It’s been a long time since we took a journey with George Stobbard and Nico Collard. Six years have gone by without an Adventure with two of my favorite icons of the genre. Nico and George have once again met up in good ol’ France. This place has been a topsy-turvy twist of horrors mixed with adventure for Nico and George. It all comes full circle again as the two become embroiled in a murder mystery involving a painting.
Broken Sword 5 obviously involves the series staple of a murder mystery that evolves into a conspiracy about an ancient artifact. The key themes in Broken Sword 5 involve science and religion, and it’s an interesting concept that develops much too slowly. The story is relatively safe and lacks the push of previous titles. In Broken Sword and Broken Sword 2, there was always a key shift in action that would push the story forward.
This is toned down significantly in Broken Sword 5, with most of the tale leading away from high octane entertaining reveals and instead injecting mundane intermissions. You’ll catch Nico and George slumming about Paris having coffee and speaking on cases constantly. When the fun finally picks up to move the story along, it lacks passion and intrigued that the former titles delivered in spades.
You can really blame the lack of animations and stoic emotions of each character. The stiff models clash with the impressive voice cast, and it sticks out like a sore thumb the further along the story becomes. It even bleeds into some of the puzzle elements in the game, it’s almost as if you can see the obvious cut corners in animating something simple as moving a box.
At one point, George has to move a cart to climb a railing to reach an electric conduit. Instead of taking the cart to the opposite side where the electrical conduit is, he climbs up on the railing and shimmies over to hang off the side and cut the wires. Who in their right mind would do something like this, when it would have been easier to just move the box to the left with a simple turn? It’s the mundane structure of the tasks and puzzles that break the spirit of the title. It’s not boring to be frank, but it’s not enough of an entertaining prospect to keep you playing for hours on end.
This world lacks a breath of life that existed in the series previous iterations. The shift from an artistic and well animated world, to a bland cell-shaded land full of Barbie and Ken dolls is wholly unimpressive. Broken Sword 5’s world lacks character and a variety of the locales repeat too often and change little. It’s sad to see such an artistic title run aground with such a neutral visual style.
It’s a shame that Broken Sword 5 didn’t focus on more of what made the series entertaining in the past. It was more like the Uncharted of its time in dialogue and action sequences. It’s now showing its old age with more impressive and story driven adventure games on the market (The Walking Dead). Broken Sword 5 receives 2 stars out of five from Geek Citadel. Six years was a long time for the title to disappear, but it’s obvious that age has crept its way into the series bones.