Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templar: Director's Cut

Broken Sword Download

Play On: Windows XP/Vista

Rating: 88%

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When Nico Collard is invited to interview statesman Pierre Carchon, she finds herself inextricably drawn into a terrifying conspiracy! Dissect the clues and help Nico and George Stobbart discover the secret truths of the Knights Templar. Decipher the ancient manuscript, and race against a mysterious organization in Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, an exciting Adventure game.

Game Review

When it comes to mystery games, point and click adventures are often the most intensive and immersive of them all. Revolution Software's Broken Sword Download: Shadow of the Templar is a classic title that was released more than a decade ago for the PC and the first generation Sony Playstation. The game was acclaimed for its well executed visuals, deep storyline and solid gameplay. Director's Cut, which was released just a while back is based on Nintendo Wii and DS ports of the game. It also adds in an additional storyline which fans of the first title will certainly appreciate.

The Broken Sword series has gone on to expand to three more sequels, while Shadow of the Templars is the only re-mastered version, it is also possible that the rest of the sequels will get the same treatment as well. For those of us who have played the original version, trying out the director's cut is pretty much a trip down memory lane - except for the fact that memory lane is a twisted path full of homicidal mimes and a murder mystery that spans an ancient organization founded by knights.

Broken Sword game

The Plot:

Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templar Director's Cut puts players into the shoes of George Stobbart (and in the opening sequence, Nicole Collard). The two are the unlikely protagonists in this interesting cat and mouse chase for a costume wearing murderer in the streets of Paris. While the game is often commented as a 'globe trekking adventure', the only other locale that was visited is a small village in Syria.

The game opens with a very quick introduction to Nico (Nicole) before it starts heading off for the slightly obvious opening act of crime: murder by mime. We are not kidding folks, the first NPC you meet will be a strange clown that is, all spoilers aside, pretty much an obvious antagonist. The unjustified general bias towards mimes is not to blame, the fact that a focused animation of the mime leering with an evil look is a dead giveaway.

Of course, there is much more to Broken Sword's story than the death of the first victim - this simply serves as an opening act to a twisted and morbidly curious tale of secret groups and the manipulative people within. After the initial investigation, the story continues with the main protagonist, George. As we said, players will get to travel all over Paris in search of clues and details in order to figure out what is truly going on. Many of us might already be tired with all the recent references to the ancient order of the Templar; but considering the fact that this game first came out in 1996, it certainly gets plenty of plus points for originality.

Broken Sword screenshot

Delivery:

Re-releases are double edged swords in terms of visual and audio quality. While the classic look and feel delivers that nostalgic feel like no other, when compared to new game releases, the old standards of good visuals pale badly in comparison. Fortunately for the Broken Sword Download: Shadows of the Templar, there is plenty of new artwork for the game developed solely for the director's cut. The game retails most of the original images and while we appreciate the fact that they kept the gloriously detailed backgrounds, a little update to the character animations on screen would have been appreciated.

The user interface has been kept the same, though the game's overall resolution has been adjusted. This gives Broken Sword a sharper and modern appearance. Speaking of things they retained, the small pre-rendered animation clips are still present and will be a welcome retention for fans.

Broken Sword's general musical score is atmospheric in terms of mood and location - though hardly anything noteworthy. There are a few nice tracks that would be great for a leisurely stroll, but outside of that, the BGM is mostly standard fare for a point and click adventure. It is in the voice acting that the audio of Broken Sword truly stands out. We can easily overlook the slightly fake French accents for some of the NPCs simply because of how well executed the lines are. The characters talk convincingly and both Nicole and George's vocal reactions help make players sympathize with them even more.

Broken Sword gameplay

Gameplay:

For a game that mostly requires only the left mouse button to interact with the world, you can sure do plenty of things. Like most point and click adventure games (such as Kings Quest, Full Throttle, etc), the real focus of Broken Sword is in its story delivery. We point this out because the gameplay is so intertwined with the in-game universe. Each click on an object will give players an insight into the Paris that George is treading upon. There are quick narratives on small objects that are often overlooked in the initial play through - such as the character's reactions to a random piece of artwork.

Plenty of logic and a bit of detail memorization will help players a long way in this mystery solving game. Each found object will need to be utilized with the environment and other items in the inventory in order to progress the story forward. One thing we like about these standalone mini-puzzles is that they never seem forced or illogical (unlike other point and click titles) and thus, does not distract you from the story.

Moving the player character and using the menus in-game is an easy task of simply clicking the right place on the screen. While we would have wanted the item use process to have been a one-click command as opposed to a dragging action, it is a small detail that can be easily overlooked as it does not affect the game at all.

Verdict

Broken Sword: Shadows of the Templar may be a re-release of an old game, but it still possesses the charm that originally beguiled us all. A complementing mix of great visuals, an intricate storyline and simplistic gameplay makes this a must-have murder mystery title. Veteran players of Broken Sword will want to go through the Director's Cut at least once to enjoy the whole new experience. New players on the other hand would enjoy a couple or more runs through the game just to take in all the sights and details. We give this game an investigative tourist's 88/100.

Final Score: 88%

Broken Sword Download can be played in full version format now, on either Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 - simply click here to download a copy.