Secrets of the Ark: A Broken Sword Game

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2007-05-15


Developer: Revolution Software Publisher: The Adventure Company
Release Date: February 20, 2007 Also On: None

It's hard to imagine, but Myst has been around forever. It appeared on the PC, Mac, even the long since forgotten 3DO and Jaguar. In fact, it's going on fifteen years now. What does Myst have to do with Secrets of the Ark? Well, aside from the age of the franchise (Broken Sword will be ten soon), Myst is the game that popularized the adventure genre. I would argue that Broken Sword is the game that made it more interesting and mass-market friendly. Secrets of the Ark is the fourth Broken Sword game to date and it has actually been four years since the last one. Does George Stobbart still have his mojo? You damn well bet he does.

A Broken Sword game wouldn't be a Broken Sword game without a little drama. You may remember George's last adventure started with a plane crash in Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon. The developers at Revolution Software start the game in traditional Broken Sword fashion with action right out of the box. That doesn't mean that the game doesn't slow down at points, it definitely does and will, but the first hour should keep you on your feet.

Apparently George is down on his luck. He's living in New York City as a bail bondsman after seeing his company go broke. Quite the high status job, right? Nothing a little adventure can't solve. A blond walks into his office seeking help. She's being chased and instead of calling the police, turns to George. They don't have time to chat long though, because as quickly as she got there, so too did the hoodlums chasing after her. George and his female companion need to find a way out of his office quick and back to her hotel to retrieve an age-old manuscript that the bad guys are after.

If you are familiar at all with past Broken Sword games, including Sleeping Dragon, this should be familiar turf for you. You point-and-click George around, picking up objects along the way and making contact with various characters. You may need to combine items to find a new purpose for them. This isn't a walk through though, so I'm not going to spoil what you are going to use things for. There will be some moments that will take some trial-and-error guess work. Seriously though, who is going to think to shut a window and light a plant on fire at one point during the game?

One of the reasons why I like the Broken Sword franchise as much as I do is because of its production value. This is one of the better looking adventure games on the market, certainly an improvement from a few years ago, both the cut-scenes and in-game action. Important for me is the fact that you don't need a high-end computer to play, either. I managed to run this game fine on 256 MB RAM.

Another staple of the franchise is the quality voice-acting. Secrets of the Ark is no different in this category. A nice sense of humor and wit make George a personality that anyone would like. Unfortunately though, you can't skip conversations that you have with characters that you might have already heard.

If you are looking for over ten hours of high quality adventure gaming, Secrets of the Ark is the place to find it. The developers did a good job of variating between locations, both with the cities that you visit and the places in these cities, and with bringing them to life with interesting characters. On the downside, the camera angles can be iffy and it just seems to be zoomed in too much. Overall though, this is a game that will keep you entertained without making you too frustrated.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.2
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell