The new ideas seem a huge distraction to the developers and they didn't put enough effort into making some good puzzles

User Rating: 6 | Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon PC
Point-and-click adventures are perfect in 2D, and annoyingly, the Broken Sword series followed Monkey Island into the 3D world. Arriving a few years later, it does make a better experience but it loses a lot of enjoyment and is the weakest in the series so far. Sleeping Dragon is the third in the series, and follows on from the 1st game in the series; Shadow of the Templars. A man named Susarro has taken over the Neo-Templars and aims to use geomantic energy in order to be granted immortality. George Stobbart, now working as a patent lawyer, travels to the Congo to meet an inventor. As George arrives, the inventor is killed by Susarro's men. Meanwhile, journalist Nico Collard makes her way to Paris to meet a hacker who has managed to decrypt the Voynich manuscript. He is also murdered by an assassin working for Susarro. The story alternates between George and Nico and soon their paths meet, and yet again they are forced into a dangerous and mysterious adventure. You manoeuvre your protagonists by either a keyboard or a game-pad. There are 4 on-screen action icons which change based on the context. The system was great because it can easily be mapped in game to a Xbox Controller, and movement is easily done by the analogue stick. As you navigate the environments, a shiny star icon shows nearby objects that can be interacted with and a quick glance at the action buttons shows what you can do. For examples, people can be looked at or spoken to, crates can be climbed upon or pushed, items can be looked at or picked up. The camera angels are pre-set and makes the game quite disorienting because you will be running right, then the angle will change, and now you will be running down towards the camera. The areas are fairly large too, but only a small portion of the area is necessary. You will find a fair few side areas which have many objects but none of them interactive. Areas like the streets of Paris have a large amount of doors that you can try to open but only a couple of them are actually relevant which wastes a lot of time and reminds you how linear the game is. Due to these aspects, the game will often feel like it is padded out by unnecessary running around. The game has lots of platforming and stealth sections to make it feel like more of an adventure game. It would be good to have these new aspects in moderation, but they seem to appear more than the actual puzzles and they aren't fun at all. You will be running along a path until it ends but there is a small ledge. So you press the action button to get George to place his back against the wall and shimmy along the ledge. You may need to press another button to drop down and hang from it and pull yourself along. In ways, it basically feels like a simplified Prince of Persia but doesn't have the speed or epic feeling. There are also block puzzles which would be okay if they were challenging and infrequent, but they appear all too often and are generally so simple; it takes longer to do them than actually work them out! When it comes to the actual point-and-click puzzles, some of them don't even need any thought because the character will tell you what you need to do, and some puzzles are so basic they seem pointless. One example is that you are trapped in a room and there are 3 objects you can interact with. A washing machine acts as a block (another block puzzle!), and a trolley is near a locked door. Other than pushing the washing machine onto the trolley then forcefully pushing it through the door, what other solutions could there be? There are several quick-time events too and normally come as a total surprise during a cut-scene. If you miss them (which is really easy); your character will die, but you are shown the cut-scene again to retry until you get it right. On the plus side, the story is good, and all the characters are great and there are a couple of cameos from the first game. The dialogue is well written with George and Nico being their usual witty selves. The new graphical style is great and works well, although there are a few objects scattered around which have very poor textures. Overall, there is enough about the game to make it feel like a Broken Sword game, but it seems that the new ideas were a huge distraction and they didn't put enough effort into making some decent puzzles.