"Adventure gaming is not dead, at least not for the moment"
Adventure gaming has slowly become one of the least recognised genres in the gaming world of today. If you think back to the eighties and early nineties Sierra released some absolute gem titles in the Kings Quest and Space Quest series. Over the past few years the genre has died off but Revolution wants this to change and that developer has created an adventure game which fans of the genre will enjoy and it just may bring some new gamers to this flailing genre.
The story begins with George on his way to a remote location via an Australian tour guide when his plane crashes deep in the Congo. George must figure out a way to escape and find out exactly what he was looking for. From there he will again meet up with his friend Nico and together they will try to unravel a conspiracy. The earth is experiencing weird seismic activity and some people including George feel that it is not a natural occurrence. A hacker is murdered after he discovers and cracks the code of the group causing this activity and Nico and George have different reasons for trying to crack the case; Nico is framed for murder and George just wants to find out what is going on.
As you would expect in an adventure game, the gameplay consists of finding objects and using those objects together to solve a puzzle. At the beginning of the game you will control George and Nico in different parts of the world but as fate would have it, they meet up again at an old Museum after George has done a bit of exploring to find a scientist. The gameplay remains the same for both characters with the basic task of finding objects and using your brain to solve puzzles as the primary element of the game. There are a few helpful features with the game, for instance if you're near a cliff with say George, the game will give you a controller option to climb down the ledge or jump across to another rather then you having to perform the action and guess where to jump from. Obviously being an adventure game the lure of a strategy guide may occur, and they do exist for those who want to use them.
In fact that's one of the best points of the game, the controls, as they are very easy to use. On the screen you will find a hud item in the bottom right hand corner with four circles. These four circles represent the four buttons on the face of the PS2 controller, and the icons associated with each one change depending on where you're currently standing. For instance one might be to look at an object, whilst another might be to interact with or pick up the object. The right analogue stick is used to control the character and the shoulder buttons (R1 and R2) are used for either making the character run, or creep slowly around the environment.
For those of you who are new to the franchise the game also contains an extras section which details the storyline of both the previous games. It is presented in a novel format with a few screenshots from the games contained with the storyline. Other extras include a definition of Geomantic energy which is featured heavily throughout the storyline and the Voynich manuscript, again featured throughout the storyline. This background information will help you understand the game more, especially if you haven't completed the first two titles in the franchise.
Obviously being an adventure game you would expect to visit many different environments and the game doesn't disappoint in this area. You will visit areas such as the Congo, a town in England, Paris and others. Within these areas you will be able to visit places such as a pub, a cave, Nico's apartment and others. All these places are highly detailed and have objects you would expect to find in that particular part of the world. For instance in Nico's apartment you will find objects such as a telephone which can be used to contact her work and friends. If you can see it chances are it can be interacted with some how. The characters you find around the place are also suitable such as in the England town where you find a television director creating a documentary and a former army sergeant looking for his missing daughter.
To go with the highly detailed environments, the game also features some impressive graphics. Nico and George animate well and the other non-player characters you will encounter are also impressively detailed. The frame rate is smooth and the variety of environments as mentioned before really add to the adventure. The voice acting is quite impressive for George, Nico and the non-player characters.
Overall Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon proves that adventure gaming isn't dead for the moment. Fans of the genre will want to play this game and it may even bring in some new fans to hopefully reinvigorate the adventure genre and get more developers creating adventure games. Will we see George and Nico in a fourth adventure? Who knows, but the third title is a great game for adventure fans.