However, this is the only one of a few additions that really convince. The Director’s Cut’s Big Thing is a new side-story woven into the game following George’s French female cohort, Nico. Relegated to her apartment – sorry, ah-par-tee-mon – for most of the original, she now stars in a new opening segment concerning the murder of a media contact. Don’t get your hopes up, Broken Sword fans, the addition barely registers on the adventure-o-meter.
Not even an hour in length (including two asides that happen later), the new material is blighted with blunt, easy puzzles (Nico doesn’t have the screen time to build an inventory full of red-herring items) and a story we couldn’t give two hoots about. What’s really odd is that in the original game Nico does appear in George’s adventure in vaguely unexplained circumstances – why not use those moments as a springboard for fresh chapters in the Broken Sword saga?
These Wii-exclusive levels arrive with Wii-exclusive puzzles. Think Professor Layton’s brainteasers with Wii controls and you’re just about there. We were initially interested, but the final tally is disappointing. We counted ten remote moments in the whole game, and one was a rubbish jigsaw puzzle. We’ll admit to quite liking the code-breaking challenge – that took us back to childhood days poring over our detective FunFax – but it’s a miserly lot compared to Layton’s platter.
Visually, it’s a mixed bag. The story’s globe-trotting nature ensures a fresh stream of locations pumped through your telly-box and the sprite animation still charms all these years on, but this is quite a shonky port. Cutscenes have been horribly compressed, leading to all kinds of ugly pixel discoloration, something that seeps into some character design. Dialogue, too, sounds tinny and aged, especially compared against the fresher sounding voices recorded for the new material.
Oddest of all are the new facial portraits intended to help evoke the dialogue. Drawn by Dave ‘Watchmen’ Gibbons, they wisely eschew turning Stobbart into a neon blue atomic mishap, but neither do they offer anything more than unnerving cold, dead stares. This is especially dumb considering Stobbart’s habit of describing facial tics and changes in his internal monologue – tics and changes that don’t play out on screen. Order of stupid for table Broken Sword.
This is certainly better than Agatha Christie and Secret Files: Tunguska, but it would be easier to recommend had it come with a budget price tag. We so wanted this to be a success – money in the bank for one point ’n’ clicker might be the wake-up call LucasArts need to crack out their genre superstars. But this isn’t it.
Apr 1, 2009