I started my gaming career with point and click games, but left them in the dust after discovering First Person Shooters. Suddenly, it was too much of a system shock to go back to games that have slow and mostly repetitive gameplay with agonizingly long dialogues. However, for variety's sake, I thought I would try a few of the ones that got very good ratings and the Broken Sword series is highly acclaimed.
In its day, the original Broken Sword, which was released in North America under the title of Broken Sword: Circle of Blood, received very positive reviews and spawned a number of sequels. The remastered version released for PC in 2010 was also well received. On the whole, as point and clicks go, this game is pretty good. Both the original game and its sequel, The Smoking Mirror were highly acclaimed, received good ratings and sold very well. Its popularity is evidenced by the number of sequels, although subsequent games met with mixed reviews.
There are two main characters, Nico Collard and George Stobbart. Nico is a journalist in Paris who is covering a story about a number of murders dubbed “the costume killings.” The game opens with her receiving a call from her editor to interview a political and media tycoon named Pierre Carchon. During the interview, Carchon leaves to investigate a noise in an adjoining room and is subsequently murdered. Nico rushes to the scene to see a mime standing over Pierre's corpse. She is knocked to the ground before she can do anything and wakes up to find Carchon's wife, Imelda, about to call the police. Before they arrive, Nico wonders about a connection to the costume murders and convinces Imelda to allow Nico to search Carchon's study and conduct a private investigation. Later, Nico's editor tells her to drop the story, but she receives a call from a man named Planchard who asks for a meeting at a cafe.
Meanwhile, George, a tourist in Paris is sitting at an outdoor table at this very cafe when it is bombed. He meets Nico when she arrives and decides to partner with her in the investigation. In doing so, they uncover a conspiracy relating to the Knights Templar. The Director's Cut differs from the original in that the story to this point is new content and adds a new story arc that is integrated and extends the length of the game. You can play sections of the game as Nico, but mainly you play most of the game as George. In the original, you couldn't play as Nico at all.
This game follows the typical point and click formula with lots of dialogue and puzzle solving. However, it's not as tedious as some that have you traveling back and forth through multiple screens with nothing to do. For the most part, the puzzles are not overly complicated and fast travel is a welcome relief from the tedium of back-tracking through frames as George goes global hopping to solve the mystery. However, it's still full of too much yakety yack as silly dialogue plays a big part of many of the games in this genre.
The visuals are really quite gorgeous with hand drawn graphics, the environments highly detailed and the story quite satisfying. The audio is a mix of old and new and therefore not quite consistent. According to reviews of the original, the Director's Cut has added hotspots that can't be turned off and make the game easier as well as removing the ability to die. Apparently, a seemingly grueling puzzle to do with a goat has also been removed. I can't say what else is missing having never played the original.
Most of the puzzles are not too difficult, however Nico's gate lock puzzle has something like 29 moves on the left and 26 on right, which is to my way of thinking overly complicated and you may need to get the solution online. Another new addition is a tiered hint system, so if you do get stuck, some help is accessible ingame. These tips start with a general piece of advice on where to look next, and they range all the way up to full instructions on how to progress.
Nothing much to go wrong in the controls with easy LM and RM functions. Just a relaxing, casual game.
As with any remake, opinions are varied with some people preferring the original. In the Gog.com version, you receive both games. If you like to mix things up with the occasional adventure game, this one should be on your list.