Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse Review. Editor’s note: Almost five years after its PC debut, Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse has come to the Nintendo Switch, bringing its challenging variety of point-and-click adventure puzzles and complex but compelling narrative to the portable system. With it comes some elegant touch screen controls that make poking around the beautifully drawn and detailed environments feel more natural, though you can jump back to using the Joy-Con at any time, switching between the two methods without opening a menu.
As you progress through the familiar but still fascinating story you’ll also unlock Switch-exclusive bonus movies from a making-of documentary about the game’s development, including some great looking concept art. Even now, Broken Sword 5 still looks gorgeous, and although its murder-turned-conspiracy story feels somewhat rote these days, its characters and dialogue are still great fun to watch as the drama unfolds. The pick-up-and-put-down nature of a point-and-click adventure works especially well on Switch, and the excellent use of touch screen controls enhances the experience even more. — James Swinbanks, 9/20/18 [We have updated the score to reflect our experience with the Nintendo Switch version. The original review follows below.]
A murdered art gallery owner, a helmeted assassin, and a missing painting. It’s just another beautiful day in Paris, and for George Stobbart and Nico Collard, a brand-new case to be solved. After a seven-year hiatus and a successful Kickstarter campaign, the best-selling Broken Sword series has reemerged. Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse ushers the return of the franchise’s protagonists, along with a host of favorites.
It has been quite a while since George and Nico have joined up to solve a case, and in that stretch of time, the two seem to have pursued their own ventures: George has become an agent for an insurance company, and Nico is continuing her career as a globetrotting journalist. But a tragedy strikes, leaving a man murdered for a painting that was worth considerably less than others in the gallery. Since it was George’s company that insured the showcase, he feels obligated to uncover the reason behind the theft and find out what makes this painting important enough to kill for. The crime-solving duo are soon reunited and thrust into a murderous conspiracy, armed only with George’s astute problem-solving skills and Nico’s feminine charm and sharp wit.
The story weaves a smart, fascinating, and often humorous tale. George and Nico’s latest adventure is fraught with murder, sabotage, and a seedy love affair, with just enough room for an ex-Russian mobster and an assassin or two to be thrown into the mix. You switch between the two characters as they follow a trail that has them trekking through France and London chasing down leads. As you progress, the plot begins to revolve around an age-old conflict between Gnostic and Dominican Christians, and at its epicenter is the painting: La Malediccio. The painting hides more secrets than what can be seen on the surface, and may be the key to an impending epidemic that threatens all life.
Broken Sword 5 follows the series’ roots as a point-and-click adventure; you use the mouse cursor to control movement as well as to manipulate objects in an area, speak with people, or use items in your inventory to solve a puzzle. Like in many games in the genre, you pick up items and bits of evidence and store them. You use evidence to drag the truth out of people or suspects, while other items, even the most miniscule, such as a paper clip, 1970s cologne, or nail clippers, can be used or combined to solve puzzles down the line.