Broken Sword: The Smoking Mirror (Windows)

82
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  *Katakis* (37881)
Written on  :  Jul 15, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars4.83 Stars

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Summary

The second game is twice as good as the first one.

The Good

When the first Broken Sword game, entitled The Shadows of the Templars, sold very well, Revolution wasted no time releasing its sequel. After six months of separation, George and Nico get back together again, and the two of them visit a professor's mansion. There, Nico is kidnapped, and George is knocked out and strapped into a chair guarded by a deadly spider. Starting from this point, BS2 becomes an adventure involving an evil Aztec god, some ancient Mayan stones, and a conspiracy revolving around a solar eclipse.

George has the same personality that he carried in BS1, and mostly throughout the game, he wears the same clothes he did before. Most of the characters are quite friendly, especially Duane, the fellow American George met in Syria back in BS1. Nico, on the other hand, decided to abandon her old clothes and put on something much sexier.

The majority of The Smoking Mirror has George talking to characters, asking questions about people and on what he has discovered so far. Most of the information George receives is rather quite interesting, and it can help the player on what to do next. Most of the time, I felt like talking to every character I met, and by doing this, it gave me insight of what the characters I already saw, or will see, are like, and whether they are dangerous.

George starts his adventure in Paris, which happens to be the same city George started in in the last game. From there, he travels to more exotic destinations like Quaramonte, jungle, Caribbean, and Zombie Island. With the exception of Zombie Island, most of the locations are real. In the game, each location is beautifully hand-drawn, making it a joy for me to walk around each location and see what I can see.

I had no trouble getting used to BS2, as all the usual elements are there, such as the mouse cursor and control system, as well as the false impression that the game is presented in wide screen. As I may have said in my review of the first game, I like how the icons appear in both black areas.

Each cut-scene in the game has the same quality as the ones in the first game. I love the cut-scenes at the beginning. (That South American tarantula gives me the creeps.) I found that most of them are enjoyable to watch, and I just wish that there was a feature in BS2 that lets you view all cut-scenes that you've previously watched.

What makes the sequel different to BS1, however, is the way that the player has the opportunity to control two characters at different times. Not many games allow you to do this, and I can only remember the last two games of the Gabriel Knight series, plus Guilty, where you get to control more than one character. Controlling more than one person in this way is very good for people who are fed up playing the same person all the time.

The music in the game is very good, and it reflects well to what you are doing. There are often times when conversations with archeologists/historians goes deeper into the plot that the music becomes a bit powerful, with some pieces of music containing drums as the main instrument, while others with chanting in the background. Also, I enjoyed listening to the title song called Happiness Is An Inside Job by Bob Sekar, as well as the music played whenever players access the control system.

Now onto the puzzles. The first puzzle of the game is right at the beginning, where George is tied to a chair and he must find some way to break himself free before that tarantula kills him. This puzzle is easy enough, as it is a matter of clicking everything the player sees. The hardest puzzle is at the end of the game, involving the player to turn two huge Mayan wheels and pressing a few tiles in an effort to open a secret door. Besides these two puzzles, I hardly found any throughout the game.

The Bad

Nothing I noticed.

The Bottom Line

BS2 comes into line with BS1, featuring a storyline based on historic events. To complete this adventure, players have to visit a variety of locations, most of them exotic, and deal with characters that can either help or hinder them. The script is well-thought out, making some of the conversations between two people interesting to read. Besides those from the beginning and end, there are no puzzles I know of during the game. Finally, the interface and control system is similar to BS1, so players can easily get used to the game.