Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Episode 1 (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 25.01.2014 1

Review for Broken Sword 5: The Serpent

Starting all the way back in 1996, Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars has such a fantastic reputation for being one of the all-time greats in the world of point-and-click adventuring. So popular was it that UK developer Revolution decided to give it the Director's Cut treatment a few years back, even releasing it on Nintendo DS and Wii. Sadly, despite decent enough sales, the remastered version of Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror never saw the light of day on Nintendo formats, bringing back sad memories of when BAM folded, meaning the near-finished Broken Sword II Game Boy Advance port never came to light, and how THQ pulled the plug on a proposed GameCube port of Broken Sword 3.

With no word yet of a Wii U edition, Cubed3's Beyond the Cube series takes a look at the recent PC release of the first of two chapters in the latest update, Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse, the fifth entry into the series, and the game that the fans helped fund via Kickstarter.

An art theft has taken place, with a poor innocent chap fallen in the process courtesy of a bullet aimed directly at him. George Stobbart, the dry humoured American synonymous with the series, is on the scene due to being part of the insurance company looking after the exhibition in France. With news of the tragedy spreading fast, roving reporter Nicole Collard - George's old flame and adventure partner - appears on the scene. Despite his joy at seeing her, even he quips that whenever the two cross paths, trouble is undoubtedly imminent. Thus begins an adventure that seems light to start with, but takes the usual twists and turns, taking players deeper into a mystery that first of all grows ever complicated before eventually being broken down piece by piece as progress is made.

The old adage of 'if it isn't broken, don't fix it' does not quite apply to Revolution's long-running set of games. After all, whilst the first two entries are hailed by most, changes made to the control scheme and style of third iteration, The Sleeping Dragon, did not quite sit well with the faithful, whilst sales of Broken Sword: The Angel of Death did not appear to set the world on fire (possibly not helped by barely even being recognised as a mainline release in the US, going under the ropey moniker of Secrets of the Ark: A Broken Sword Game), unfortunately. What could Revolution do, though? The fans were certainly there, as witnessed when Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars Director's Cut hit numerous formats, even finding success on both Wii and Nintendo DS. How could a potential fifth game succeed with publishers increasingly wary of boxed PC games nowadays?

Screenshot for Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Episode 1 on PC

Going back to the series' 2D-based roots was the answer! Gorgeous hand-drawn locales, with cleverly crafted character models that are 3D in feel but are painted in such a way that they look stunning and truly charming in appearance, with everything seamlessly melded together. Even on a relatively low spec PC, The Serpent's Curse was so aesthetically pleasing and belied the power of the creaky old system it was being played on for the purposes of this review.

Scenes are navigated by means of mouse control rather than keyboard functions, with a simple cursor being dragged around the screen and the icon changing dependent on what it moves over. Hovering over a person? A set of lips, indicating a conversation can be started. A magnifying glass appears? Clearly this is something worth investigating closely in the hope of finding clues or key pieces of evidence that may be used to further the story. Interrogating people met along the way, exploring every possible conversational avenue (sometimes pointless-yet-humorous in nature!), piecing together seemingly random objects that can form other far more useful ones for cracking puzzles, and so on - this is the pure adventuring fun of old that long-term fans have been thirsty for.

For this reason, the first chapter of Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse is truly revolutionary. Strange to say, but the revolution is how the team has gone back to its roots - after seeing how well the first two Broken Sword revamped editions and the remastered version of Beneath a Steel Sky have done - and polished the formula to iron out issues like illogical item combinations, monotonous moments of having to go through every permutation of item-object-person to find a solution in order to move on, and those times where knowing where to head off to next is not known. What is left is a wonderfully shiny piece of gaming that nobody could deny is simply awesome. The second chapter cannot come soon enough!

Screenshot for Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse - Episode 1 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Revolution is back in a big way, bringing together everything that made the original Broken Sword so joyous to play. Clever puzzles, intuitive controls, stacks of humour and an array of characters that excite and frustrate in equal measure. As for the story…well, when hitting that 50% completion mark to see in the conclusion of Chapter 1, there will be a definite hunger for more. Exhilarating, hilarious, brain teasing and providing a sensory overload, Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse strikes all the right chords and is by far the adventure game of the year. The king is back!

Also known as

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


Miles better than BS3 and BS4 so far. Anyone here played it yet? I can't wait for Chapter 2 in January! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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