Game Review: Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror (Mobile)


My love of point and click games can be traced back to Discworld II: Missing? Presumed! & Broken Sword II. The former showed how smart & pretty a game could be while latter gave me excitement, meaningful characters & a compelling story. It’s this very reason why the first time I completed Broken Sword II was back in the late 90’s & the latest time was only this year (2013).

It’s a game that never gets old, which I never tire of playing through & hearing the familiar sounds & conversations again. Broken Sword II is a special game & one I urge everyone to play…

I’ve chosen to review the iPad version because of its HD touch-up & director’s cut status. The game always looked good before, now it looks beautiful & the iPad interface is easy to use. The directors cut add some additional scenes that bridge the gap between the first game & this.

Broken Sword II picks up 6 months after the events of the first game. George Stobbart has arrived back in Paris to see his girlfriend Nicole Collard. During his time away Nicole had been investigating a known drugs smuggler for a newspaper story & uncovered an ancient Mayan stone. Together they go to visit Professor Oubier’s house who has agreed to shed some light on the stones origins & importance. When they get to his house they are attacked by 2 Central Americans who knock George out & kidnap Nicole.

They then set fire to the house, tie George in a chair & leave a huge spider on the floor that begins to menace him.

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Once the player has helped George escape the story will see George attempting to rescue Nicole, travelling to Central America, the Caribbean & London (players control Nicole during this trip) & getting mixed up in an ancient prophecy tied into Mayan culture & the imminent return of an ancient & evil deity.

It’s a hell of a quest…

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Puzzles…Broken Sword II is all about solving puzzles to progress in the game, interacting with objects, people (for information) & the surrounding areas. George has an inventory that can store things that will be needed later on in the game. Many plot elements will not be progressed until conversations have been exhausted & items retrieved.

This means you often get to see the full-range of interactions & it makes conversations feel more natural. One of my favourite things is the way in which most items you have in your inventory can be used to initiate conversations. The reactions of characters to certain items are priceless & it is well worth going through everything.

With such emphasis on story & conversation voice acting had to be stellar…& it is. I would go so far as to say it is some of the best in any game to date. George’s American mix of sarcasm & optimism against Nicole’s heavy French accent & carefree attitude makes for some very convincing boyfriend/girlfriend chats. In fact anyone George interacts with is lifted thanks to his witty replies.

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It has to be repeated that Broken Sword II on the iPad looks beautiful. It’s really crisp & all the details of the backgrounds are clear. There are numerous puzzles that rely on you seeing things in the background & that are quite small, this is not a problem.

The controls are perfectly suited for the iPad with the touch screen interface used to move around & clicking on items or people will bring up options. It works fine & feels much more comfortable then a controller (although it’s not quite a mouse & keyboard).

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Special mention has to be given to Broken Swords music; it’s excellent & really stands out. I particularly like that there are pieces of music that play when you solve something or progress a section. It recognises your triumph & improves the moment.

Broken Sword is not an easy game or a short game to finish by any means, some of the puzzles throughout are difficult to master & there are moments where quick reactions are necessary. Sometimes you will have exhausted all your conversations, searched an area & still be known the wiser but when you do work it out you feel like you’ve earned it.

One of the finest point and click games to date & borne from classics like Monkey Island. The humour is spot-on & the characters excellent. The story is interesting but special mention must be given to the voice-acting that is stand-out stuff. A host of conversations & interactions that change as you go along makes it a truly interactive experience. The puzzles can really challenge at times & may frustrate particularly when you feel like you’ve done everything you can in an area & you still can’t move on.

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Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror
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