STAFF REVIEW of Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon (Xbox)


Sunday, November 23, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon Box art Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon brings an entire new meaning to ?Adventure Game?. Combining some pretty sharp story telling with very intuitive controls, you guide Nico Collard a French investigative reporter, and George Stobart, a not so run of the mill patent clerk. Powerful events are in motion and threatening the world. An Ancient Conspiracy and a fiendish source of pure Evil are responsible... From the jungles of the Congo to the streets of Paris, from underground pyramids in Ethiopia to gothic castles, Nico and George may be the world?s last hope. A slick graphics engine and facial expressions add to the detailed and well thought out epic story. Adventure fans will relish the deep mystery and puzzle solving being thrown their way?will the average gamer feel the same?


Broken Sword does deliver a solid gaming experience, but it?s definitely a ?niche? game at best. If you?re looking for a fast paced adventure game with guns a blazing and peril at every corner, move on. On the other hand if you?re a fan of games like Siberia and even the Myst series you may want to give Broken Sword a serious look-see.

The adventure begins with our two saviors George and Nico. The opening of the game starts with George flying into a severe storm and crash landing in the Congo. With half the plane dangling over a cliff and the pilot out cold George needs to find a way out. Nico on the other side of the globe stumbles across a murdered hacker that she was to meet regarding some secretive information. And so it begins, look for clues, information from witnesses and passer bys. Use your wit to get out of sticky situations and live to see tomorrow.

The controls are very simple to understand and carry out, an ?Action? icon appears on objects that can be interacted with, while one button commands to climb, jump, pick up, are indicated during game play by a control diagram in the lower right corner. Multiple options may present themselves in certain situations such as doors, where you can listen at the door before deciding to enter. The characters are move freely with the left thumb stick, and certain items can be pushed or pulled to help your situation.

Broken Sword is a mystery/puzzle game, but it also seems a little to scripted, by this I mean if you miss a clue, or find clues or information in the wrong order it tends to get a little tedious. The camera has its problems at times making your search for clues a little difficult too.

Broken Sword does offer some impressive visuals and almost seamless transitions from ?real? play and cut scenes. During game play you may come across situation that require some fast reactions on your part, example?you have a gun pointed at your face, but you notice a frying pan just within reach of your right hand, this all being played out during a cut scene, as the cut scene ends your ?Action? cursor appears on the frying pan. A slow reaction on the action button will meet with certain doom, on the other hand time it right and you pick up the pan and the bullet ricochets into the wall. This continues through areas, as you complete areas (basically by finding out everything you need or ?Solving? the way out of a situation) you move onto new areas.

All this is tied together with some slick cut scenes and dialogue to help not only move the game along but help tell the story. Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon is a cool little game, but you need to really be a fan of this genre to enjoy it to its fullest.


Graphically Broken Sword is pretty impressive, great character designs that not only have smooth movement but show facial expressions pertaining to the situation at hand. The environments are nicely detailed and some nice shadow effects lend themselves well to the overall feel of game. Not a lot going on besides the action at hand, no extra characters floating around, or traffic in the streets does make it seem thin at times. The most impressive thing I found was the interaction between some cut scenes and actual game play as I described earlier, it?s a sweet way of keeping the story moving without the ?Loading? pauses, the developers deserve kudos on this aspect of the game.


In the sound department I found Broken Sword average, the score was good, and the dramatic music is perfectly placed when finding important or significant information. The dialogue does become repetitive if you find yourself going back to areas over and over again, but the ?script? does develop the story well and keep you listening to every little detail. The ambient sounds are nicely placed throughout the game like birds chirping in the park, waterfalls in the Congo etc?all in all the audio dept. lends itself well to this particular genre but offers nothing new.




Overall: 7.4 / 10
Gameplay: 7.4 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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