Few games have aged as well as Broken Sword.
Featuring an engrossing story, memorable characters, and clever puzzles, it's a hallmark adventure game that has withstood the ravages of time.
Yet, Broken Sword: Director's Cut galvanises that core experience with wise modifications on iPhone and iPod touch that make this old classic a modern hit. An intuitive interface, accessible hint system, and enhanced presentation strengthen this exemplary game.
Murder most foul
The unexpected murder of French media mogul Pierre Carchon prompts journalist Nico Collard to track down his killer. She's joined by American George Stobbart, who witnesses the Carchon murder suspect bomb a cafe, leaving a second man dead and Stobbart volunteering to help solve the crimes. The unlikely duo end up unravelling a far-reaching plot that spans human history itself.
You help them by tapping the screen every once in awhile. True to the point-and-click legacy, Broken Sword trades mouse for finger. Exploring the 2D environments is done by tapping to move Nico or George (you're in control of one or the other at any given time), while interacting with objects is a matter of issuing a tap with a finger.
Sharpening the sword
Figuring out what can be examined, toyed with, or picked up in the highly detail level can be tricky, so holding a finger to the screen prompts helpful action circles to appear that denote objects with which you can interact.
It's a system successfully employed in Revolution's other phenomenal adventure remake Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered, and it works even more beautifully here.
In fact, it's markedly improved. The screen responds well to taps without need for repeated input - an issue noted in Beneath a Steel Sky - and items glow when removed from your inventory to show that you've linked them for interaction with another object.
The game has been streamlined in a way that makes playing less tedious. Instead of requiring excessive taps and item interactions, simple actions have been automated to lessen repetition and keep the story moving. When you unlock a door, for example, you automatically move through it instead of the character standing idly for instruction to move forward.
Nicks on the blade
Added scenarios and puzzles embellish the original game to take advantage of the touchscreen. They're not completely new since the content first appeared on DS, yet it's better here on iPhone and iPod touch due to the superior presentation.
The colourful scenes pop on the high resolution screen and audio pipes through with surprising clarity. This is without question better than its DS brother.
Still, there are times when the game shows its age in having you tackle the odd puzzle or two. Demanding obtuse solutions or unlikely item combinations, these scenes identify Broken Sword as a decades-old adventure game. A hint system ensures you never get stuck, but it would be best if such a system wasn't needed at all.
Nevertheless, such moments are few. Broken Sword sharpens its classic design with wise enhancements to presentation and play that make it one of the best adventure games once again for a new generation.