Fans of the point and click genre are in for a treat at the end of 2013, Charles Cecil and George Stobbart are back thanks to Kickstarter and fans who believed in Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse. Gamersyde couldn't miss the chance to catch up with the world's most famous American video game tourist, so please, let us invite you in to enjoy no less than four videos straight from the PC version. Of course, the game is also available on Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and PlayStation Vita.
When Broken Sword first arrived in 1996, the point and click genre was already on a decline with players at the time more interested in experiencing arcade quality games at home. The arrival of 3D in those days made it difficult for 2D games, as beautiful as they could be, to gain a solid footing. Despite this, in just two episodes across PC and PlayStation, George Stobbart had managed to carve out a name alongside the likes of Guybrush Threepwood, for example. As of late, 2D games have been making a comeback both thanks to indie developers but also artists such as those at Ubisoft Montpellier (who managed to beautifully return Rayman to 2D after a few 3D adventures), and fans are taking notice. On PC, there are more and more point and click games making headlines these days, such as with the Deponia saga, but also with Cognition, The Raven (which was just released on XBLA), or even The Book of Unwritten Tales. It's only natural, then, to see Charles Cecil back with his first love following the great success of the original two Broken Sword titles on phones and tablets.
17 years after the first adventures of George Stobbart, our blond American hero is ready for a new adventure in the company of the lovely Nico. The core design remains unchanged, of course, with the usual mix of puzzles and dialog, but this new installment doesn't go easy on players as there is no way to see all interactive objects by simply pressing a button. No, the pixel hunt is in full effect here complete with carefully walking the mouse cursor around the screen in order to avoid missing anything. Of course, a hint system is still available to avoid frustrating players unaccustomed to the genre, but old school players can avoid it completely. As the first episode in a series of two, we're looking at roughly 4-5 hours for a playthrough and we hope that the full story will manage to reach the epic and exotic nature of the series. Without the complete story, it's a bit difficult to pass judgement on the narrative, but it is promising. What is certain, however, is the quality of the atmosphere and writing, the humor of which remains well controlled. Of course, you'll find plenty of fan service amidst the voice cast, but the new characters also fit right in with the spirit of the series.
While the younger audience might find certain cinematics a bit anachronistic (see the introduction), it's impossible not to be taken by the wonderful actors who give life to George, Nico, and the rest of the cast. Fully voiced in both English and French (with the option to select your language of choice), this fifth installment retains all of the charm of the original 2D masterpiece. The original actor voicing Stobbart even returns for his original role, with his pungent humor intact. The rest of the cast is equally good with real professionals that you might recognize from other video games. The beautiful hand-drawn art steals the show here with some truly breathtaking moments to be found within, even if backgrounds can appear a little too static at times. Even the 3D characters do an excellent job of mimicking the look and feel of 2D hand drawn artwork. That said, we still have a soft spot for the original animated sprites, one of the biggest strengths of the PC and PSX versions of the time. Beyond these technical considerations, though, it remains to be seen what the content of the second episode will hold. What is certain is that the potential success of Stobbart's return will depend on the quality of the whole plot. It's hard to say for sure it will at this point, but seeing George in a brand new adventure is undoubtedly exciting.