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Broken ... Just broken

Tried to play Broken Sword 4: Angel of Death again. Birthday pressie from my bro, that I requested. Death to pc more like. I'm gonna have to put that other memory stick back in, the one that potentially causes crashes but I could never verify 100% that it did, it having no issues under numerous memtests. The game just doesn't not play well on my current setup, even meeting minimum requirements supposedly.

Also, so far I am disappointed. The voice acting is as always good-excellent and I can't fault the music either - though there was an error with missing sound files in one scene (could be related to the crash that came after that). What makes me sad is the animation and graphics.

Don't get me wrong, I ADORE the Broken Sword games (and would hearily recommend the first 3 certainly) because I love the characters but them going 3D this time means it's losing lots of what makes the quality. The 3rd game was 3D too and had supposedly revolutionary lipsynch and facial animation, and apart from the design angled to the console releases, meaning more box shuffling than is fun on pc's, that was still a great game in my mind. This one, judging from the credits, Pc only release and what I've seen so far, has had a team downsize and it shows. :(

The extras includes comparison shots for George 3D model from 3rd to 4th and it looks better. However, the little details lack, especially for cutscenes. I know that hair is difficult as heck to model, but if you're doing a simplish polygon mesh for it, then can you spare me angles that show her hair intersecting her back and the wall, kplsthx? And opening scene with guy typing on keyboard is not impressive when typing = his fingers going into the keyboard instead of pressing keys down. X(

Plus, why waste that fab voice acting by having the character with their back to camera or standing still for 4 lines of dialogue. Don't care how good the lipsynch is, if she's talking frustratedly about how people are after her, the least you could do is have her animated a little, an arm fling or folding arms as she says the last bit - something to show that emotion, if not have camera change and we get to see closeups between characters as they talk occasionally. Otherwise it's wasting the potential of that acting those people did by not animating it appropriately.

But I think this is all because they were a smaller team, less than 50 by my count and the game did seem to come out earlier than expected. I almost wish they'd taken more time to polish it up though, because it lets the series down. It makes me, long-time fan, sad. Charles Cecil, be ashamed! And this story better be good, as usual, once I get to it.

I think this game brings to a head my wish for games developers to stop doing 3D because everyone else does. The first two games were inspiring 2D/cell animation and the style really brought the character alive. I was worried by the rush to 3D, much as other adventure games series went to with mixed results, and luckily the 3rd game here didn't disappoint. Suppose that's why they couldn't go back, but seriously, if you can't do good enough 3D then I'd much rather get well down 2D/isometric - THERE's NOTHING WRONG WITH IT, you hear. With 3D if you can't get above a certain standard then it will look dated, but animated can look timeless almost, apart from of course it's considered dated because no one does that anymore. I just don't see why they HAD to move to a "superior" format that it seems smaller studios can't necessarily get right withh the time and people they've got. I want good plot and pretty, but that pretty doesn't have to be 3D - functioning games are nice too, you know. </mini-rant>

For now I will retire to the less frustrating Caesar III and hope the later reboot and adding memory will solve the performance issues, allowing me to get somewhere in order to save and not endlessly repeat my actions.

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