Jeffry Houser takes us on a trip to the past as he shares his opinion of this 2006 release
July 18, 2014
The Broken Sword series tells the adventures of George Stobbart and Nico Collard. The most recent entry in the series was funded through a Kickstarter project. Before tackling this new entry, I decided to spend some time revisiting the past adventures. The Angel of Death is the fourth Broken Sword game and was released in 2006. This entry is a solid story, the execution of which corrects some of the problems present in Episode 3.
The game opens up with George working as a bail bondsman in New York City. A girl, Anna Maria, shows up asking for George’s help to translate a manuscript. Unfortunately, right behind her are some mobsters. George kicks into action, rescuing himself and Anna Maria. George and Anna Maria go adventuring through New York in order to retrieve and decipher the manuscript that Anna Maria had hidden, thus leading them to Istanbul. After some treasure hunting in Istanbul George ends up in jail, abandoned by Anna Maria.
Nico shows up as a deus ex machina in order to save George from jail. The pair travel to the Vatican in Rome, Italy and to Arizona in order to find Anna Maria, unravel the remaining secrets of the manuscript, and save the world from a Knights Templar plot one more time.
Broken Sword 4 was created using the 3D sort of view that Broken Sword 3 used. It is not perfect for this sort of game, but it works here. A lot of the problem elements in Broken Sword 3 are fixed. The "avoid the guard" puzzles are minimized. The "move the crate" mazes are also less. There is a slight shift back to the things we love about adventuring: getting lots of inventory and putting it together in creative ways. The weird control scheme of the previous game is gone in favor of a more traditional point-and-click.
A few of the puzzles are presented as mini-games. Sometimes this is effective, as when you use George’s phone to hack a server. However, sometimes it is a confusing mess that will leave you clicking randomly until something happens. The booby traps in the ancient runes are the worst offenders.
I feel Broken Sword: Angel of Death is a fun play. In previous episodes, George and his friends are trying to save the world as things crumble around them. Here the story feels more low-key than past installments. The story benefits from the closer, more intimate troubles. This time you stop the bad guy before he starts the path to world destruction. If you’re a fan of Broken Sword then pick this one up. If you’re new to the series, try one of the first two games before deciding if you want to continue.