Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon Review

Developer: Revloution Software Publisher: The Adventure Company
Release Date: December 5, 2003 Also On: PC

Floating through the clear skies with an Australian pilot could usually be considered a safe trip. However, when the passenger is George Stobbart, you know that trouble will break out. Surely enough, a storm immediately and unexpectedly appears. Both of your plane’s engines die after being struck by lightning; you were going down, crash to the ground, and nearly fall off of the ledge of a mountain, but you luckily end up near where you need to be.

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The Adventure Company brings us the third game in the Broken Sword series. The Sleeping Dragon is the first game to make it to next-generation consoles, both the PS2 and Xbox.

Broken Sword is actually a unique game, one which isn’t identical to any one other title. Breaking the traditional console mold, Broken Sword has icon-based commands. I guess it’s only comparable relative would be The Sims, but with an extravagant storyline, action-packed movie sequences, and top-notch voice acting.

Using the black button, you can select various items. By toggling through the items menu, you can combine items with one another or use it as it is. Icons (X, Y, A, and B) appear when you need to climb ledges, jump gaps, descend from a ledge, etc. Action icons appear above things that might be of use.

The way that the puzzles in Broken Sword are set up is fantastic. In an early level, you need to get inside of a computer geek’s apartment, named Vernon, so you go to the balcony, move what looked like a bird bath, climb it, grab the eaves trough, and move to the other side. This kind of gameplay gives a game character and is found throughout the entire game.

Midway through, you will encounter a quite difficult puzzle. In this puzzle, you must re-arrange rocks, so that a giant rock that acts as a seesaw, well, doesn’t act like a seesaw anymore. Rocks are placed at three different heights and can not be knocked down from the height they are on; this process is long and challenging.

In later levels, more complex puzzles, one of which involves an artificial river, will give you details about how to accomplish your goal and you will of course have to figure out how to cross the river with the three people that must get to the other side. The catch is, some of the people can’t be on one side of the river together, since one of the people is a murderer. That’s about all the details I can give you, without actually explaining how to solve it.

Even unsuspecting items come in handy. This makes even simple tasks take longer than they theoretically should, because you overlook them; this isn’t the developer’s fault, it makes the game unique and makes the player think open-mindedly.

The fixed camera-angles can’t move, which is obvious, since they are fixed. The camera reminds me of that featured in Resident Evil, which means it really isn’t much of a camera; it is more or less a live snapshot of one area in an given level.

The long-load times are enormously frustrating and are the worst aspect of the game. On top of the long loads, there is some slight to heavy lag throughout the game, mainly in cut-scenes. Even while the lag can distract from the awesome experience and story, the cut-scenes were awesome and had splendid amounts of detail. Aside from the negatives, the European architecture is nothing but dazzling, whether it be a small English town, Paris, or a mansion in Prague.

Before I close my review, I’ll explain the story and characters a bit. You play as two characters, Nico, a French reporter, and George, an American lawyer. The murder of an underground hacker, who is deciphering an ancient code, was murdered, right before an interview that he had planned with Nico. Seismic events are shaking the world and an ancient conspiracy by an ancient group known as the Templars might be responsible. It is your job, as Nico and George, to solve the crime, stop the conspiracy, and save the world from destruction. If for nothing else, you should purchase Broken Sword for the novel-quality storyline; don’t pass up this save-the-world adventure, you will regret it.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8.1
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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