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Broken Sword 2
"In a (gaming) world obsessed by 3D polygon graphics, Broken sword 2 is a bit of a surprise, but a welcome and long overdue one." Image Loading...
Developer: Revolution
Distributor: Sony
Game Type: Adventure
Review Date: Jan 00
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Setting the Scene:
 
       In this game, the sequel to the much-acclaimed Broken Sword, you are George Stobbart, American Tourist, taking a break with your girlfriend Nicole in Paris. You are called to a meeting with a reputed French professor when you are suddenly and violently separated from Nicole by a huge native South American with a big hairy spider. This is where your journey begins, a journey that will take your from Paris, through Marseilles, the Caribbean and Central America in an effort to prevent and evil Mayan deity from causing a modern day catastrophe.

For 30 or more hours you will take on the role of George and Nicole to solve a mystery older than time whose outcome will effect the future of the world in which you live. Solve puzzles, dodge flatulent security guards, and interact with multiple unique characters with unique personalities and feed them dog biscuits, what else could you possibly ask for?
 
Genre:
 
      Broken Sword 2 is a graphical Point-and-click adventure in the same vein as such classics as Sierra's Quest series (Kings, Space, Police and Hero's), Leisure Suit Larry and The Secret of Monkey Island.

While not strictly speaking an RPG, Broken Sword 2 casts you in a role where you take control of a character and control their actions as you progress through the adventures in the game.
 
Sound and Vision:
 
       Two things really stand out in this game, the full speech and the atmospheric musical score.
 
In a perfect world James Earl Jones would play all spoken acting parts in PlayStation games. Unfortunately this isn't a perfect world and most games that have spoken parts sound like the out of work brother or sister of the lead programmer plays them. Fortunately for us, Broken Sword 2 breaks the mould again. I can not fault the speech in this game, at all times it sounds natural, the correct emotions are conveyed at the right time and the various character accents sound realistic and convincing. If you don't like the speech, you can turn it off and read the on-screen text (which you can turn on/off as you wish).
 
The quality continues with the musical score. As the scenes and events in the game unfold the music ebbs and flows between orchestral and suspenseful tunes. Just like a movie, whenever a major event occurs in the game, the music conveys the theme portrayed by the event. It seems that these days most games have music as an after thought, in the case of Broken Sword 2 the music as actually and integral part and enriches and increases your enjoyment of the game.
 
Image Loading...In a (gaming) world obsessed by 3D polygon graphics, multiple flying sprites and texture mapped environments all running at 60fps, Broken sword 2 is a bit of a surprise, but a welcome and long overdue one. The lack of the usual modern graphical gimmicks does not detract from the game at all, in fact, the game is best served by its' simple and effective use of animated scenery and characters.
 
Image Loading...The game uses beautiful pre-painted backgrounds and animated characters to tell the story. Playing the game is like watching a high quality animated movie (the style is similar to the animation in The Lion King), the big difference being, of course, that you are in control of all the action. While the game would have benefited from the presence of some FMV, the pre-rendered, animated cut scenes also help tell the story, and while short, are very well done and quite fun to watch.
 
With the only game on the PlayStation that comes close to the style of Broken Sword 2 being Discworld (and its' sequel) the competition is pretty thin. The graphics and animation in Broken Sword 2 make Discworld look like a kindergarten drawing by a trained monkey.
 
Playability:
 
      If you enjoy a challenge, can think logically and have a capacity to endure enormous frustration this is the game for you. Don't get me wrong, the frustration the game causes is intentional. The main premise of the game is to solve a very large puzzle split up into many little ones, if you have trouble solving one of the little ones you could end up throwing something hard and mouse like at your TV. However, that's the charm of the game, there's nothing more satisfying than putting thought into a tough puzzle and getting it out, that's what Broken Sword 2 is all about, solving puzzles.
 
Image Loading...The nature of point-and-click games of this type means just that, most of your time will be spent pointing at objects on the screen, clicking on them and finding out information about them, hopefully getting clues to their relevance to solving a puzzle and progressing through the game. As you point to objects and locations on the screen the cursor will change from various hands and icons to tell you what action can be performed on each item, pick us, use, move, push, pull, all these actions can be performed in order to complete the game. While this all sounds fairly monotonous it's not, the game keeps up the pace and remains interesting at all times.
 
Most good games have that 'one more go' quality, this is no exception and there's always another locations to explore, another character to talk to and another item to use in some bizarre combination to open a door or beat a tricky puzzle.
 
Fans and experienced players of the genre will have little trouble with most of the game, even novices will eventually make it through by talking to every character and trying every item on everything on a screen to solve all puzzles in the game. While doing this is a major element so is experiencing the story, it is important to not let the mechanics of nutting out a problem get in the way of a good story.
 
Image Loading...While solving puzzles and going mad with frustration is all good fun, it's the underlying plot that really makes the game. The way the story absorbs you is the real test of a game, and Broken Sword 2 has a deep story that will keep you interested until the end. Without giving away too much of the plot, the game is based on a intriguing story which takes you half way around the world and gets you involved with international drug smugglers, ancient, evil Mayan gods and trucks full of explosive fertilizer, now that's a game.
 
Most single player games are pretty dull to watch but Broken Sword 2 is an exception. The game is more like watching a movie as the events unfold and just like a movie the games has the ability to entertain people who are not actually participating in the proceedings. While classed as a one player game, Broken Sword 2 is the type of game that multiple people can participate in, with one controlling the action and the others watching or offering advice. The humour used throughout the game isn't quite up to the slapstick style of the Monkey Island style but the George's dry humour, funny characters and situations and you will find yourself in will extract a giggle now and then.
 
Image Loading...While playing Broken Sword 2, there are multiple references to the prequel game, Broken Sword, so if you haven't played that game I suggest you do (a great game in its' own right). Having played Broken Sword will increase your enjoyment of this sequel. If you don't want to go to that extreme, the game does not rely on any pre-existing knowledge of the first game so playing it is not entirely compulsory.
 
Actually playing the game is a breeze, the interface is easy to use and intuitive leaving you to enjoy the game rather than struggling with the games mechanics. Control of George and Nicole is best done with a mouse but the standard controller does the job adequately, if you enjoy this type of game you'll enjoy it a whole lot more if you invest in a mouse.
 
Game Options:
 
      This is a 1 disk game for 1 Player. It is compatible with the standard (digital) joypad and the digital controls of the dual shock joypad. Games can be saved via memory card (2 blocks per save).

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Staff Opinions  
Chris: "As with all games of this nature you'll only be able to play through it once so the value is a little limited, and depending on your experience with graphical point-and-click adventures your mileage may vary. If you're looking for a 3D shoot-fest or a processor straining racing game, stay away from this game, but if you want to experience an interesting game and intriguing story line, your value for money is assured.

With over 30 hours of gameplay Broken Sword has a little more substance than you would expect from a game you would rent so buy it and pass it on to a friend when you're done."
Graphics: 15/20
Playability: 40/50
Sound: 8/10
Lastability: 13/20
Overall: 76%
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