Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror is a semi-direct sequel to Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars, and it largely follows the same template. The story itself is a puzzle that has to be unravelled, and is fairly dark, but it's carried by George Stobbart and Nicole Collard - perhaps the best double-teaming protagonists in any game. The Remastered edition, which I played, includes a number of improvements from the Director's Cut of Shadow of the Templars - largely the improved menu, user interface and hint system, as well as some technical improvements.
At the start of the game, Nico is captured by a South American man and George is left to die, but even with death staring him in the face, he can't help but make inappropriate quips. Once he escapes, he has one task in mind - save Nico - but by carrying out this task, he opens up a whole new can of worms and a plot to bring back an evil god from the Mayan culture. This leads George and Nico on an adventure half-way across the world, and into something that was deeper than they could have imagined.
The story is explained fairly well, you have an idea of who the bad guys are and what they're getting up to, yet it's peppered with moments that don't quite fit - for instance, there's a section towards the end where George encounters a group of people on an island (I won't say more) that doesn't make sense whatsoever, nor does it add anything to the game. The characters that fill the world of Broken Sword are good, though, and they're often humorous in their own ways - some are outright crazy, some have some funny lines, some are just funny - and it keeps you playing, so much so that I began to wonder if the plot was designed to play second fiddle to the character interactions.
George is the player character for the majority of the game, and as such he tends to have the best lines. Many of the laugh-out-loud moments in the game come from George's dialogue with himself/the player, and this is contrasted fairly well by Nico who seems much less pleasant in this game, although being the token Distressed Female a few times probably doesn't help her mood. In the last third or so of the game, it switches frequently between Nico and George sections to simulate them working simultaneously, and it's quite a good system as it keeps your memory fresh and builds up the plot nicely.
As for the puzzles, largely they're simplistic and use common sense. Some are a little outlandish or have overly-specific thought behind them (the puzzles relating to the Ketch museum often worked like this), and others take place over a few scenes, but there should be little backtracking needed to do puzzles if you're thorough with collecting things. However, a very small number of puzzles were quite poor - I'm reminded of the puzzles involving Nico in particular - as they took away from the pacing and the enjoyment, and were exercises in patience. Revolution saved the single-biggest puzzle in the game for almost the very end, when what you want to do is get to the end, not spend 10 minutes on a slightly abstract, awkward puzzle.
The improvements seem very randomly done, however. The vast majority of dialogue is clear but there are times where it switches between Original and Improved, meaning one line may be clear but the following one may be a little muffled. The times where it happens are few and far between, but they do take away from the experience somewhat. The hint system is also a little inconsistent - it seems to give you straight answers on the simple puzzles, but be more obtuse on the harder ones when you would generally want it to be the other way around. Revolution also missed a chance to correct a few problems - namely George referring to the South Americans as "Indians" (which they're not) - and added some of their own, such as the dialogue and subtitles not quite matching up as well as sound levels changing dramatically (muffled 'original' sound coupled with an extremely loud cinematic volume), and this does cause you to begin to wonder how much effort was put into the remaster.
Overall, Broken Sword 2 is not a bad game, it's just a bit inconsistent. At times it makes perfect sense, at others it makes none, but the characters and the dialogue keep you going. There's a lot to do in the game despite it being short at about five hours in length (depending on how much you rely on the hint system or a guide), and it's enjoyable from start to finish despite a few nagging flaws.