Like many games that make up the Nintendo Switch’s ever-growing catalogue, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse has actually been available for some time – since 2013 in fact, with it releasing across multiple platforms on its way here. It also just so happens to be a point and click adventure, which is a genre that you can seem to find in abundance on Nintendo’s console too. Is this one that’s worth checking out though, or should it have stayed back in 2013?
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse puts you back in the shoes of legendary adventurer (we can call him that after five games, right?) George Stobbart, who ends up as a witness in the mysterious theft of a painting from a Parisian art gallery. It’d normally be something you’d want to keep out of, but when a murder gets involved too it becomes that little bit more serious. Thankfully, George also has his trusty companion Nicole by his side and they set out on an adventure to find out why the painting was stolen – of course, this is a Broken Sword game so you can’t expect things to stay simple for too long…
The narrative is an enjoyable one that’s full of weird and wonderful characters to meet, unpredictable twists and turns, and plenty of travelling that sees you move between the likes of France, England and Spain on your adventure. It’s easy to find yourself wrapped up in the tale thanks to its quality script, whilst each situation George and Nicole find themselves in makes for some interesting (and often zany) scenarios. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and it doesn’t try to make itself into some grand mystery that’s full of convoluted plot twists, and thankfully it results in a neat little tale to uncover.
Gameplay-wise, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse plays like your traditional point and click adventure, meaning you’ll work through a series of busy environments, collect items, talk to the world’s inhabitants, and solve puzzles. It’s a formula that’s worked for decades now, and thankfully it still makes for a fun experience here.
That being said, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse can make things a bit easier for the player. For one, it clearly indicates when you need to move on – some point and click puzzlers will let your spend hours examining locations as you look for tiny clues or items, but here it’s made clear when it’s time to head somewhere else. It also has a robust hint system in place that’ll point you in the right direction when you’re stuck. It’s something that point and click purists will probably want to steer well clear of, but those who aren’t interested in spending thirty odd minutes trying to figure out a tricky conundrum will be pleased to have a convenient way to progress.
Not that the game’s puzzles are too difficult anyway. In fairness, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse’s puzzles balance out their difficulty quite well, with most of them being easy enough to solve without having to break too much of a sweat. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll certainly have to have your thinking cap on, but I never found myself trying the age old trick of simply trying to use every item I have with every object in the environment. Of course, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some overly obtuse puzzles that make little sense and will have you tearing your hair out as you try to work out the solution – it wouldn’t be a point and click adventure without a few of those though, right?
You can control the game by either using the stick and face buttons or by using the touch screen. The touch controls are actually really handy and save you having to drag a cursor around, but on the flip side you’ll have to deal with your hands covering up the screen. It’s one of those situations where you can decide what works best for you though, so it shouldn’t be a problem either way. One thing that your choice of controls won’t change is the slow movement speed of characters, which was more than a bit annoying during the game. Point and click developers take note: gamers don’t want to watch characters slowly trudge across the screen as they eagerly try to make their way to the next puzzle!
Visually, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse looks surprisingly good. Don’t get me wrong, the series has been known for being visually attractive since its first title, but even I was surprised that the newest entry has held up so well since its intial release in 2013. The environments all look fantastic though and all come to life with their vibrant colours and attention for detail, the characters are all creative in design and well animated, whilst the framerate never stutters and ensures everything flows nicely – something you’ll particularly notice in the game’s fancy CG cutscenes. It’s worth mentioning that it looks good both docked and in the Switch’s portable mode too, meaning you’ll get the same pretty experience even if you’re playing on the go.
Oh, and I’d be remiss not to mention the voice acting, which is top notch throughout (with the exception of a few minor characters). The original voice actor for George is even on board too, which was quite the blast to the past for me after playing the series’ earlier releases in my younger years.
Developer: Revolution Software
Publisher: Revolution Software
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, PC, Mac, Linux