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AG Community Playthrough #57: Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

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Jdawg445 - 18 September 2020 02:19 PM

I like broken sword 1 story much better, but found bs2 to be way funnier

Broken Sword 1 is mystery with a comedic elements, and BS2 is comedy with a mystery elements. I like them both, though.

     

Recently finished: Four Last Things 4/5, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout 5/5, Chains of Satinav 3,95/5, A Vampyre Story 88, Sam Peters 3/5, Broken Sword 1 4,5/5, Broken Sword 2 4,3/5, Broken Sword 3 85, Broken Sword 5 81, Gray Matter 4/5\nCurrently playing: Broken Sword 4, Keepsake (Let\‘s Play), Callahan\‘s Crosstime Saloon (post-Community Playthrough)\nLooking forward to: A Playwright’s Tale

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Finished the game, so I have some parts to discuss…

Intense Degree - 29 January 2020 06:02 AM

Optional bits to discuss this time
Paris

1. Let’s talk music! I absolutely love the soundtrack to Broken Sword by Barrington Pheloung. Do you have a favourite soundtrack moment from the game so far, or at all?

I like the soundtrack. It’s solid and fits the themes and locations without standing out too much.
The best bits are when there’s danger lurking (like in the alley or the catacombs, or at Bull’s Head). It conveys the suspense rather well.

2. We’re going to get underground for the first time in this section of the game (or the second if you’re playing the DC) in a very Broken Sword kind of way. Sure, we came through the sewers early on, but when we get to the catacombs in this section – or when we went sub judice as Nico for the DC, it seems to me that we are experiencing our first of a type of situation/puzzles that feels really ‘Broken Sword’ to me (as in the whole series). What do you reckon? What sort of puzzles really feel ‘Broken Sword-y’ to you?

It mostly feels Indiana Jones-y to me… Innocent
But I’d have to say: finding long-lost rooms, caves, hidden locations that hold secrets from the past. It’s the best part of adventure gaming!

3. DC only – in this section we get more revelations about Nico’s father and his relationship with the Carchons, following on from what we have in part 1. How well does this work or fit the story do you think?

I’ll discuss the DC bits separately - I’ve watched the YouTube clips.

4. What’s your favourite puzzle/character/line of dialogue from this section?

I should have taken notes… Don’t recall any specific quotes… Meh
Let me go for the side characters at the hospital. The gullible assistant you’re dragging along and the concierge who’s practically in love with his vacuum cleaner.
Favourite puzzle would probably be getting rid of the juggler clown. Because I can’t stand clowns and mimes.

Marib

5. It’s time for the Americans and Syrians to experience the Broken Sword caricature treatment. But in Dwayne Henderson we meet what is, in some ways, one of the most intriguing characters of the series. At least in my opinion. What do you think? If not then who else might claim that title?

I’m not familiar enough with the other games in this series to properly answer this.
I particularly enjoyed Ultar in this game, though. Smile

6. Syria is not a country of the world which is often associated with comedy. Il Akl Kalb?

This section is a prime example of how good the game can be when it balances its humour well with the serious adventure.
Marib is by far my favourite section in the game, followed closely by Ireland.

7. I love the way the tone of the game can change from comedy to serious so well. I think that the transition from the marketplace in Marib to the ending at Bull’s head hill is a great example of this. What do you think?

The game definitely excels at giving you a heads-up when things are getting dangerous. Every time I got an in-game death, the game had warned me (along the lines of “I have a bad feeling about this”) and my last save was literally to seconds before.

8. What’s your favourite puzzle/character/line of dialogue from this section?

Favourite puzzle: getting the statue and selling it.
Favourite character: Ultar!
Favourite line: basically anything that came out of Ultar. Tongue From the description of his “first class luxury taxi” to his matter-of-factly statement “And then Arto chase you with big knife, yes?” when you ask the meaning of “Il ak’l kalb”. Grin

     

Last played: There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5

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Intense Degree - 07 February 2020 11:09 AM

Optional bits to discuss this time

1. How do you feel about the pace and tone of this third section? – I’m thinking particularly of Spain and the site of Baphomet.

With the smaller number of locations at a time, it’s easier to progress a bit faster, which is a good idea when the plot starts to come together and we’re approaching the end.

2. What’s your favourite section/country from the whole game?

Marib, without a doubt!

3. I’m not sure how many of us playing are British – or to be more specific, are familiar with British regional accents. We’ve got Sam (with Mr Shiny) with his Birmingham/Black Country accent and then our companions on the train with Newcastle. How on earth do either of there work internationally I wonder?!

I’m just familiar enough to get most of the stereotypes, but not familiar enough to be annoyed (or even notice) if they get anything wrong… Tongue

4. There are lots of great relationships between characters in the series whether long term or just for a short while. Difficult to ignore the ‘George and Nico’ thing, but I also enjoy the whole George and Andre ‘situation’. What’s your favourite character and/or relationship from this game?

Frankly, the whole ‘George and Nico’ thing feels very tacked on, and the “relationship upgrade” near the end feels like it’s coming out of nowhere.
The best relationship in this game I felt was with Lady Piermont. And I quite liked that the gardener in Spain completely changed his tune once you got his trust via the countess…

5. I regard this game as having a very high standard of writing in terms of story, characters and dialogue, but if there is one moment for me that fails, it is right at the end where George is invited to join with the Templars and is almost tempted to (‘Brotherhood of man?’). Don’t get me wrong, I understand the well established ‘You know…you and I are not so very different Mr Bond…’ thing in a showdown, but it really seems ridiculous here, what on earth does George see that might tempt him? What do you reckon? Or are there any other bits that seem to fall a bit flat?

The “temptation” at the end seems to stem from the power of Baphomet. It made complete sense within the game to me.
But the entire ending section (the train and the castle) feels very rushed. In the “here’s a cutscene to wrap things up” sense. Too little explanation of the full extent of what’s going on, and too quick to get rid of certain characters, etc.

I don’t particularly feel the game has that high a standard of writing in terms of story, characters and dialogue. To me the game fumbles its entire start (read my posts on the previous page for more on that), and has a poor ending.
It’s at its best in the middle, starting with Ireland, and continuing in Syria and Spain. The bits inbetween in Paris are mostly “meh” again, though.

6. What’s your favourite puzzle from the entire game and what’s your least favourite?

I think I most enjoyed the shenanigans with the kebab seller and the statue in Syria.
I least enjoyed the early portions of the game and the final bits.
Maybe even the train segment near the end as the worst bit? It feels arbitrary, going away because there’s nothing else to do, only to have things be different when you return. Lazy writing.
Or the final puzzle, because getting it wrong or not being fast enough means you’ll have to sit through an unskippable seven-minute cutscene again.

7. I think many of us playing along this time know the game really well. Can you remember, the first time or couple of times you played, did you use a walkthrough at all and if so where? (No shame in using a walkthrough when you’re really stuck – at least so I think). Of course, if you first played it back in the mid/late 90’s, internet walkthroughs might not even have been an option…

I played it around the year 2000 and probably resorted to a walkthrough for some bits then.
I used one now because I’d forgotten how the goat puzzle worked, and because I missed that you needed to open the towel cabinet with the key. I also peeked once at the site of Baphomet because I kept thinking I needed to do something with the coal or furnace… Sealed Lips

8. Let’s talk Goat puzzle! Due to what I can only think of as ‘dumb luck’ I managed to solve the goat puzzle fairly quickly on my first try. Just really because I was clicking around all over the shop and not because I am some kind of puzzle master. In a way I’m quite sad about it, because I never experienced the full frustration of this supposedly super hard and unintuitive puzzle. Personally, I just can’t see what the problem is, but maybe you can – how was your experience with the goat first time round?

I think I used a walkthrough back in the day. I used one now as well.
It’s the first time in the game where you actually need to be fast.
I had no issues in Syria with the cat, because that made more sense to try, despite being somewhat similar in approach…

     

Last played: There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5

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So, after having replayed the game, I consider it a mixed bag, just like I did twenty years ago.
The game does a piss-poor job at drawing me in, lacking believable motivation, lacking a good reason for Nico to be George’s “go-to” person, trying too hard and failing to be funny early on, and having several moments where what’s being told contradicts what we see in the game which just rubs me the wrong way.
The game does get better as it progresses, with the bits in Ireland, Syria and Spain being highlights (especially Syria), but the parts inbetween in Paris still drop the ball for me.
And I never got the importance of Nico, nor understood how they suddenly become a couple near the end. It just doesn’t work for me. That, and the entire ending section feels rushed. There’s just too much going on in cutscenes.

It also irks me that every time we find a hidden room and solve the location’s big mystery, I instinctively think “Yay, a secret chamber to investigate!” but am immediately greeted with “Back at Nico’s apartment…”. It’s like the game purposely keeps the interesting bits from you.

But, the game shines in the sections in Ireland, Syria and Spain, and the comedy mixes better with the serious parts in those bits. And everything does have that certain Indiana Jones-like appeal that screams “adventure”.
That, and the game still looks and sounds great after all these years, so I definitely get the game’s lingering popularity.

I just don’t consider it to be anywhere near its perceived “all-time great classic” status…


Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars - 3/5







After playing the game, I watched the Director’s Cut bits on YouTube.
On some level, I feel they work really well.
The intro with the bird flying over Paris is relatively unchanged, and while we get the explosion only later on, it feels like “with an additional cutscene” instead of “a destroyed classic opening”.
Switching between George and Nico provides some variety, and it makes Nico feel less like an unnecessary shoehorned-in character. Nico’s larger role would probably make the “sudden romance” less contrived. And the Nico sections seem like solid sections puzzle-wise too.
The animation is top notch in those sections, and from what I could tell, the added facial animations worked rather well. In those sections at least. They seem to be more jarring during the regular gameplay as George…

So, on one hand, they look good enough stand-alone, and the DC bits seem like a good idea on the whole, but on the other hand, seeing as how the DC sections are entirely irrelevant to the main plot, and how the updated Nico model and the portraits might look out of place in the non-DC parts of the game, I’m pretty much torn about the matter.
Which is surprisingly fitting for the game as a whole… Tongue

     

Last played: There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (CPT) - 4/5 | There Is No Game (replay) - 4/5 | Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars (replay) - 3/5 | Lighthouse: The Dark Being (CPT) - 2.5/5 | Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5

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