Broken Sword: The Serpent’s Curse Episode Two – review

  • Format: PC (version reviewed), Mac, Linux, Vita, iOS, Android
  • Unleashed: Out Now (Steam), TBC (Others)
  • Publisher: Revolution Software
  • Developer: Revolution Software
  • Players: 1
  • Site: http://www.revolution.co.uk/games/bs5/

What did you think of the previous episode? We thought that it was ok and maybe the occult side of things didn’t really rear its head often enough. So now we have an episode full of the occult stuff, with a smattering of the mobster storyline that was more or less finished off in the last episode.

It’s really hard to not wonder why the occult and more grounded storylines weren’t intertwined more across both episodes. The previous one was certainly lacking in the more interesting occult side of things and this episode, while it does have the mystic side of things hung up in place for pretty much the whole time, only brings up the other side of things very briefly for what makes for a particularly uninteresting section.

There are a few really strong puzzles in this half, especially when you consider some of the code breaking and how it makes you work to unlock secrets; but as well as these, there is far more content that remains either uninteresting or merely OK.

The addition of what might as well be a quick time event might throw you off for a while – which felt a little unfair as a solution, as the other puzzles practise thought over reactions. The other huge gripe we had was a pointlessly long puzzle involving a goat and having to watch it walk along a path over and over until it was solved. It just felt like pointless time wasting in order to make the puzzle last longer; especially if you haven’t quite got the solution yet.

It’s strange that the occult and usually abnormal storyline concerning the Gnostics and the Tabula Veritatis is by far less cobbled together than what takes place beforehand in George and Nico’s adventure. The mystical side of things just seems to piece together far more believably than the rest. You meet the mobsters again but it feels like the situation is only there in order to give a quick resolution. It just feels like the situation was shaped only to serve this one particular purpose and nothing else.

It also tries to be funny quite often and generally speaking, it isn’t. It either tries too hard to be funny or just makes remarks that aren’t as funny as it seems to think it is. Callbacks to previous games are a few times too frequent and reusing the same joke at both ends of the game doesn’t make it funnier.

The final few minutes of the game – which is mostly cutscenes – are pretty abysmal; the wrap up from the final showdown isn’t too far from the quality of writing you could expect from an 80’s children’s cartoon. It just seems to be oblivious to how unfunny and lazily hashed together the ending is. The sheer number of tropes in the final scene is just ridiculous; you even have to take your shoes off to count them all.

What felt like a big addition to the story at first, is a character called Eva. She has a large investment in what goes on over the course of the episode and save for the fair amount of backstory you can coax out of her in the first hour or so, she practically disappears aside from a few appearances here and there. An interesting third character appears, is supposedly following you around for most of the game, and yet she barely gets any dialogue or any genuine screen time after her first appearance. She basically gets damseled and then has a clichéd epiphany as to her role in the world in the last scene.

The outdoor areas that were promised have been delivered upon, in the sense that some were made. The early ones are great and have enough context to feel warranted but there are a few areas where you barely do anything in them at all. They look pretty but they don’t have much substance to them. Most of them are almost barren, save for a few points of interest, and you’ll soon be back indoors trying to solve puzzles and/or talk to NPCs again.

The first episode was reasonably good and we gave it the benefit of the doubt with the story as it was building up to something. That something was this episode, which really doesn’t feel like it was worth the time investment. It gets tedious often, save for a few interesting puzzles and plotlines, but the writing on the whole just doesn’t do the series justice. If you were thinking of playing the episode to the end, think of spending that time (re)playing Broken Sword 1 or 2, or even watching a Saturday morning cartoon; any of those three will have a better ending.

critical score 4

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Written by Sean P

I enjoy playing games and I enjoy writing things, so I decided to combine the two. I do bits here and there and have a twitter that mainly just announces things I’ve done as my life revolves around very little that is truly interesting.

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