Broken Sword 5: The Serpents Curse - Episode 1 - Review by Andy Urquhart (PS Vita)
When I first heard Revolution Games were making another Broken Sword game I was rather pessimistic, the previous two games had really been a big let down for me after the excellent first pair of games. Broken Sword (much like Sonic the Hedgehog) was one of those games that just didn't quite feel right to me in making the 2D-3D transition. And I had fears of yet another 3D mess.
Fortunately Revolution made a very smart call and opted to go back to the beautiful hand drawn vistas of the first two Broken Sword games and while the character models are animated differently this time around anyone who has played those original games on the PC, PS1 or the excellent iOS versions will feel right at home here.
Right from the word go it's clear developers Revolution Games have made the right call in ditching the 3D of Broken Sword 3&4 and returning to the classic 2D stylings of the originals. The visual style is simply beautiful and is the perfect way to experience the game. It looks absolutely incredible on the vitas Oled screen.
Gameplay wise it's the usual Broken Sword style: classic, simple but oh so effective point and click. This works extremely well on the Vita’s touch screen, exploring the environments by dragging your finger around the screen and tapping to interact/look at with objects. There are a few intricate puzzle instances along the way that will tax your way of thinking but without being overly difficult. And of course the familiar Broken word word puzzles (whereby you need to ask the right person about the right thing in order to progress the story further) are well situated here. This is not a particularly difficult game to beat clocking in at about 5-6 hours for me (though bear in mind this is Episode 1 of 2) an there’s probably not a lot here in terms of immediate replay value (mopping up the trophies is fairly straight forward once you know the extra things to look for) but I find these games are a joy to play through again after you leave them for a few years (I recently had a blast playing through Broken Sword: Shadow Of The Templars on iOS having beaten it years ago) and the fact that this is entirely digital means you have it as long as you have a Vita.
The trademark sarcastic humour is back as well, still nothing to rival "hey you with the balls" (from Broken Sword: Shadow Of The Templars) as of yet, but some of the lines George in particular comes out with are hysterical. I’ll let you find them for yourself in the game but rest assured you will not be disappointed. Though Moue is a close second with: “ So I tied a dog to a tree and went for a secret peepee.”
Back in the familiar Broken Sword territory of Paris, a murder occurs at an art exhibit our protagonists George Stowbart and Nico Collete are attending. Being that George's company has insured the exhibit and Nico is a reporter naturally they investigate and the adventure just spirals out from there getting bigger and more outlandish involving all kinds of conspiracies and intrigue along the way. Bearing in mind that this is episode one of two (Episode 2 will be released sometime in 2014) the story doesn’t really conclude at the end with many questions left unanswered so you’re going to want to grab Episode 2 to see how it all pans out. However going by how strong an opening act this is I see no reason not to be in for the second half.
These things all combine to make an almost perfect Vita game, certainly one of the best Vita games of 2013 and right up there with the best to date, this game is an absolute must buy for Vita owners who love a bit of puzzling and clever wordplay.
42 Level One
Broken Sword 5: The Serpents Curse Episode 1 is available now on Vita, Steam, iOS and Android devices.
42 Level One broadcasts live on Allgames.com every Tuesday @ 9:30pm GMT (4:30pm EST, 1:30pm Pacific)
and is also available on Stitcher, iTunes and all good podcast apps.
Overall Score - 9/10