Name: Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – Director’s Cut
Genre: Adventure, Puzzle
Platform: Wii, DS (Reviewed on Wii)
It is no secret that I am a big fan of the point-and-click adventure genre. While adventure games thrived in the 90s, new games in the genre were pretty much nonexistent until a couple of years ago, when point-and-click titles started slowly but surely appearing on store shelves again. The Wii has been hailed by many as the perfect platform for this sort of game, and more and more developers seem to be finding that the case. The latest adventure game to make its way to the Wii is Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – Director’s Cut, a remake of a PC game from 1996. Even though the game is now over a decade old, it’s still highly enjoyable, with enough new content to justify the need for a remake.
As the “director’s cut” in the title implies, this is more than just a port of the original Broken Sword. The game has been extended, with a new prologue, extra puzzles, and slightly modified graphics and sounds. The game opens in Paris, with journalist Nicole Collard investigating what, at first, appears to be a simple murder mystery; soon American tourist George Stobbard gets involved as well, and together the pair unravel a centuries-old mystery while attempting to thwart a group of murderous fanatics. The story is pretty interesting (although a bit cheesy at parts), and takes place in several countries throughout Europe, which means the settings are varied and there is always something new to see.
For the most part, the gameplay in Broken Sword is standard for the adventure genre; pointing and clicking your way through various locations, collecting random objects, and talking to everyone in sight. However, one of the reasons this game is so interesting is that the pointing and clicking is broken up by Professor Layton-esque puzzles, which are fun to solve and necessary to advance in the game. For the most part, the Wii remote works perfectly for all aspects of the game, although it was a bit wonky in a couple of puzzles in which the remote had to be turned to simulate the opening of a combination lock of sorts. Even then, it wasn’t enough to hinder my progress.
For the most part, the animated graphics have remained unchanged, which makes them look both dated and comforting at the same time. The art style is reminiscent of older animated movies, or games from the same era, such as Blazing Dragons. It actually made me a bit nostalgic, despite having never played this game before, and I really didn’t mind the antiquated nature of the visuals. New character art was used for talking to characters in order for the player to get a better look at each person involved. New dialogue was also recorded for the remake, which is both good and bad. The voice work itself is more than adequate, but when the new and old sound files are placed together, the difference is extremely noticeable, and a bit distracting.
Almost every game in the point-and-click genre has the same major problem: the lack of replay value. Unfortunately, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars also fits into this category. With only one ending, and fairly linear gameplay, there aren’t many reasons to play this through a second time, unless enough time has passed that you have forgotten most of the puzzles. However, that’s a small price to pay for a very solid, extremely fun ten-to-twelve hour gaming experience.
It may not have been the most memorable point-and-click adventure of the 90s, but the remake of Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is definitely a stand-out title on the Wii. In fact, I really hope that Ubisoft brings the sequels to the Wii as well, because I would gladly play through all of them. While some of the technical aspects are a bit dated, there is enough new content here to justify a purchase even if you have played the game before. The comeback of the point-and-click genre might be slow, but if I keep being able to play games like this, I’ll be happy.