George and Nico, in trouble again.
You have to feel sorry for George Stobbard. Not only does he sound like he should be driving a truck, the poor guy was sat in a cafe minding his own business when some clown came along and blew the place up! After that, things got really dangerous... By the end of Broken Sword, you would have forgiven the man for taking the rest of his life off.
Luckily, he didn't. And so, Broken Sword 2 starts off in much the same way as the first game, with George being tied to a chair in a room that has been set on fire. Fortunately, he is not alone. He has you to help him. Whatever precarious situation George gets himself in to, he is never alone. You, however, may well feel like you are.
The Broken Sword series is, rightly, synonymous with quality in point-and-click adventure games. They remain amongst the very best examples of the genre that were ever released, and are fondly remembered by anybody who played them. Mixing gorgeous hand-drawn graphics with a great mystery plot, and some good brain-scratching puzzles, there is a reason that the series has stood the test of time so well. And whilst it would have been simplicity itself for Revolution Software to just re-release the original game, they instead have chosen to revamp it and optimise it for touch-based controls.
The resulting game is quite remarkable. Everything about the production oozes quality. From the snappy and often hilarious dialogue, to the surprisingly broad story, to the enhanced presentation that makes you wonder why they didn't just do that first time round? If you open a door, it's a pretty good bet that you'll want to walk through it. For what feels like the first time ever in adventure games, you do! Hold your finger down on the screen, and interactive objects are highlighted. Touch them, and you move to them. It is simple, effective, and a pure joy.
The control interface could well have been the biggest hurdle of this game, but what Revolution have come up with instead means that control is entirely intuitive. This in turn frees the mind from battling the controls, and instead allows it to focus on the puzzles. Some, admittedly, are a bit vague, but the vast majority all carry a logic which means that most will only have you stumped for just long enough to avoid becoming frustrating. We have no goats to bypass, this time.
Returning cameos from the first title, additional puzzles from the DS version, and the best control method of all; why would any fan of the series not want this? The answer is that they all will. Everything you remember as great is still great, some is even better. The voices are the same; the music is just as wonderful as ever. But, what of the non-fans? How will they manage?
The answer comes in the form of an in-built hint system. It can be used as often as you like, or ignored for eternity. Game Center functionality, unlockable digital content, and even the ability to transfer your save file to an iPad are all nice extras. Sadly, this does come at the cost of requiring third generation hardware and above, but then it is something of a powerhouse title. In terms of presentation alone, this blows more or less everything else away.
Point-and-click is a genre that has long since become a niche, and yet it seems as if it is perfectly at home on iDevices. Broken Sword 2 fits so well that one could easily imagine Steve Jobs turning to his employees and saying "Make me something I can play Broken Sword on!" It really is a shame that nobody is making them anymore, because they clearly have a new home. In fact, I shall make a plea to Revolution Software, right now, to make a new Broken Sword game purely for iOS. Guys, you'll sell millions! Please?
Most of the iPhone essentials are short and snappy titles that you can use to pass the time while waiting for something else. However, there are developers out there that understand how much more the format has to offer. Broken Sword 2 will last you hours, having all the playability of a full-priced PC game. It is the kind of game that could convert people who wouldn't look twice at adventure games, and is easily one of my most highly recommended titles on the platform.
Bravo, Revolution. Bravo!
- Sound: 10
- Graphics: 10
- Gameplay: 10
- Longevity: 10
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