Top positive review
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Old fashioned genius
on 21 September 2006
The unique problem with the two modern Broken Sword games is that their very structure is a problem. Sony USA decided early on that the previous game 'The Sleeping Dragon' was simply too old-fashioned for their new, hip market, and as such refused its release in the states.
And starting up 'The Angel of Death', you can fairly easily see what Sony saw as a problem. Controls is clunky and unresponsive, George walks slowly and stoicly as you direct him, clipping and pathfinding problems abound and the graphical transition to 3D still proves to be a slight problem to Charles Cecil's Revolution Studios. The sense of danger in the opening scene is there, but the slow strategy of examining, finding and using items is not condusive to action as a whole. George Stobbart is not an action hero.
And it's when you realise this that the game as it is meant to be clicks into gear. Everything that George comes across that is of any importance can be scrutinised, and the vocal work is of the highest standard. Seemingly impossible situations can be thought through and played at a leisurely pace, and the fully interactive nature of the scenes makes this an enjoyable experience.
Characters are, as usual, varied and interesting, and the almost accidental part that they play in George's life makes them all the better. The simple depth of the people you meet comes together to produce the feel of a very deep and real world, and as the game progresses this is what makes it feel like such a seminal experience. You feel like your actions have meaning, as the already fantastic narrative is bolstered by the inclusion of these minor people who add the fringe of humour and purpose. The self-referential nature of the game is also a plus in this regard: having George confuse Anna-Maria with Nico Collard is a genuine masterstroke, and a nod to the fans who have been with the series for over ten years.
What else is there to say? If you're a fan as I am, this is the game you wanted it to be. The transition to 3D does work, and although nothing will ever be as memorably lush as the first Broken Sword game, the fashion of fantastic narrative and memorable characters is carried on here and polished. A great story, a great experience, and a fantastic addition to the series.