Although the heyday of point-and-click adventure games may be long gone, Broken Sword: Shadows of the Templars has stood the test of time. This Director's Cut is a carefully-wrought Wii version that adds a host of new content to the original game and serves as an excellent demonstration of how good the point-and-click genre can be.6207069none
Though the original game started in Paris with a seemingly random cafe bombing--albeit one performed by a clown--the Director's Cut opens the day before, with one of the series' two main characters, journalist Nico Collard, suddenly called for an interview with a prominent French industrialist. He ends up dead at the hands of a mime, and a global conspiracy slowly unfurls. The rest of the tale is seen primarily through the eyes of hapless tourist-cum-investigator George Stobbart, as it was in the original game. The story is engaging, spanning five countries and a variety of locations. The unsolved murder quickly becomes part of a much bigger problem, revealing the existence of a shadowy group seeking to revive the powers of the Knights Templar, continually sucking you further in the ever-deepening mystery. The new scenes serve to flesh out Nico's character, which wasn't really dealt with in the original, giving the main narrative a little more resonance to modern history, rather than just the middle ages. They also introduce one of the darker elements of this great plot, tying them into French colonial brutality in Africa.
The new animation work from Dave Gibbons--best known for his work on comic classics Watchmen and 2000AD, as well as the original game--bring the game's diverse scenes and characters to life. Even incidental characters have been drawn with care, from the expressions of a mute Syrian barman to the detail lavished upon the Parisian skyline. The sound is of a similarly high standard, though it can be a little jarring when voice acting from the original game meets the newly recorded content that's of a higher quality technically. The music serves to build tension at the right moments, the incidental sounds for each scene set the tone perfectly
Even with its fairly dark and involved plot, Broken Sword still manages to be funny. Some of the laughs are played at the expense of Les Americains, whereas others target one's own assumptions about seemingly stereotypical characters, be it thanks to a quick-witted but lazy Gendarme, or an aristocratic British lady with a mischievous streak. Despite the game's age, this character-based humour ensures that the narrative never feels dated.
The new puzzles slot in well alongside the old.