Secrets of the Ark review

  • Mostly challenging puzzles
  • Decent writing
  • Good voice acting
  • Some stupid logic in certain puzzles
  • Clunky interface
  • Doesn't do anything exceptional

The Broken Sword series just keeps on keepin' on, even though an increasing percentage of young gamers have probably never heard of it. Considering the series is over 10 years old, it's surprising we're only now getting the fourth installment.

Secrets of the Ark is pretty much what you'd expect from an adventure game nowadays. A lot of classic talk-and-puzzle gameplay mixed with an attempt at a contemporary look and interface. And at the minimum system requirements, the game will chug on all but the lowest graphical settings.

What's odd is it does this even though Secrets of the Ark doesn't really look all that great. Sure, the visuals are passable, but nothing to write home about. The controls, which are apparently supposed to be the best of both worlds - a mixture of classic point-and-click adventuring with keyboard commands for movement and such and an icon-driven interface - are clunky at best. The icon system in particular is a bit irritating, since multiple objects will react to two different commands (look and use) and you have to double check each item to see if both icons will appear or not.

The Broken Sword games, with bumbling hero George and his too-hot French girlfriend Nico, have always had decent writing, and Secrets of the Ark is no different. Fans of the series will definitely feel right at home here, even if this isn't the best game in the franchise. The acting is solid; the characters are likeable and fleshed out well for the most part; and the dialogue is fun.

The puzzles are generally good; some bordering on the ridiculously non-sequitur in the name of presenting a decent challenge. Though none of them pass into the realm of impossible, even veteran adventure gamers will find themselves irritated at some of the things Secrets expects you to figure out.

But maybe that's just par for the course. Secrets of the Ark is a solid-if-not-spectacular entry, and fans will appreciate that they haven't been forgotten and will doubtlessly eat this up and ask for more. But anyone who hasn't already invested hours in the three previous Broken Sword games will have a hard time seeing Secrets of the Ark through to the end.

More Info

Release date: Feb 13 2007 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: PC
Genre: Adventure
Published by: The Adventure Company
Developed by: Revolution Software, Sumo Digital
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes, Tobacco Reference, Mild Language


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