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Genre: Quiz/Puzzle/Strategy :: Released: 21/8/06

Broken Sword: Shadow of Templars Review

Developer: Astraware

Pros

Game Features

Rating/100

Great graphics and sound
Engaging storyline

Cons

Quite fiddly for a touch screen

Sound
Help
Save Option
See Compatible Handsets

91

Graphics

98

Sound

97

Controls

85

Playability

87

Lastability

88

Review Details
Handset Pocket PC T-Mobile MDA Vario

Costas Stephanides’s Review

Review Date: 21/8/06

A pixel perfect remake of the PC classic


Broken Sword was a turning point for PC games and was one of the first games to use synthesised speech so effectively. So far it looks like a similar revelation for the pocket format.

In truth, the Pocket PC version appears to be an exact port from the original. When I say exact, I mean exact - from the funny accents to the sly jokes and all the cartoon graphics in between. Its not often that I wish people didn't read my reviews but in this case, if you are a fan of the original then stop wasting time reading the review and go and buy this game - it is pixel perfect (apart from one little thing - so you may want to read a little bit further).

Broken Sword, for the uninitiated, is a point and tap adventure/detective game. When you play the game, make sure you watch the intro as it??????s not just a matter of the artists showcasing their considerable talents but it also sets the scene for the whole game. You are an American in Paris, which is funny enough, but you also happen to witness a bomb explosion and you get all Dick Van Dyke and decide to solve the case yourself. It's pretty apparent that the game was first launched in the early nineties - life was simpler back then and the bomber was not of the suicide type and his religious persuasion was unknown. He was in fact a clown. A discussion about whether this was an intentional metaphor regarding terrorism is best saved for a conversation over a drink of warm Ribena and not here so back to the game.

The graphics of the game are simply jaw dropping and left me with a mouth full of flies. The cartoon graphical style works really well and gives the artists a bit more freedom and spares us from more dodgy 3D rendering. I remember the graphics from the original as being great but I just didn't expect the quality to be carried through to the small screen, although I suppose my little MDA Vario is as powerful as my old PC.

Visually it is great but how does the sound measure up? Well you still have all the atmospheric music in the background and the characters actually speak. Unlike other games, the conversations flow and you don't need to keep on tapping 'ok' for the next sentence. As great as the sound is, being on the mobile format there may be times when sound is not strictly appropriate; luckily, subtitles are provided if required. Personally, I would try and set aside some time and treat this like a proper game, find a quiet corner and play this one with the sound on.

So, what's bad about this game? There is one little flaw and that's with the map. It looks like the original game and graphics have just been scaled down to fit the small screen. On the whole this works well and you can at least take the whole scene in quite easily. However, when you leave an area, a map of Paris/Europe is displayed and the text is pretty illegible. I'm guessing this part was never re-drawn properly and all the text is compressed down and a lot of quality is lost.

Being a point and tap game, the controls are as good as your stylus and touch screen alignment. Obviously, on the big screen, small details would look small but could be found and clicked on. On Windows Mobile, the small becomes even smaller and even harder to actually tap. They have made things a little easier and there is a little option where you can have all the tappable points highlighted by hotspots. At least this way you know that your random tapping will garner some sort of response from your character; although not always essential to the plot it should give you a few laughs.

Overall this is a great game that should impress anyone who plays it. This is not a game for a quick 5 minutes here and there and it does demand large chunks of your time to fully appreciate the game. It will be interesting to see how it appeals to the ??????drop in ??????? drop out?????? culture of the mobile gamer.

One final word of warning, the Windows Mobile 5 system does have a bug (surprised?) which becomes apparent when trying to upload the game. Broken Sword is over 100Mb and you will need a decent sized memory card to store it on. The trouble is, if your handset has less than 100Mb of free space (which it probably will) then WM5 gets very confused and won??????t fully load the game. You will need to access the memory card from the File Explorer and click the CAB file to finish installation. Full details can be found here