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Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror

Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror
by SVG Distribution

Platform: PlayStation
ESRB Rating: Teen

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GameSpot Review: Despite several attempts by game developers to prove otherwise, the PlayStation controller doesn't do well in place of a mouse. That, combined with the PlayStation hardware's limitations, may be why such games as Broken Sword II are not commonplace on Sony's machine. Even though point-and-click adventure games have been around for years on the PC, the PlayStation has been fairly devoid of them. And while the original Broken Sword was held back by its difficult interface and almost unbearable loading times, the sequel makes point-and-click adventures seem almost doable on the PlayStation. But though the loading times have been trimmed and the interface has been fixed, it's still the PlayStation's limitations, not the compelling storyline or the game's quirky sense of humor, that keep Broken Sword from achieving its potential.

Once again you're walking in the shoes of George Stobbard, the jack-of-all-trades American who saved the world in the first Broken Sword game. Nico, Stobbard's prissy French girlfriend, has been kidnapped, and it's up to you to help him escape from a burning house and track down the girl's abductors. But more importantly, you must figure out exactly what's going on. Indeed, this story is about more than just girlfriends and poisonous spiders - you'll run into CIA agents, cocaine lords, power-hungry dictators, mysterious scientists, Mayan artifacts, fallen priests, powerful shamans, and other oddball characters who are all extremely good at muddling the plot. Like all good mysteries, once you think you've got a good handle on exactly what's going on, the game yanks your theories out from under you and tosses you back to square one. Are you tracking down a cocaine empire in the hopes of turning it into the authorities, or are you trying to stop a maniacal Mayan priest from resurrecting the god of chaos and evil from his spiritual prison? Whatever your goal, you'll do plenty of traveling.

The game starts in Paris, moves around France a bit, then it's off to Mexico, the Caribbean, London, and back again. Not only does this variety give you a great change of scenery every few hours, but it also lets the game introduce distinctly different characters. Instead of spending all your in-game time as Stobbard, there are parts of the game where you assume the role of Nico herself. This makes the game more interesting, as Nico has an entirely different way of dealing with people and situations. Because of her striking cartoony curves, men are more apt to help Nico, but she has a more difficult time doing physical tasks. Stobbard, however, hasn't changed a whole lot since he had his fun in the original Broken Sword. He's still a quirky, cynical bastard with an aspiring MacGyver-like talent that lets him do remarkable things with everyday items. While there are tons of items and puzzles in Broken Sword II, you won't find yourself stuck in any scenario for any lengthy amount of time. If you can't figure something out, it usually means you must go talk to everyone you've met recently all over again, as they'll offer new bits of information they conveniently forgot before. This makes the gameplay almost tedious, because you spend plenty of time listening to people ramble and significantly less time figuring out how to do things such as start a fire with a bank statement and stone figure.

Still, there are plenty of creative things to do with all the common items you stumble across in the game, and people looking for at least one or two challenging puzzles will find them. Like its predecessor, the graphics in Broken Sword II are all hand drawn. The graphical style and attention to detail gives Broken Sword II a feel similar to Don Bluth's laser-disc games like Dragon's Lair and Space Ace. But because the environments are actually interactive, the graphics simply don't look as crisp as they would have had thisgame been on laser disc. Details such as faces are rather smudged and difficult to make out, and sometimes the game looks like the screen has been squished into a different size than originally intended. There's also a lot of pixelation around the edges of objects that can easily confuse you as to exactly what it is you're looking at. Still, the backgrounds are well detailed and creative, and the graphical style is a refreshing break from the recent uprising of polygons.--Ben Stahl

From the Manufacturer: Broken Sword II: The Smoking Mirror follows the breath taking tale of George Stobbard as he tries to rescue Nico, his investigative reporter girlfriend, from the tentacled grasp of a central American crime syndicate. There adventure leads not only to the heart of a ruthless modern day drug smuggling operation but back to the arcane power of the ancient civilization of the Mayans. Broken Sword relies on Stunning graphics, advanced sprite movement, awe-inspiring music and an original story line that uses genuine historical fact as a basis for an intriguing adventure. With superior graphics and strong plot concepts BSII delivers a level of immersion that will set this game above the competition.

Customer Reviews:
Brilliant, great follow up, June 23, 2001
Reviewer: alexliamw from London United Kingdom
Broken Sword two follows George Stobbart and Nico as they continue their adventures. In this sequel the storyline remains equally intricate. Stobbart is your average jack-of-all-trades and he has that knack of using everyday objects to do extraordinary things. You also get the oppurtunity to control Nico, something you don't get in Broken Sword 1.

There are quite a few puzzles which are difficult to solve and require some lateral thinking. There is also an added danger factor. But the game is thoroughly enjoyable and I'd reccomend it to anyone.

A great follow up, November 18, 2000
Reviewer: cassie from USA
This game is an excellent sequel to the first Broken Sword (aka Circle of Blood). The 2D graphics are the same, which is great. If you can find this game for the PC, then grab it!

Very decent adventure, November 16, 2000
Reviewer: A gamer from Spokane, WA USA
I like this game a lot - the story about old mayan religion is very interesting and deep. You take on the role as George Stobbard who has to find his girlfriend who seemingly was kidnapped by a mayan indian. As the story unfolds you'll be tangled up in everything from drug smuggling to ghosts to the possible end of the world.

The puzzles are usually well though out, though some of them seem a little obscure. What really stands out is the voice acting and music - both very well done. The humour is also great and the graphics is classy.

The only real problem is that the story, while good, sometimes drags on a little too long and it's easy to lose interest if you're not focused. With that said though; the game is very good and there are parts of the story that are truely creepy.

Don't know what all the hype is about, May 29, 2000
Reviewer: A gamer from Gloucester, Va
I bought this game, in part because all I'd heard about it was good. I made a mistake. Broken Sword 2 is certianly very pretty to look at, and the animation flows relatively well, but.... Remember Willy Beamish? How about Space Ace, or Dragonslair? Same vein, here. The Gamer from Gloucester found each of the aforementioned games neat for about five minutes when they were fresh, years ago. By the time he got to Broken Sword, all he could say was been there, done that. Techinally, there is nothing wrong with this game, folks. The art is beautiful, the music is well done, everything flows, the story is even pretty good. Ther is just something lacking, that magical quality that makes a game great isn't here. A game that is older conceptually can shine, if you don't believe me check out Lunar, the Silver Star Story, complete. Broken Sword 2 on the other hand is not much more than a technologically dressed up version of a concept that was a novelty in the late eighties. The play is still confining, the arc of the story can't escape the loop of the programming. Forget one tiny detail, and you'll end up talking to the same grumpy old man on a french sidewalk cafe, unable to advance the game, no matter how hard you try.All the graphics and music are like silk curtians dressing broken windows. If you want me to go back to playing cartoon video games, give me something new, like a little flexability in the game play. Also, in an age where three dimensional enviornments and 360 views are becoming more and more easy to use and look at, this game has a very flat feel to it. This is the first game I've ever said, "Don't buy it. You can speand your money on something better." But you can.

great!, January 4, 2000
Reviewer: A gamer from Florida
This was given to me as a present when I was at my parent's house. I had the playstation console with me so I popped in the game. It was a mystery game that started with your main character tied to a chair and a tranula-like spider crawling towards you. Your character watches as goones whack your girlfriend over the head and take her away. What do you do next? The graphics are great and it's in animation form. This game seems to hook everyone that watches it. It is difficult to turn off. My parents ended up buying a playstation because of this game.

Another addictivly irratating game!, November 11, 1999
Reviewer: A gamer from Harrow,London
Broken Sword 2, the continous story from Broken Sword 1. Broken Sword 2 was rated as either 9/10 or 10/10 from magazines all over the world from Russia to England, America and Japan. Broken Sword 2 follows on the story from the previous game with better graphics and a more trickier plot. BS2 is shorter than the previous but is more trickier and there are more ways to get yoourself killed! The game starts off brilliantly then the action starts, imagine a poison spider crawlling up your leg and a fire over by the exit while you are tied to the chair, if thats your fab dream then this is the game for you. Not for the weak minded this game sends puzzle after puzzle and none are easy to complete. But the action is there although not as good as some games but this type of action require more thought that fistes, one false move and you may set off a gaurds gun or fall into a pit, the game is very hard to complete but is very challenging.

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