I’m a bit behind with FFG stuff at the moment after my holiday (lovely, thank you) but new content is on its way soon. In the meantime, I’ve been playing a bit of Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse on my Android tablet. I’ve only finished the first part, but if they’re going to break the game in two, then I think it’s fair enough to share some thoughts on it without getting through the second.
It’s been interesting to be able to play it so soon after completing my write up of its predecessor. There are loads of good and interesting reasons for not leaving a big gap between games in a series from a review point of view, but even if they’re old and it’s possible to do so, I tend to fancy a change and, before I know it, a couple of years have passed and the memories suddenly don’t seem so fresh.
As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t feel particularly upset by the series’ move to 3D, but when presented with the lovely visuals on offer here, it does seem, in retrospect, a bit silly that it was ever deemed necessary. Broken Sword 5 looks great, and so do George and Nico, with their features – and dress-sense – finally returned to something like their former glory.
The Paris setting also seems appropriate somehow. Even if could be seen as a cynical move designed to evoke memories of the earlier games, it’s a very effective one. I guess Nico does live in Paris, although what exactly George is doing there isn’t really adequately explained: he’s undergone another career change, working as an art insurance assessor, which just happens to mean that his and Nico’s paths cross again.
The locations feel a lot less empty than in The Angel of Death (even though they aren’t) and the jolly, cartoon-style presentation also makes the occasionally farcical moment much more palatable. (I didn’t even mind the pantomime version of London that features here.)
The difficulty level has been kept pleasantly low, providing the odd head-scratcher but nothing too bizarre. The script also seems better too, with fewer cringe-inducing moments from Stobbart, in particular.
On the negative side, the story is again tricky to follow, with plenty of memorable individual moments but nothing that engages you to the extent that you’re ever really concerned about getting to the end and finding out what happens. Plus, there are some odd pauses in animation and speech at times that take some of the polish off and make things seem rather stilted.
Still, so far I rather like it. In fact, I think it has the potential to be the strongest game in the series. But I haven’t played the second part yet, and there have been enough uneven moments in previous Broken Sword games to caution me against getting carried away.