Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse – Episode 2 Reviewed
By Mitchell “Moe” Long
When we left our heroes George Stobbart and Nico Collard, the duo was stranded on the roof of a burning building. After months of anxiously closing and reopening Steam, hoping for a massive “Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse” update, the second half of Revolution Software’s point and click action-adventure title has arrived. The first half of the game delivered gorgeous visuals, an engaging narrative, and inventive gameplay, setting a high standard for part two.
Picking up immediately where we left our daring protagonists, the sequel takes the pair to Catalonia. Continuing their investigation of the mysterious painting “La Maledicció,” both story and gameplay meet and exceed the precedent set by the first half. While the point and click formula doesn’t change, the challenges incorporate even the smallest of details. During a particularly difficult sequence early in “Serpent’s Curse,” George adopts a pet cockroach, fondly known as Trevor. Well, Trevor and his matchbox mansion accompany George throughout the entire game, and the scuttling bug takes the stage in a ridiculously clever solution to a puzzle in part deux.
Action continues to build, and a smattering of familiar faces appears alongside some new but old friends. More than a few pleasantly unforeseen twists weasel their way into the plot, proving once again that gaming is a fantastic medium for storytelling. What helps “Broken Sword 5” excel is the faithfulness to the franchise. There’s plenty of action, humor, and challenge. Some of the riddles in the latter half of the game weren’t terribly intuitive, but in a day when too many games hold your hand the entire time, it’s actually refreshing. Plus there’s a hint button which tells you precisely what to do.
Much like the preceding act, and the entire franchise, there’s a clear Dan Brown influence. As with his page turning best sellers, it’s difficult to put down “Broken Sword 5.” I began part two at a reasonable hour, and the credits were rolling at 1 AM. The finale of the game features an epic, magical display reminiscent of a scene from “Lord of Illusions.” Interestingly, there are several similarities between George Stobbart and paranormal detective Harry D’Amour. If there’s ever a “Broken Sword” movie, maybe Scott Bakula should play the self-deprecating, constantly sarcastic George.
What perfects “Serpent’s Curse,” and brings the tale full circle like the twisting ouroboros, is the way “Broken Sword 5” never gets too serious. Just when the shooting begins, George has a disagreement with a goat. Nico clings to a cable car for dear life, and saves herself through a discussion about philosophy and soccer. The sexual tension between Nico and George is on the verge of eruption, and they’re interrupted with an offer of food. A mesmerizing, enjoyable, and fitting conclusion to the fifth entry, there’s really only one flaw: there’s no sixth “Broken Sword” yet.
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]