and the Wii, all of which are missing a mouse. Originally released for the PC and original Playstation, the trend to release mouse dependent PC games onto consoles has thankfully died in modern gaming. It was always confusing that they would release Command & Conquer or Discworld to be used with a controller and pretend as though it was fine, when it wasn't. Thankfully, newer games have found ways of controlling on the consoles, as seen in games such as Dreamfall or Halo Wars. The games focus on conversational dialog between the two main characters, the American George and the French Nico, rather than questions and answers. This helped move the story along and create a more believable script. The locations are one of the stand-out elements in Broken Sword and the game mixes real life locations with fictional ones to add to the believability of the twisting story. From Paris to tropical islands, the games invite you into their imaginative world. The third and later the forth installments in the series took the graphic design in a new direction, as times were changing and Broken Sword was attempting to keep up. Released six years after The Smoking Mirror in 2003 Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon came out, with what the trailer described as; €œThe next generation of adventure." They ditched the classic Disney feel of its predecessors and instead went for 3D graphics. Though still keeping the same PaC system and core gameplay, The Sleeping Dragon and later Broken Sword: The Angel of Death in 2006 updated and modernised the series. Although they are both great games and certainly worth a play-through, it is often sighted that they fail to capture the charm of the originals.
It doesn€™t look like fans of the series are going to get a fully fledged installment any time soon, unless Revolution can copy Double Fine€™s foray into the fan funded world of Kickstarter. It seams that in this modern gaming world the PaC game has been all but resigned to gamer memory. The developers have mentioned that the series is not over, yet there are no signs that any Broken Sword games are in development. There are talks of a film adaptation which could prove positive for the franchise. There have been remakes of the games and even a fan-made freeware game in the form of Broken Sword 2.5: The Return of the Templars.