Should I Buy? – Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon

Oh dear. By the third installment the series was quite clearly in the middle of doing what I call “doing a Matrix”. That is, getting less enjoyable with each subsequent installment.

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon was an attempt to update the series for a more modern audience. Not by turning it into an action game or a shooter or anything like that, instead it transitioned into full 3D and introduced stealth, sliding blocks puzzles and a strange attempt at platforming to keep things fresh.

Basically, George and Nico and are off doing their thing (Nico trying to interview a guy with an apparent secret about a potentially world ending discovery, which just seems to be how these games start now and George off trying to find a mad scientist in the Congo so he can patent an invention that’ll apparently revolutionise a lot of stuff) but end up investigating different threads of the same mystery.

Said mystery revolves around the Voynich Manuscript, the remnants of the Templars and the supposed powers of ley lines, all tied into the enigmatic Susarro. As usual, it covers quite a wide variety of global locations though the use of the 3D RareWare Engine over the old Virtual Theatre means that  nothing really looks special. The game doesn’t look bad, but it’s all kind of uninspiring, which shouldn’t be my reaction to climbing up a waterfall in the Congo.

On the gameplay side, it’s not exclusively using the old adventure game methods found in point-n-clicks and when it does, it’s all in a going through the motions kinda way. The new elements I mentioned above also fail to really work. Sloppy movement controls make stealth harder than it should be, even though it’s basically a game of grandmother’s footsteps. The sliding block puzzles are…well, sliding block puzzles. Nothing special is done with them. they’re just kind of there. And the platforming is just going up to an interactive background element and pressing the appropriate context sensitive button. There’s no skill in making the jump or swinging on the rope.

And the plot? Eh. The characters? A few stand out. The humour? There’s some. It’s not great or widespread. It’s also a rather short game. I can’t really think of a reason to recommend it unless you *really* want more Broken Sword or you buy it as part of a bundle of the series.

Aside from less than stellar writing, pretty much all the problems with this game can be attributed to the game trying to be modernised and innovating on its formula. But the formula wasn’t broken. A bit dusty and battered yes, but still perfectly serviceable with a bit of spit and polish. But it doesn’t seem to be a genre anybody can quite get the hang of these days.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. themickanator
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 18:48:07

    Me: “Ima go right now” *presses d key*
    Camera: *trollface*


  2. jon
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 08:44:07

    In this awesome scheme of things you actually receive an A+ for effort. Where you confused me was first in all the facts. You know, it is said, the devil is in the details… And it could not be much more correct right here. Having said that, permit me say to you just what exactly did do the job. Your writing is definitely extremely convincing and that is probably why I am taking an effort to opine. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. 2nd, even though I can see a jumps in reasoning you come up with, I am not necessarily sure of just how you appear to unite your points that produce your conclusion. For now I shall yield to your issue however trust in the foreseeable future you connect your facts much better.


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