Games Reviews: Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars
Tuesday 26 January 2010
Format iPhone, iPod Touch
They usually say, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. But what do “they” know? Not much at all judging by the incredible job Revolution Software has done with the remastering of their 1996 gem of a game, Broken Sword.
The game caused a huge stir when it was released for the PC 14 years ago (it also caused a major kerfuffle for your reviewer as he ended up taking it back to Dixons three times because the blasted CDs wouldn’t work, but I digress).
With its in-depth plot about the Knights Templar, its American hero George Stobbart and French assistant Nico Collard, it was years ahead of Dan Brown and his similarly plotted novel. It was also immensely gripping and funny, drawing on a wealth of intelligently crafted characters and it blasted off with one of videogaming's most explosive openings.
In some respects, your reviewer could be seen as being rather biased. I adored this game back then and I simply love it today. And in its transfer to the iPhone, it has lost none of its charm. Gone are the days of fiddly installs and instead we have a game that makes full use of the Apple phone’s touch screen with intuitive controls that more than beat those of LucasArts’ Monkey Island.
Cecil has added much to the game both in real terms and feel. It seems a shame that the big-bang opening which introduced Stobbart to the gaming world is now preceded by a backstory involving Nico. And yet the new part of the game works seamlessly with the old and you can’t be angry at an attempt to give old fans something new.
The game also includes mini-puzzles - the same as those incorporated in the Nintendo versions released last year. Although some may be initially sceptical that they would jar with the point-and-click nature of the rest of the game, they do provide for solid brain-teasing.
Newcomers may find the game rather difficult. Over the years, gamers have come to rely on some element of hand-holding but back in the day, you would spend days getting stuck and mulling over the solution. A happy medium is struck here with a hint system that works on progressive levels. At first you’re teased, then offered a bit more until eventually you are given the solution. Those days of calling 0898 gaming helplines are well and truly over (just as well because they’re not included in your iPhone charge plans).
In short, this is a must-play game: a latter day blockbuster in a director’s cut form. It’s been out for a few days so shame on you for not picking it up earlier.
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