By Mitchell “Moe” Long
“Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse” marks the fifth installment in the classic “Broken Sword” franchise. “The Serpent’s Curse” offers familiar point-and-click action, while further developing unique animation, engaging plot, and clever dialogue. Whether you’re just meeting protagonists George and Nico or reuniting for another adventure, “Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse” is well-worth your time and money.
Although “The Serpent’s Curse” follows four “Broken Sword” titles, the game doesn’t rely on player knowledge of past entries. This was my first foray into the series, and I was fine without the backstory. All you really need to know is that George and Nico share an eventful past. The narrative doesn’t build upon prior events. That being said, you’ll likely want to plunge into earlier titles after playing “The Serpent’s Curse.” Relying on Kickstarter, backers almost doubled the $400,000 goal, and thankfully, because “Broken Sword 5” delivers beautifully on promised entertainment. Incentives varied from traditional game-with-goodies to signed comic books, and even a studio tour at the top tier.
Actual gameplay centers on, you guessed it, pointing and clicking. Explore rooms, find objects, use items, repeat. Realistically, play isn’t that simplistic or mundane. Puzzles encourage creativity; you’ll combine inventory items or use them on environmental fixtures to unlock clues and unravel the budding mystery. Challenges are generally fun, though occasionally you might find yourself stuck. Developers were kind enough to include a “Hint” section so if you’re angrily clicking about the entire room for hours, don’t be afraid to seek some help. I usually tried to avoid this section, but I succumbed to temptation during a few less than intuitive scenes.
“Broken Sword 5” plays like an interactive Dan Brown novel. The original game was actually inspired by Holy Blood, Holy Grail, also the backbone behind Brown’s Robert Langdon series. The tale appropriately begins at an art exhibition in Paris where a painting, “La Maledicció,” is stolen. An avid X-Files fan, I was pleased to see the Ouroboros in La Maledicció, which fellow X-Philes will recall as Scully’s tattoo. George, who happens to be a witness, is launched into a conspiracy involving Gnosticism, at the heart of which lies the painting. The Dan Brown formula is complete: Art? Check. Religious conspiracy? Check. Male/female investigative team? Check.
With addicting gameplay and engrossing plot, gorgeous visuals and superb voice acting garnish an already masterful product. You switch back and forth between George and Nico, lending a feel for each character’s personality. Personally, I enjoyed hopping about as George because of his dry humor and witty sarcasm. Showing certain inventory items to various characters prompts hilarious dialogue which incite hearty chuckles in lieu of plot development. I’ve always been a sucker for hand-drawn animation, and the intricate set doesn’t disappoint. Animation affords a retro-modern feel; the old-school gameplay combined with cartoonish graphics is visually pleasing and refreshing in a world of uber-realistic titles. Occasionally scripted cutscenes lend gameplay a linear feel, and a few puzzles were unnecessarily frustrating. Don’t be afraid to use the hints. The first chapter provides about 6-8 hours of play, and chapter two (delivered via free update) should prove equally as enthralling.
Be sure sure to read our Broken Sword series review, where Moe gives his thoughts on each of the previous Broken Sword games!
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[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/moe.jpg” ]Mitchell “Moe” Long is a North Carolina writer with a passion for all things pop culture. Besides gaming, Moe enjoys cult classic films, listening to vinyl, and drinking far too much coffee. In addition to Cliqist, Moe writes about music and movies, and is currently composing what he hopes will one day be a novel about the universally awkward period of life known as high school. Feel free to check out and subscribe to his Examiner page as well as connect with him on Twitter. [/author]