Review

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse Review

  • Game release: December 4, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Back on the case.

by

A murdered art gallery owner, a helmeted assassin, and a missing painting. It's just another beautiful day in Paris, and for George Stobbart and Nico Collard, a brand-new case to be solved. After a seven-year hiatus and a successful Kickstarter campaign, the best-selling Broken Sword series has reemerged. Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse ushers the return of the franchise's protagonists, along with a host of favorites.

It has been quite a while since George and Nico have joined up to solve a case, and in that stretch of time, the two seem to have pursued their own ventures: George has become an agent for an insurance company, and Nico is continuing her career as a globetrotting journalist. But a tragedy strikes, leaving a man murdered for a painting that was worth considerably less than others in the gallery. Since it was George's company that insured the showcase, he feels obligated to uncover the reason behind the theft and find out what makes this painting important enough to kill for. The crime-solving duo are soon reunited and thrust into a murderous conspiracy, armed only with George's astute problem-solving skills and Nico's feminine charm and sharp wit.

You mainly play as George, but you switch between him and Nico while investigating.

The story weaves a smart, fascinating, and often humorous tale. George and Nico's latest adventure is fraught with murder, sabotage, and a seedy love affair, with just enough room for an ex-Russian mobster and an assassin or two to be thrown into the mix. You switch between the two characters as they follow a trail that has them trekking through France and London chasing down leads. As you progress, the plot begins to revolve around an age-old conflict between Gnostic and Dominican Christians, and at its epicenter is the painting: La Malediccio. The painting hides more secrets than what can be seen on the surface, and may be the key to an impending epidemic that threatens all life.

Broken Sword 5 follows the series' roots as a point-and-click adventure; you use the mouse cursor to control movement as well as to manipulate objects in an area, speak with people, or use items in your inventory to solve a puzzle. Like in many games in the genre, you pick up items and bits of evidence and store them. You use evidence to drag the truth out of people or suspects, while other items, even the most miniscule, such as a paper clip, 1970s cologne, or nail clippers, can be used or combined to solve puzzles down the line.

The two sleuths hop back and forth between Paris and London.

The order in which you procure these items is up to you. At times, you may only have a few clues, leaving you to scour the environment for more evidence necessary to drag information out of your target. Typically, all the evidence required to move the plot along is in your vicinity, if not already on hand. Any and all items in your inventory can be used in a conversation, sometimes to humorous results.

The puzzles in Broken Sword 5 are not too strenuous. Most of the time you already have everything in your inventory needed to complete a puzzle; otherwise, a quick hunt around the area yields what you need. The game plays a musical note when you're making progress in a puzzle or in your interrogation, cluing you in on when you're on the right path. The plot doesn't advance until you find every item or piece of evidence in the area, press the right series of switches, or receive an answer to all questions available. But if you do find yourself stumped, there's an optional hint system. The first hint or two gently nudge you in the right direction. If you still come up empty, the final hint presents the puzzle's full solution.

The various settings are designed with colorful, hand-painted graphics, and the cel-shaded characters blend effortlessly into the gorgeous scenic backdrops. Though Broken Sword 5 is aesthetically pleasing, it's hard not to notice the stiff and somewhat primitive animations, which are distracting compared to the game's overall beauty. Broken Sword 5's rich and vibrant world is complemented by characters who are interesting, entertaining, and often hilarious. The subtle nuances of their personalities shine through every conversation, and a great vocal cast makes each character believable and memorable.

George and Nico's latest adventure is fraught with murder, sabotage, and a seedy love affair.

Some of the standout characters include the returning Sergeant Moue, who plays lapdog to the bumbling Inspector Navet. There is also a stereotypically snooty Frenchman who stands guard at an empty cafe while quoting philosophical advice. Also starring are a lecherous art critic and a young man who needs presentation advice for his mobile shop of trinkets and collectibles. The many varied and unique characters reinforce the depth of the game's narrative, and the two protagonists demonstrate a particular chemistry that makes their longtime history feel convincing.

You are provided with an in-game map, but Broken Sword 5 keeps aimless wandering down to a minimum. There was never a moment when I stared at the map screen not knowing my next destination. Even when you choose the wrong direction, the game comes up with a reason for you to turn back and try the opposite route. Some adventure game fans may be turned off by the linear focus, but I felt the design allowed the narrative to move with a strong pace and clear direction.

George Stobbart is back with a new mystery to solve

Just how deep the rabbit hole goes is the one mystery Broken Sword 5 doesn't shed light on. After about six hours, the game abruptly ends just as things start heating up for our stalwart heroes, leaving more lingering questions and theories than hard answers. The game is the first episode of a two-part adventure, meaning we won't get to the bottom of the conspiracy until sometime early next year.

Smart, occasionally funny, and immediately charming, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse is easy to recommend based on its strong narrative, memorable characters, and artistic merit. The game is a vibrant return to form for the series, and should easily please the series' and point-and-click adventure game fans alike. The answers to the most pivotal questions remain on the horizon, but it's still good to see George and Nico back in action--they have been missed.

The Good
Beautiful hand-painted scenery
Intriguing story complemented by interesting characters
Plot moves along at a strong pace
The Bad
Stiff animations
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse

About the Author

/ Staff

Cameron Woolsey has clicked his way through many adventures starring cartoon dogs, rabbits, and a talking skeleton. For the purpose of this review, Cameron played the game from start to finish.

Discussion

27 comments
Godlikan
Godlikan

Gadafi joke ruined it for me... 

Sundberg_man
Sundberg_man

Bought it for the vita it ran smoothly, the touch screen did the job, loved it from beginning to end. A pure stroke of genius and the ending left me hungering for more.

whitecow
whitecow

played it. felt the conversations moved a bit too slowly for my liking (too much pause in between replies). but otherwise, a great return to the series! :D thank you for the review :) 

oberkorn
oberkorn

Been waiting for this one, great review btw =) was gonna buy it anyway though ;)

Battle_Pants
Battle_Pants

Can't wait for the next episode. For a fan of old school Point-and-Click games, this is gold.

StellOverdrive
StellOverdrive

This is the first positive review I've seen on this game.

GreekTheGeek
GreekTheGeek

Can't wait to gety hands in it when it comes out on the vita will be AMAZING

fanfas
fanfas

Already played it and i agree with the review, as a fan of the series i'm glad they went back, the moment i started the game my lips started to smile and my mind started to remember the great moments BS 1 and 2 gave me way way back.


Welcome back Broken Sword, I missed you, probably a lot more then i want to admit.

woodyfr
woodyfr

The game is great, and it feels like BS1 and 2.

I don't like the fact they cut the game in two parts but I don't regret my purchase so far!

The game is easier that the 2 first games, they didn't add death scenes.

There's a bug in Fleur's shop (the game quits).

Also you didn't mention that there's no way to set up the graphics settings and that a patch for HD graphics will be available next week.


Good review thanks.

GameYakuza
GameYakuza

it's a bit unfair to review the first part only. The second part comes next month and will NOT be a separate purchase!

Blackened_Halo
Blackened_Halo

I cant agree :((( 


the game is (at least the first episode)  boring, the plot isnt very interesting, the music is surprisingly poor, the gameplay isnt very challenging but there is a couple of great puzzles ...but to be honest, i have been awaiting much more - a 6/10 from me

syllvanas01
syllvanas01

now this is a company that UNDERSTANDS what its fans want!! I will get this!!

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

@StellOverdrive First few reviews weren't good but new reviews are pretty positive . May be so called Critics never played 2D adventure game before .

camachine
camachine staff

@woodyfr I didn't feel that mentioning the graphics settings was that important, since I seriously like how it looks to begin with. But I'm glad to hear there will be a patch for those who want a bit more. Also, I didn't experience that bug with Fleur's shop (the one with the pee statue, right?), and I can only comment on what I experience personally. 

Finally: Thanks for the good words!

mikkeltiedt
mikkeltiedt

@GameYakuza When the second half comes out, that part will also be reviewed. Can't see the unfairness here.


camachine
camachine staff

@GameYakuza Episode two is not a separate purchase, no, but the first part is out and people should be curious about its quality, eh? The game is fun, and I feel that the second half should (read: should) do similarly well. As and episodic game, it is not odd that both parts receive a separate review.

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

@GameYakuzaso. O_o what's bad with 8 ? I don't see any cons inflicting it. GS can update the review at a later date, maybe has it goes on ;)

it's nice to have a glim’s of what could be, and a hard truth is that it isn't finished yet.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@GameYakuza It's out and it costs money :) That's quite fair!

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

@Blackened_Halo Ya the plot is not good for those who don't -have any info about real world factions , you need to do more research about different cultures . The game touches very sensitive issues like previous BS games .

ewjiml
ewjiml

Can you seriously be any more vague with your criticisms?

woodyfr
woodyfr

@camachine  You're welcome your review is good and honest.

For the graphics it was surprising that they didn't add some options because Revolution Software said they made the game with 2x HD graphics. On my screen at 1920x1200p it looked sometimes a bit blurry. At least you don't need the most recent graphic card to play.

For the bug, if the game crashes, you must switch to Classic UI.

mikkeltiedt
mikkeltiedt

@Blackened_Halo @ewjiml a vague reply. I'm quite curious. Could you be more specific? Of course it's good not to spoil the puzzles or the plot. But arguing against a review without any significant points is pretty pointless.

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse More Info

  • Released
    • Android
    • iPhone/iPod
    • + 5 more
    • Macintosh
    • Mobile
    • PC
    • PlayStation Vita
    • Unix/Linux
    George Stobbart and Nico Collard reunite for a new adventure in Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse.
    7.5
    Average User RatingOut of 58 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse
    Developed by:
    Revolution Software
    Published by:
    Revolution, , Revolution Software, Koch Media
    Genres:
    Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms