Previously released on the iPhone, the iPad edition takes full advantage of the larger screen, bringing it full circle from the original Broken Sword PC game released nearly 15 years ago. I played both the original PC version (released in the US under the title Circle of Blood) and Astraware's Pocket PC port (winning the number two spot in my Top 10 Games for 2007). I expected the iPad version to be yet another port of this classic title, but was pleasantly surprised when the opening credits and a notable amount of the story were different. Most of all, I was thoroughly captivated by the polished graphic and sound quality this engrossing interactive title had to offer.
The story begins in France and follows the adventures of American tourist George Stobbart and photo-journalist Nico Collard through various world-wide locales as they unravel the mysteries shrouded behind the Knights Templar. The interface, already optimized for the previously released iPhone and iPod Touch versions, have been resized and sharpened for the iPad.
The mechanics of the game rely on a lot of fingertip scanning over the screen for hotspots that show up as an eye icon for closer examination, a sprockets icon to perform an action, and other indicators. Objects in the player's inventory can be dragged and dropped over game set pieces that may or may not produce a result. Logic puzzles requiring mental agility and visual acuity are persistent through the game, so if you're seeking an adventure with plenty of mental challenges (especially as the game progresses), Broken Sword will surely satisfy. For those who played the original Broken Sword, the Director's Cut offers enough new material to justify purchasing and enjoying the game once more, especially as a gaming showpiece for your new iPad.
A special Broken Sword digital comic book illustrated by Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons is the bonus included in the Director's Cut. However, rather than simply providing a link to this comic book via the game's home screen, players have to earn the privilege to view it by finding the six new hidden features within the game. I was expecting the comic book to be cheesy but it actually turned out to be quite good, entertaining and consistent with the style and thematic overtones of the game. Several puzzles are also new to the Director's Cut, giving another added bonus to those who played through the original PC or Pocket PC versions.
A YouTube video of the game shows off the impressive graphics and intuitive gameplay. Additionally, a series of video walkthroughs of the game (via the Nintendo Wii port) is also available for those struggling with some of the game's more devious and involved puzzles. Gamefaqs.com has also posted a complete walkthrough written by author Tom Hayes for those who prefer a text-based breakdown instead.
Broken Sword is a showcase title to show off the power and magnetic draw of the iPad. It is also a wonderfully told story and a fully satisfying graphic adventure. With the stunning release of this highly entertaining game, I eagerly await the iPad Director's Cut editions of the series sequels.
Product: Broken Sword The Director's Cut HD
Developer: Revolution Software
Price: $7.99 US
Rating: 4/5 stars