Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - The Director's Cut (Nintendo DS) Review

By Adam Riley 20.05.2009 10

Review for Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - The Director

UK developer Revolution Software already had a strong reputation in the world of point-and-click games on home computers thanks to its work on titles such as Beneath a Steel Sky, yet it really shook the Gaming Industry when it brought the wondrous Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars to the PC back in 1996. Now Ubisoft has lent Charles Cecil and the rest of the team a hand to bring the idea of a Director's Cut version of the game many still class as one of the best in its field to fruition, exclusively on the Nintendo duo of Wii and DS. However, exactly how well does the original core story and gameplay mechanic hold up in today's advanced gaming world, and do the new additions help to make this as worthy a purchase as it was all those years ago?

The stars of Broken Sword are George Stobbart, an American tourist with a penchant for getting involved in matters he probably keep his nose out of, and Nico Collard, a roving reporter and photo-journalist for a popular French publication who is far too inquisitive, becoming quickly embroiled in scandal and danger without even realising exactly how deep she has gotten. Both have become iconic over the three sequels that followed. Therefore, it is no surprise that for this special re-envisaged edition of the very first game Revolution has decided to develop the protagonists' roles even more in order to appease fans that have become attached to them over the years and want to see more. As a means of achieving its goal, the development team has given George plenty of extra lines throughout the adventure, plus they have even gone as far as providing Nico with a completely new storyline that runs parallel to the original story, fitting in nicely alongside the tale of intrigue that long-term fans will know almost by heart.

Whilst the action initially started with George back in 1996 as he sat outside a peaceful café, sipping his drink and soaking up the atmosphere, now players have to wait slightly longer being witnessing him being nearly blown up by a killer clown that leaves a deadly bomb inside the establishment. Instead the oh-so-familiar scene arrives a little further into the game since this time round the game commences with players in control of the delectable Ms. Collard as she is called off for an interview with a gentlemen that knew her father. It certainly makes for a good start to an old classic with the style of the PC game being fully retained in terms of atmosphere, quirky script, pleasingly hand-crafted visuals and the memorable soundtrack. Newly drawn character portraits are shown on the upper screen, along with close-ups of important events, whilst the bottom half remains clear for the main point-and-click adventure section, showing why the DS is ideal for this particular genre as the expanded viewpoint increases the enjoyment factor and ease of play considerably.

Screenshot for Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - The Director's Cut on Nintendo DS

The control set-up is rather simple and perfectly suited to the Nintendo DS's touch-screen control, with players able to move the on-screen arrow-head to wherever they require Nico or George to move to simply by tapping wherever they please. The pointer is context-sensitive as well, changing to a magnifying glass when items can be inspected in detail, a set of cogs when something can be used or an eye when something can be talked about for the benefit of giving the player more general information. Touching and holding the stylus on the screen brings up a silhouetted image that comes into focus as it is dragged towards something that can be interacted with, then lifting off the screen once on whatever option is preferred at that time will result in the action taking place. Other than that, a finger-pointer will appear if either character can travel to another section of the game, with a double-tap in that situation saving gamers from having to wait whilst the characters saunter off to the side of the screen.

The majority of the game is based around following the main story, but to help progress further it is a necessity to collect as many items as possible along the way and whilst on your journey to learn more about the secret of the Templars there will more often than not be plenty of cases where said items will come into play. Sometimes it will be a simple case of handing an item to someone to carry on a conversation, whilst other times some items will need to be combined in a specific order to then make headway. This is a large part of the fun, trying to get your head around what needs to be done next. Thankfully the puzzles are not so obtuse that headaches are regularly induced, but there is definitely enough challenge along the way to give players a good ten-to-fifteen hours, depending upon their skill levels at this particular genre. A few of the in-game puzzles have actually been changed, with Revolution tweaking them to suit the touch-screen - examples include ones where items must either be dragged around or picked up and moved to other locations, something that certainly adds to the experience, as well as helps to freshen the experience for those that have not only played through the original PC edition, but gone as far as re-treading the adventurous steps in the Game Boy Advance re-worked version.

Sadly, however, there is a drawback. Whilst games like Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis managed to squeeze a full game, video clips AND voice work into the package, this portable version of the Director's Cut follows in the footsteps of the GBA edition by ditching all speech and merely relying on the witty and engaging script, as well as the strong background music. Other than the lack of voices, though, the quality of the old classic remains, with tweaks for the better, additions to the story and a very intuitive control system. If you call yourself a point-and-click adventure fan then you definitely have to try this or the Wii version out...

Screenshot for Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars - The Director's Cut on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Broken Sword was a classic over a decade ago and remains so today, despite many pretenders to the adventure throne appearing over the years and a few games actually surpassing Revolution Software's title. This Director's Cut, whilst not as extensively updated as some may have hoped, does indeed offer more than enough for long-term fans to find enjoyment with it, as well as proving sufficiently mesmerising to enthral newcomers to the genre who may have had a sour taste left in their mouths by first-time experiences with some of the inferior adventure games from the past few years. Now we just need a similar remake of Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror...

Developer

Revolution

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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   

Comments

No voices? In the sequel the voice acting was very good. I've not played the original (I want to), but I assume the voice acting is just as good.

You don't always read in the same tone of as the speaker/writer intended.

I enjoy the odd point 'n' click game, but I'm not a huge fan. It's not worth that much money to me, but most games aren't worth that kind of money to me.

I wish GOG.com would get the original. For some reason they only have Broken Sword 2 and 3 (for $6, by the way).

TAG: That American Guy

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18

GOG.com is an utterly fantastic site.
DRM-free cheap(ish) old games, fully legal and normaly with a few bonus's chucked in. Exactly how online distribution should be.

Anyway, more ontopic, I probably wont pick this up...I got a backlog of a few P&C games to get though, and Tunguska2 I'll probably pick up when its out.
Short of Zack & Wiki2 coming out of nowhere, I dont see another P&C game I want soon Smilie

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis is already out on Wii and DS...I just haven't received a review copy of either yet Smilie

Broken Sword on the Wii is bloody fantastic, with the only thing people might not be happy about being the change in quality of the voice acting. It uses the original voices from the 1996 PC game, so when compared to the newly recorded sections there is a massive discrepancy, with the old voice work sounding very echoey indeed. However, that certainly does NOT ruin the experience, nor does the lack of voices in this DS game. We coped well enough on the GBA edition, so why not here? Sure, if BS2 comes to DS they'll hopefully have the budget to use a bigger DS card, but for now it's good enough Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Nice one Adam! Review of the Wii version coming in the next day so you guys can compare the two! Smilie

For the most part they're the same, I'd say, with the obvious exception of the missing voice work. The Wii pointer controls work like a charm. As for the portraits that appear on the DS' top screen, in the Wii game they are merely plonker in the upper left and right corners of the screen, out of the way of the main action.

All works very well indeed. Personally I'd end up rating it the same as the DS game, despite the inclusion of the voice work. The core element is what wins me over every time with BS. The puzzles, the story, the implementation of controls, the characterisation throughout - it's all Grade A stuff in my eyes Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

The new bits look really shit and out of place. I'll take the original version, thanks.

What do you mean 'look' - have you played it? They fit seamlessly into the main adventure and the reason Nico keeps the events secret from George is explained sufficiently...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Have you ever played the original? It's widely known that this Director's Cut is little more than a bastardized version of the original, with extra scenes haphazardly inserted into the game. The voice acting doesn't even sound the same.

Yes I have, actually, and still have all four PC games. It seems you\'re in the group that are over-reacting to the changes in the script and removal of some conversation paths. The game is still as fun as it always was, except now appeals to a wider audience that may have not enjoyed getting bogged down in too much detail previously...

As for the voice work, it\'s been over a decade for the voice actors, so I\'m not too surprised there are some differences (especially Nico it seems). The sound quality differences, however, should have been balanced...but then again that could be something to do with the low budget of the project (who knows).

Anyway, this is still a classic and one of the best P-and-c adventure games on Wii (and DS) so far.

( Edited 24.05.2009 16:59 by jesusraz )

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

The original PC version is still the definitive version, that's all I'm really saying.

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