It would be easy for the typical modern person to mistake Broken Sword for a silly cartoon game. The animation style and quality is somewhat comparable to Lucasart's Monkey Island series, or Disney's Treasure Planet, but actually, the game is designed to be played by older audiences. The story is deep and it delves into a bit of history and politics, there are also a lot of very nuanced concerns that are brought up -things that are best appreciated by those who carry certain levels of responsibilities and obligations in their lives. Deep in its heart, Broken Sword is a point and click mystery solving game, but it is also has a good dose of puzzle solving, exploration, adventuring, and for good measure, tactfully placed humor.
The story begins in Paris, where American tourist George Stobbart is enjoying a rather leisurely vacation. His enjoyment is cut short when he witnesses an explosion at a cafe -presumably by terrorists (that subject matter may be a little sensitive in light of the actual attacks on Paris, but just remember that the game was made almost two decades before the real life attacks). Anyway, George manages to figure out that the explosion was a much a diversion as an attack when he sees an extra suspicious looking clown (because most clowns are already suspicious looking by default) stealing a briefcase before starting the commotion. Not surprisingly, George gets caught up in the investigation due to his own curiosity, and he meets journalist and obligatory love interest Nicole Collard.
Together, George and Nicolle try to track down the clown and figure out why he attacked the cafe and what was in the briefcase -only to end up travelling to all sort of secret and historical locations as they uncover one new clue after another.
While we did say that this is a game for slightly older audiences, we do not mean to imply that it is all dark and grim and without humor at all -after all, the game was not directed by Zack Snyder. It is bright, nicely colored, and smoothly animated. The dialogue is well written, at times snappy, at some parts witty, and there are also occasions where the in-game conversations are just so good to listen to.
Early in the game, George calls up a costume shop Todryk over the phone in the hopes of getting clues to the identity of the man wearing the clown outfit. It starts off pretty simple enough, but when Todryk starts being protective of his answers, George starts acting like a b-movie investigator and Todryk quickly starts trolling him in return. The whole exchange is a little slow paced, but the silly dialogue makes up for it.
Much of the game's bigger mysteries, like Khan's motives, or the organization that calls itself the templars, are solved by progressing the story. And that means solving a lot of puzzles and finding a lot of stuff in the background. The cursor icon will change depending on where you place it -providing context specific feedback to the player about what they can click. It is a little like spoonfeeding, but it also speeds things up and prevents you from lingering on one place long enough to get boring. There are some puzzles that are noteworthy, in the sense that you can appreciate how innovative, fitting, and clever they are. One big favorite is the one with chess pieces on a strange mechanical board. We will not tell you how to solve that, but just know that getting it right on your own will make you want to pat yourself on the back.
There is a Director's Cut Edition of the game, and it far more than just adding new yet insignificant scenes to the story. Instead, new content (even some that are added before the original intro), provide more information for other characters, especially Nicole. It also provides a more thorough explanation about the nature of the whole plot, adding a another layer to the mystery and more good stuff for players to chew on.
'Machinarium pushes the boundaries when it comes to what we know about traditional point and click titles. First, it has no dialogue save for a few text tidbits at the start. Its puzzles are confined to a single screen, and it's not afraid to lend a hand when needed. It's different, and it's infinitely more interesting because of it. To sum it up, Machinarium is one of those rare games that brilliantly executes radical ideas.'