Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse (Switch) Review

If It Ain’t Broke…

As a fan of point-and-click adventure games, I thoroughly enjoyed the intriguing narrative and logic puzzles in the first Broken Sword titled The Shadow of the Templars. Although the last couple entries took the series in different artistic directions, I was excited for the franchise’s return to form with its fifth title, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse.

Here’s my Video Review for your viewing pleasure!

The game stars series mainstays George Stobbart, a man with a penchant for trouble, and Nico, a cool and sassy journalist. Following a robbery and murder at an art gallery, the two embark on a trip across Europe to investigate the crimes and unravel deeper secrets lurking behind them. In a genre where story is crucial, Broken Sword 5 delivers a compelling adventure with suspenseful twists and a healthy serving of “whodunit.” Religion, history, and art shape the tale’s mysteries, which resemble what you might find in The Da Vinci Code or National Treasure. The pacing starts out slow, and it’s only in the second half that the plot and puzzles ramp up. Nevertheless, the writing is consistently informative and witty. George, in particular, is the series’ Han Solo, throwing sarcastic wisecracks and making light of any situation.

BrokenSword5_Switch_Reviews1.jpg.jpg
Point and click your way to victory.

George’s voice actor conveys the character’s wry charm, though that’s not to undersell the solid cast. It’s a treat that all dialogue is voiced, including every one-liner quip that spouts out of George’s mouth after clicking on an object. It also lends much-needed personality to the bland animation. Characters’ facial expressions are fairly static, and body movements are stiff. The exception lies with the few cutscenes in the game. Though, the most thrilling sequences are still not quite like the fluid animation from the past entries. In contrast, the gorgeously detailed European backdrops and cel-shaded characters are wonderful modern updates to the classic.

BrokenSword5_Switch_Reviews3.jpg.jpg
Nice work doing whatever you did, whoever you are.

The word “classic” epitomizes Broken Sword 5. The game takes all of its cues from the original Broken Sword, which itself didn’t deviate from the traditional point-and-click adventure. As such, this latest entry has the same pros and cons as most of the genre. You don’t directly control George, but rather click on where you wish to go, what you want to interact with, or whom you desire to talk to. You can ask other characters about specific topics or show them items in your inventory to gather clues and advance the story. Although there are a few dialogue choices, none affect the story or change the ending. Additionally, despite multiple life and death sequences, I never experienced a Game Over from an untimely death. Some may be turned off by the lack of tension and action, but the game is purposefully slower-paced to prioritize the more cerebral aspects.

Puzzles comprise the bulk of the game. Most are narrative-based sequences where you are tasked with solving a problem; for instance, waking an unconscious man up or trapping a cockroach. I’m a fan of these types of logical conundrums: pressing buttons in the right sequence, interacting with objects to uncover secrets, combining items in the inventory; you name it. The clever cause-and-effect riddles engaged me, and I felt proud whenever a theory worked.

BrokenSword5_Switch_Reviews2.jpg.jpg
Dun dun dunnnnnn! Sabotage!

That being said, what is par for the course may not be to everyone’s tastes. Broken Sword 5 uses the same faulty logic that adventure games are notorious for. In other words, there is only one solution that the developer specifically wants you to find. There are often clues leading to that answer, and sometimes characters give feedback on why something won’t work. However, if I have a dozen other ideas or think one step ahead, the game will come to a standstill until I do every correct step in the right order. Making matters worse, some solutions require you to locate on object that is hard to see. I can’t simply wake a man up with water or by activating established security alarms. Instead, I must use a special partially obscured object. And for some reason, I can’t catch a cockroach without an object in another area.

The saving grace is the incremental hint system. At any time, you can ask the game for tips on the current problem. The game first offers vague clues to nudge you in the right direction, then slowly provides more information as you unveil hints, before outright revealing the answer with the final clue. It’s an effective way to handle the “game logic” issue, although I admit it’s easy to give into temptation with this system.

BrokenSword5_Switch_Reviews4.jpg
I don’t trust puzzles made by ACME.

The other types of puzzles are more standard brain-teasers, be it putting a jigsaw together or deciphering codes. These are more prevalent in the second half of the game, in which I appreciated how I was tested both on my cranial skills and my understanding the extensive in-game lore. There are also a few sequences where you can control Nico, although they only happen when either George is out of commission or you’re trying to help him achieve something. There’s a missed opportunity for in-depth riddles involving both characters at once.

BrokenSword5_Switch_Reviews5.jpg.jpg
Shame, as Nico is such a great character.

Broken Sword 5 sports roughly 10-12 hours of good old-fashioned adventure. I thought the Nintendo Switch was a great home for the game. Not only does the story lend itself to playing in chunks via portable mode, but you can also take advantage of the tablet’s touch screen. I didn’t mind using the analog stick and buttons for pointing-and-clicking, but effective touch functionality simplifies the process. As a bonus, the Switch version includes special behind-the-scenes videos that were fun to watch and revealed the passion behind this project.

BrokenSword5_Switch_Reviews.jpg
Who are you posing for, George?

Conclusion

Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse doesn’t revolutionize adventure games, nor will it particularly appeal to players who aren’t used to slower point-and-click gameplay. However, it succeeds in following the developer’s vision for the series: a modern update in the style of the original. The puzzles may have logic jumps, and the story’s action ebbs and flows. But the witty characters, perplexing mysteries, and traditional problem-solving are enough to win over fans of the genre.

Score: 8/10

Note: A review copy was used for this article. This review was written on DarkStation.

What do you think of Broken Sword 5? Have you played any other games in the series? What are your favorite point-and-click adventure games? Please be sure to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

10 thoughts on “Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse (Switch) Review

  1. Great review! Broken Sword 5 piques my interest since I’m a fan of point-and-click adventure games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. What I especially like are solving puzzles and figuring out mysteries, and it looks like Broken Sword has that in spades. The slow pace is OK with me. It’s actually the fast-paced twitch-based games that stress me out hehe. I also appreciate the voice acting clips you included and like the idea that everything is voiced. Wish more point-and-clicks had full voice acting! I think you need strong actors to support a story-based game like this. I’d like to try this series out sometime! Looks like a game I might enjoy! Maybe I’ll even play the whole Broken Sword series hehe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement as always!! 😀 This is definitely a game you’d appreciate in the same way you enjoy a good Phoenix Wright or Professor Layton game! It’s more in the vein of games like Maniac Mansion, Thimbleweed Park, or even the Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations game, but it definitely has that old-school point-and-click feel. Definitely mysteries and puzzles too! I agree with you that voice acting can improve point-and-click adventures so much. I think it would do wonders for visual novels like Ace Attorney too. I mean, look at Danganronpa and its great cast haha! I like the voices in Broken Sword 5, and I think George’s actor really pulls off the Han Solo adventurer voice. Yes! Play through them! I’ve always wanted to go back to the first Broken Sword and play all the way to the Serpent’s Curse chronologically! It should be a new project after all the Final Fantasy playthroughs! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Ellen! I always appreciate it! 😄 I can’t blame you haha. I definitely needed it for some tricky puzzles or when I got lost. So glad it was there because I don’t know what I’d do without it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks fun enough, but the real star here is the one-liners. I laughed out loud at “I wondered how one man could have so many pugs.” Someone should turn this into a collection of memes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I agree! That’s what I love about adventure games – the funny dialogue and one-liners! Broken Sword 5 is full of them because George Stobbart is basically Han Solo. When I was trying to find a line in the video, I stumbled across the pug line and thought it had a humorous enough delivery despite being such an odd line, so I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure we all know someone in our lives like that hahaha! Thanks for your wonderful comments!!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s