The Broken Sword series is a set of games I’ve always wanted to play through, but for one reason or another I never got round to it. Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign enough money was raised so that Broken Sword 5 – The Serpents Curse Episode 1 has now been released, and this was the perfect excuse to give my PS Vita a try.
The game starts with a tutorial to show you how to get around the game using the Vita’s touchscreen and it was here where I noticed the first problem with the game, if clues were close together it became difficult to select the right item first time, also items with actions attached to them meant you would sometimes click away from what you were trying to focus on. Adding a context menu may not have looked as seamless but it may have made the game work a bit better.
Once you have completed the tutorial you can begin the game. The Serpents curse sees the return of George and Nina who reunite just in time to become embroiled in a murder mystery. You start the game inside a Partisan gallery, the owner of the gallery is dead and a painting is missing, George is acting on behalf of an insurer, so he’ll need to investigate his way around Paris to find out who the killer is.
Compared to some of the Broken Sword stories, this is not the most exciting plot, but the puzzles for the most part are quite good, and the game will happily let you get on with solving then, but also knows when to step in and guide you in the right direction. Everything you will need to solve a puzzle will either be in the room your are in or will be sat in your inventory, which gets pretty busy and full of things you’ll never end up needing oddly.
The game moves very slowly, both in story and gameplay, and becomes quite frustrating. It can take an age for characters to walk across the room and begin to interact with other NPC or items. Thanks to the fiddly nature of the game you can wait ages to select the wrong item which gets frustrating pretty quickly. The game could do with more of a sense of pressure, a bit like the Walking Dead, so when George says things like “We don’t have long!”there should be a sense or urgency, otherwise it takes the fun out of the game.
The 2D animation is gorgeous and looks brilliant on the Vita screen. Similarly, the voice acting is also good too, but it’s let down slightly by the awkward pauses in dialogue and some rubbish jokes. There are a few technical issues with the game as well; characters when talking would sometimes disappear and on at least 6 occasion the game would completely crash leaving me to power off my Vita, but thankfully the game saves fairly often so I never lost too much progress.
This was one of those games that despite the issues I couldn’t help going back to play, I’m really hoping that the second episode is much improved on this poor effort, as the mad person in me wants to know what happens, but if I go back it’s going to take all of my effort go through the same mechanics again.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Format: PlayStation Vita Release: 18/12/13
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Broken Sword 5: The Serpents Curse – Episode 1 for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 10 days on a PlayStation Vita. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.