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SummaryA Must Play for every adventure gamer!
The GoodAh .. Nico and George back together again! Broken Sword fans, you know what I'm talking about. It's the type of feeling we'd all have if Tex Murphy came back, or a brand new King's Quest were to be released today. We'd all flock to get it and savor every moment, no matter what the critics say. So, it was with great expectations and high hopes that I downloaded the free copy of Broken Sword 2.5. Not only was I not disappointed, I was blown away!
The story takes place in between The Smoking Mirror and The Sleeping Dragon when George and Nico are still a couple. George rushes to Paris after getting a telegram that says Nico is dead. He finds her alive and well, but she acts very aloof towards George. He makes up his mind to figure out what is going on. He can't believe the rumors he hears that she is somehow involved with the Templars.
When I loaded up the game the first time, I was amazed at the high quality of the orchestrated music and full motion introduction. They are as good as any production game on the market today. Nothing prepared me for this, and I was delighted.
Inside the game, graphics are a notch above BS2 but still retain the charm of 2D. The interface and icons are the same as that game too, so naturally nostalgia set in immediately. In BS 2.5 the use of the right mouse button might be different than the older game. You can also use the spacebar to highlight all of the interactive spots on the current screen. Those things modernized the game a bit and were welcome.
You get to play both George and Nico at different times, but 90% of it is as George. They'll interact with each other somewhat but never collaborate to solve a puzzle or problem. A map of the town or city is used for navigation from place to place, and spots on the map are filled in as they are learned. There's only one real "puzzle" in which George must turn off the power on an electrical box. It's not terribly difficult and the clue to solving it is in a written note. The story progresses when George finds a new location by reading about it or talking to someone.
The game has thus far been released only in German with the option of English subtitles. I actually enjoyed listening to the German voices and reading the English text. From what I could tell, the voices were very good with appropriate inflections and tone. All of them sounded appropriate for the characters being played. I only recall one or two instances when the translated text on screen was out of whack (something wrong with the sentence structure).
You'll find quite a lot more memories from previous games - a poster about Broken Sword 2 on Nico's wall, mention of Revolution Software having a booth at an electronics show, and numerous familiar characters. When he first enters an area he's been to before, George recalls his earlier experiences there, and many of the people in this game remember him from his earlier adventures and talk about it. In addition, there are some comical parts that had me laughing gleefully out loud.
Like in any good story, there is a beginning, a middle and an ending with appropriate "good guys" and "bad guys". All story threads are tied up nicely in the end, and the conclusion is satisfying. In addition, the game is not too short and will give you at least a full weekend of enjoyment, possibly more.
The BadI loved everything about this game and can't find a single thing wrong with it.
The Bottom LineIt seems that the adventure genre is again in a slump with more casual games coming out and fewer commercial ones worth their salt being released into the marketplace. With the influx of game portals, download locations and other services, the face of the retail market is changing rapidly overnight. With the terribly high costs of production and publishing, it's no wonder that more and more independent studios have surfaced and are making games. The mindFactory team is just one of those.
This game took seven years to make and the loving care put into it is evident. BS 2.5 is solid and plays without any glitches whatsoever. High production-quality graphics, a lovely musical score and a delightful story all make this a great game. It needs to be played by every one who loves traditional adventure games, especially by Broken Sword fans. It surpasses any adventure game I've played this year - commercial or otherwise.
My personal thanks go out to every person on the mindFactory team and all those who contributed their time and talents to this project. Job well done!