November is very obviously the best time to play point-and-click adventure games. This year, I opted to play Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, known as Broken Sword: Circle of Blood in North America. If you have ever wanted to see a caricature of an American tourist bumbling around Europe, look no further!
George Stobbart, American patent lawyer, explodes his way into a conspiracy involving the Knights Templar. With next to nothing to go on, he’s on the case with chameleon-like job change powers and an amazing ability to not smell like a sewer. His amateur sleuthing is just what everyone in the story needs, or at least he seems to think so.
In short order, he’s joined by an attractive, French journalist by the name of Nicole “Nico” Collard. George and Nico spend the majority of the game working separately to answer the same questions. Their partnership awkwardly moves forward with a couple hitches, like an ex-boyfriend and clearly not having any chemistry. Her hobbies include verballing rolling her eyes at George and possibly being a cat burglar.
There are a number of suspicious and interesting characters we meet along the way, too. We’ve got Police inspector Rosso with his third eye for the supernatural aspect of detective work. There’s Lobineau, the museum curator and ex-boyfriend of Nico. Countess de Vasconcellos throws some interesting details into the mix with her family history. These are some of the more serious characters they meet, but you could almost say the developers were clowning around with NPCs.
With manuscript, gem, tripod, family heirloom, and Nico’s researching skills in hand, the pair uncovers a conspiracy of global proportions. A strange, shadowy organization followed the path George has been hounding throughout the game! Luckily, no angry nurse or Middle Eastern assassin can stop this American when he’s on a mission to maybe save the world.
It’s worth noting I played the original version due to a number of difference between it and the director’s cut. The director’s cut has updated graphics and has a few story additions. The newer version also includes a prologue and adds Nico as a playable character. Unfortunately, it also removes George’s ability to die in humorous ways. I may give the director’s cut a chance another time being that I already know the puzzle solutions from the original version.
In the end, Broken Sword sticks to its niche well. Our main character is kind of an obnoxious oaf who interjects himself in things well above his abilities. George’s bumbling frequently turns serious situations into much needed comedy. Puzzle solutions occasionally bordered on obtuse per the standard of the genre at the time of its release but were satisfying to work through for the most part. Ultimately, Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars felt like playing through a parody of a Dan Brown novel.
7.5/10 – needed more swords