Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – The Director’s Cut – Review

Original cover art

Ah the city of Paris, home of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. A city that countless visitors seek for romantic getaways, art and culture. American lawyer George Stobbart was visiting Paris. He was enjoying a coffee and minding his own business…then a bomb exploded in the café he was sitting at.

Title screen (screenshot taken by the author)

Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars (also known as Circle of Blood) is a point and click game developed and published by Revolution Software in 1996. It was released on multiple platforms including Android, Game Boy Advance, iOS, Linux, Mac OS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch, Palm OS, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Windows, Windows Mobile, Xbox, Xbox One. Here, I will review the Director’s Cut which was released in 2009.

Director’s Cut cover art

Plot

This is the first instalment of the Broken Sword series. You play as American George Stobbart who witnesses the assassination of a man named Plantard. Whilst enjoying a coffee at a Parisian Café, Stobbart observes the assassin enter and then leave with a briefcase moments before an explosion destroys the establishment. Naturally Stobbart begins to investigate the murder because, let’s face it, the explosion almost killed him too and to rub salt into the wound, he appears to be a suspect. During his investigation he meets and allies himself with French reporter Nicole “Nico” Collard. What starts as a murder investigation soon unravels as a conspiracy plot involving the Knights Templar, which takes Stobbart and Collard to several different countries including Ireland, Spain, Syria, and Scotland in search of the murderer.

The animation style is in the beautiful classic animation tradition (screenshot taken by the author)

Gameplay

Like with all point and click games, you control a cursor on the screen. By hovering it over certain objects or characters, you have the option to look at or interact with them. By moving the cursor to the lower part of the screen, you will gain access to your inventory and any objects you have picked up. When talking to characters, a number of pictures will appear and when these pictures are clicked, George of Nico will engage in a line of questioning.

How Does It Handle?

The gameplay is easy to learn and intuitive. The story is engaging, especially if you love a good conspiracy theory, and I felt immediately drawn in by it. The puzzles are challenging but not convoluted like in the Monkey Island series. I did need assistance to help with the odd puzzle, but I never got bored of this game.

Graphics

The game is designed to be reminiscent of the classic animated film genre. The scenes are incredibly detailed and the characters are well animated.

George and Nico’s adventures see them meet a number of undesirables (screenshot taken by the author)

Music

The music is rather understated and takes a back seat in this game. It is mainly used in cutscenes or when you solve a major puzzles. This game doesn’t need music though. The silence and minimalist SFX adds to the realism of the game.

Differences With The Original Release

The Director’s Cut has several differences when compared with the original release. The graphics have been improved and are smoother. There are extra scenes; in the original you begin with Stobbart at the Café, but in the Director’s Cut, you begin with Nico needing to escape Plantard’s house. Artwork of character profiles appear during conversation scenes, and there are extra puzzles to work your way through.

Did I Complete The Game?

I did, but there were one or two occasions when I had to use a walkthrough.

What The Critics Said About The Original Version:

Gamespot.com “Without question, Circle of Blood is an adventure of epic proportions and ranks as one of the most intriguing games to roll out this year. Its only drawback is that the graphics might be too real. After playing the game, you might find yourself wanting to pack your bags and take in the European sights first-hand. But if you’re lacking for travel funds and must stay home and play computer games, Circle of Blood definitely won’t disappoint you. Overall rating 9.2 superb[1]

What Critics Said About The Director’s Cut:

PC Gamer Magazine “Wonky visuals, but this is as close to the Da Vinci Code meets Monkey Island as we’ll get. Did I mention the hot French accent? Overall 69%[2]

Awards For The Original Cut:

Best Adventure 1997 – Generation 4 Magazine

Best Quest – Quest Magazine[3]

Awards For The Director’s Cut:

Pocket Gamer Gold Award 2010 – Pocket Gamer [4]

(Wii version) Best European Adventure 2011 – European Game Awards[5]

My Verdict:

“I love this game, and am a huge fan of the franchise. I love the graphics, the story, and the puzzles. If you like point and clicks, and even if you don’t, I’m sure you will find this game entertaining.”

Rating:

What are your memories of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.


[1] Anderson, R., (October 3rd, 1996). ‘Review – Circle of Blood’. Gamspot.com. (https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/circle-of-blood-review/1900-2538410/ Accessed 10th December 2019).

[2] PC Gamer. (October 31st 2010). ‘Review – Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars Director’s Cut’. PC Gamer. (https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/broken-sword-shadow-of-the-templars-directors-cut-review/ Accessed 10th December 2019).

[3] Cecil, C., (July 18, 2011). ‘A New STEAM Age’. TED. (https://web.archive.org/web/20131217015330/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcUcl23D7mA Accessed 10th December 2019).

[4] Usher, A., (Jun 28, 2012). ‘Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – The Director’s Cut’. Pocket Gamer. (https://www.pocketgamer.com/articles/042432/classic-point-and-click-title-broken-sword-the-directors-cut-makes-its-way-onto-android/ Accessed 13th December 2019).

[5] European Game Awards. (https://web.archive.org/web/20120415092901/http://www.european-games-award.com/ Accessed on 13th December 2019).