This is the game that started a hugely successful franchise, spawned 4 sequels to date & is widely regarded as one of the best in point & click adventures. The remastered version released on iOS in 2010 took what made the original game so popular & improved on it.
Shadow of the Templars is a 2D adventure game were you control, for most of the game, George Stobbart. An American tourist in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unlike the original game though…you will now control journalist Nicole Collard for small sections of the game including an extended opening.
In the original game it began with the bombing of the café were George is sitting outside but in this remastered version it now opens with Nicole getting a call from her editor to go & interview a famous potential candidate for the Presidency of France. While interviewing him & meeting his rude & cold wife he is murdered by a mime who knocks Nicole out & escapes.
Nicole starts investigating why he would have been murdered & after uncovering evidence of fascism is told by her editor to drop the story. Shortly afterwards a man called Plantard calls Nicole & asks her to meet him at a nearby café tomorrow.
This is the café that George Stobbart is sitting outside…Plantard arrives, goes in & is blown up by a mysterious clown who escapes down an alleyway. George is unhurt but determined to find out who would do such a thing & teams up with Nicole to uncover the truth.
Their quest takes them all over Paris & underneath it as well as countries such as Ireland, Syria & Spain. A mystery that harks back to ancient times…the time of the Templars.
The main appeal of the Broken Sword series as a whole is the elegant & always interesting story with the Shadow of the Templars being one of the best written. That it plays out at a speed set by you, the player relying on your clue discovering & puzzle solving skills is what makes it so much fun.
Visually the game looks great (although it does seem to lack a certain amount of polish in comparison to the remastered sequel) & the touch controls work wonderfully. Touch the screen to move George or Nicole & hold your finger on the screen to see the things that can be interacted with. While this might seem to make it a tad easier then it was before I find that it makes it less frustrating more then anything else.
You see the game doesn’t hold your hand through puzzles….sure it offers clues & hints (if you’re really stuck you can find a puzzle solution in the options menu) but it still relies on you talking to everyone, studying you’re location & items that you’ve picked up. The joy in Broken Sword is finding out that a dirty cloth you picked up at the beginning of the game will have a huge bearing on your quest further down the line.
No puzzle is mind-bendingly frustrating but rather offer up a challenge that a patient player can see their way through. It’s kind of the reason why point & clicks aren’t as popular anymore…many gamers want instant gratification & aren’t as willing to sit patiently & go through a conversation tree to solve a puzzle.
A lot of praise for Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars has to be heaped on the excellent voice acting & dialogue. It’s funny, moving & thought-provoking at times & you rarely want to skip it. George & Nicole’s conversations are fantastic & it’s great to see them go from strangers thrown together to eventual lovers.
All of this is backed by a memorable soundtrack that could only work in a setting such as Broken Sword…intrigue filled moments, mysteries solved, dangerous liaisons…there is a piece of music for every moment.
The game can last between 5-8 hours depending on how clued up you are on the puzzles. I’m pretty good at the game but even I took around 7 hours to complete it.
If you though the original game was good then you have to play this remastered/directors cut to see just how much better it is now. The added sections add so much to the story & game length. Anything that has been removed is not noticeable & the iOS system is perfect for this kind of point & click experience. An awesome game that everyone should play.
Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars
The Final Score - 9/10
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