Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - The Director's Cut - NDS - Review
Anyone who remembers the old point-and-click adventure games of old will certainly have fond memories of Monkey Island, the King’s Quest series and even the original Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars. Games have changed a lot since those days of the early PC adventure games and that’s fine but it is quite sad to see those games start to fade from memory. Well, thankfully, adventure games have found a good home on the Nintendo DS and that, my friends, is a very good thing. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars is getting The Director’s Cut treatment on the DS and adventure game fans will be pleasantly surprised.
The Director’s Cut label does add more depth to an already deep and enchanting story rich with mysteries and ancient conspiracies that - personally speaking - was far more plausible than anything Dan Brown introduced in “The Davinci Code.” The story begins in Paris with photojournalist Nico Collard who has been assigned to interview media mogul Pierre Carchon in his estate when an intruder breaks into mansion. Nico arrives in time to see a mime standing over Carchon’s corpse and, as he beckons her to come closer, the killer mime knocks her out.
Oh, but that is just the beginning. After waking up, Nico convinces Mrs. Carchon to look around for clues as to why somebody would want her husband dead when she finds clues that not only point to the fact that her father knew Pierre Carchon but to strange symbols pertaining to ancient order of the Knights Templar and the secret society working to restore them back in power. Nico isn’t the only one involved in solving the mystery; a young American tourist named George Stobbart joins Nico and offers his own perspective of the events that will unfold because of their investigation.
The story is intricately told and its tone, while dark and mature, isn’t without its genuinely comedic moments. While the puzzles and the investigating itself will have you focusing on your surrounding and items, it doesn’t take away from the rich storytelling and character development. Nico and George have personality despite the absence of the appealing voice work from the original. Even the many colorful cast of characters they meet have personality and you’ll be drawn into the story the way a good adventure game does. In other words, despite its dated appearance, the story is actually quite timeless and holds up well.
Using the Stylus, you control the character and point at items of interest seeing as the lower touch screen is where most of the action takes place. The top screen is mainly used for displaying information, text dialogue, establishing your current location and displaying your character’s portrait during conversations. If you want Nico or George to move to a certain spot, just tap said spot with your Stylus and the character will move. Want to check out a painting on the wall? Simply move the Stylus over the painting and an Eye icon will pop up. If something can be manipulated, you’ll see icons that tell you something can be picked up, inspected or can be interacted with in different ways.
The investigating part of the game has you speaking with different characters, oftentimes conversations lead to more clues and insight depending on the topics you can chose. Unlike other games were you are given conversational options, portraits of the people or things you would like to talk about pop up. Sometimes you can even give nasty or kind answers to questions. Sometimes, a kind word will have people warm up to you and open doors that would normally be closed to you.
Solving puzzles can be challenging at one time and simple at other times. Some puzzles will require you to obtain certain objects you must join or use together to solve the big picture. Others are so easy that they require very little thought. The lock with the hexagonal keyhole opens with (gasp) the hexagonal-shaped key … that sort of thing. Still, the puzzles overall make this a wonderfully challenging game.
While the game doesn’t feel like an innovative DS game, the handheld is the perfect platform for adventure games and Broken Sword proves this. It takes awhile to get use to the Stylus controls but, in the end, the touch screen is responsive enough to keep the flow of the game going nicely throughout the game. I just wish the characters didn’t have to move so sluggishly at times.
Broken Sword’s graphics might be dated but it looks really good on the DS and the animation is smooth and the backgrounds are delightfully colorful. While still close to the original, the character portraits seemed to have been updated a little and they’re still filled with various facial expressions. The game also brings the original’s beautiful soundtrack but, as I mentioned, the voices are gone. Well, at least the sound effects are somewhat intact.
The Director’s Cut of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars is a worthwhile adventure game fit for the Nintendo DS. It’s great to see this timeless classic handled well on the DS and even more so an adventure game with a mature and deep story. Even if you’ve played the game before, it might be a good idea to revisit this game once again.
Review Scoring Details for The Director’s Cut Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars
A story rich in conspiracies, great plot twists and interesting characters make this mystery even more intriguing. The extra content adds to the mystery perfectly but the real surprise here is that the handheld certainly does adventure games feel comfortable. Plus, at last, there is proof that mimes are evil.
Despite its dated appearance, the visuals are still colorful and nicely detailed. Even the character models look good in this game so it’s great to see that the DS is capable of displaying graphics this good.
It’s great to hear the gorgeous soundtrack even if it does sound a bit stifled by the DS’ speakers. Sadly, the voices aren’t present but at least some of the sound effects can be found in the game.
Some of the puzzles will be obvious from the start while others require a lot more thought. Either way, you’re in for a challenging mystery.
This is an adventure game of the old-school variety but it still feels just as fresh as it did back in the day. The Nintendo DS is certainly a good handheld for a game of this nature and it certainly shows thanks to the touch screen and Stylus control. The new scenes add more depth to an already deep story.
Still as delightfully charming and rewarding as it was when it was first released, the Director’s Cut of Broken Sword for the DS will not fail to amuse. If this is your first time playing the game then you will most definitely be surprised by its rich storytelling and fun puzzles. If it isn’t, you’ll be glad you played this one again.