It's strange how a genre that was so popular a decade ago can be all but dead these days. And yet that's the case with point-and-click adventures. Although the games still exist and the odd exception does relatively well (see Sam & Max, Strong Bad and Zack & Wiki), the vast majority are released on the PC, sell very poorly and are quickly forgotten about. This is a far cry from the halycon days of the early '90s when the likes of Monkey Island and Simon The Sorcerer were immensely popular.
One of the best point-and-clicks at the time was Broken Sword for the PC (and later the PlayStation and GBA). It had fantastic animation and beautiful, hand-drawn backgrounds, and its conspiracy-based plot was so gripping that it did a better job of a Da Vinci Code storyline seven years before Dan Brown's book had even been published. So we're extremely happy to see its return on the Wii and even happier to see that it's not just a quick port, but an all-new 'Director's Cut' version which actually adds a good deal of new content.
This new content is apparent from the very beginning of the game. There's an all-new prologue in which the player follows Nico Collard, a female journalist, as she interviews an influential French statesman and witnesses his assassination. For those familiar with Broken Sword, this effectively leads to a couple of hours of brand new scenes and gameplay before you even get to the scene with the bomb at the café and the 'proper' game starts. Even the scenes that were present in the original game look better, with insets appearing on the screen showing characters' faces as they talk, adding to the game's sense of character. There are also a bunch of new puzzles which break things up a little and add variety to proceedings.
Speaking of the puzzles, the main problem people had with point-and-click games back in the day was that some of the puzzles had bewildering solutions, and the games' linear nature meant if you couldn't figure out what to do you were stuck. Broken Sword was no exception (if you've played it, the words 'the goat puzzle' will probably make you break out in a cold sweat). So it's nice to see that this version offers a hint mode for perplexed players.
If you're stuck on a puzzle, a question mark will eventually appear at the top of the screen. If you choose it you'll get a hint giving you a vague idea of where you should be looking next. If after a few minutes you're still stumped, the question mark flashes and selecting it offers another, more specific hint. It's a nice addition because it forces people to spend a few minutes thinking about it and only gives them the answer if they've finally decided they're stuck. And the game logs the number of hints you use so your save file looks rubbish if you keep taking the easy way out.
Broken Sword is a fantastic adventure game which still looks superb even after all this time. Those new to the series will fall in love with the engrossing storyline, and those who were smitten the first time around will enjoy the new scenes which add depth to the plot. Highly recommended.