Thursday, September 20

Review: Broken Sword 5 - The Serpent's Curse [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Point-and-click adventure games are absolutely alive and well on the Switch. Though it went dormant for a while the indie scene has revitalized this classic genre and the versatility of the Switch make it an ideal platform for consuming it. The challenge now is finding a way to stand out from the crowd, and in the case of Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse, the keys to success lie in great visuals, quality characters with great dialogue, and a pretty streamlined overall experience.



If you’re not familiar with the Broken Sword series, no worries, though the two main characters, George and Nico, obviously have some history. In particular its their interactions, with his very American style and her reserved amusement at his antics, that tend to take center stage but the entire voice acted cast is uniformly good. Since there tends to be quite a bit of interaction driving the plot, though there are amusing side conversations as well, the quality of both the writing and spoken dialogue are crucial to success and while the humor is generally more reserved than in other titles I found myself enjoying the variety of banter as you try to talk up the people you run into.



If you enjoy religious artifacts and conspiracies the plot should hook you in, with George’s journey starting with what seems like a random theft at an art gallery that results in a murder. What follows is a pretty fun ride through an odd assortment of characters, puzzles, and situations you’ll need to work your way through to help make sense of it all. Where some titles in the genre get bogged down with too many convoluted solutions to problems and aimless walking around thankfully BS5 tends to shuffle you along pretty effectively and most of its puzzle solutions make sense given a general lack of worthless items in your inventory that muddy things up. Not every solution may be immediately obvious, and you’ll certainly need to carefully scan every environment you’re in for things to interact with, sometimes more than once for good measure, but I’d say this title does better than the average game in the genre at challenging you without causing pointless frustration.



As a whole that’s the gist of what’s most crucial to know about Broken Sword 5, that its production values are top notch, it’s story is an interesting ride, and that it has its own sense of humor that’s more reserved than the typical genre fare. If you’re not much of an adventure fan I don’t think it will cause a change of heart since it is unapologetically a member of the genre in a classic way, reminiscent of earlier classic titles in many regards. That said, among its brethren on the Switch it does an above average job at remaining interesting, not relying solely on silliness to keep you engaged, and helping you avoid getting stuck in trying to figure out what you need to do next. For genre fans it’s a quality pick-up.

Score: 8

Pros:
  • Terrific overall production values
  • The script and voice acting are excellent, providing humor without devolving into being overly silly
  • While some puzzles and situations are tougher to work through than others the game does a good job of trying to avoid your getting stuck

Cons:
  • It’s probably the characters that drive the experience more than the actual plot, which is a bit boilerplate overall
  • Despite the efforts to make the puzzles and their solutions make sense getting stuck will likely happen, just in this case it will usually keep you in the right space rather than letting you aimlessly wander around