Syberia 3 – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle Adventure
Developer: Microids
Publisher: Microids
Platform: PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Tested On: PC

Syberia 3 – Review

Site Score
4.5
Good: Nice music
Bad: Not a worthy successor
User Score
2.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 2.5/10 (2 votes cast)

If you have achieved a certain age in life you might remember the old point-and-click adventure games called Syberia 1 and 2. In their days these titles were considered among some of the best in their genre. Developer Microïds has picked up the gauntlet to create a new chapter in this series but are they able to fulfill the expectations and deliver a new and exciting successor?

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Story

The story picks up where it left off in part two: the American lawyer Kate Walker has left the island Syberia but is adrift and unconscious on her boat as it washes ashore on a river bank. She is found near death by the Youkole tribe and while being kept alive by their shaman she is brought to a hospital in the Valsembor village. When she finally wakes up in a room with one of the Youkole people who is also wounded, you  take over and Kate can start making her way throughout the world, if she can leave the hospital that is. The story as told by Benoît Sokal, who also wrote the stories of the first two parts, further unfolds and Kate encounters not so pleasant memories and characters from her past. The Youkole people continue to play a great part as Kate learns more about them and their almost symbiotic relationship with their snow ostriches.

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Graphics

Back in the day, Syberia 2 was already a nice looking title and it seems that the developers have tried to up the ante for this latest part. The world you walk around in is nicely formed, albeit sometimes a bit boring when outside. When you get up close to objects or characters however, they often are not quite so detailed. The cut-scenes are well integrated in the game and everything seems to have a natural flow. All this graphic experience comes at a cost of a whopping 45 GB on your hard drive though. You move through the world in 3D but even though the camera moves with you, its position is always fixed so some corners are impossible to look behind.

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Sound

While the soundtrack of the game, written by Inon Zur, known from games like Syberia 2, Fallout and Prince of Persia, is very pleasant to listen to, it would have been nice if the same amount of attention was delivered to the sound effects which at times sound like stock samples and are pretty bland. Even though all dialogues are voice acted it seems like the developers were only able to afford a few not terribly great voice actors which makes you disconnect from the game at times as for example a native all of sudden speaks flawless English without any accent. It also doesn’t help that the mouth synchronization is far from what it should b,e resulting in an overall bad experience when it comes to sound in this game.

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Gameplay

In stark contrast to the previous titles in this chapter you no longer have to point-and-click to get Kate to move but you can control her movements yourself. The developers strongly suggest that you use a controller to play the game and after trying the keyboard and mouse for a while (hey, we’re old-skool!) it becomes painfully obvious why they do so. It is very clear that this game has been designed for multiple platforms, including consoles, without giving any thought to multiple ways of controlling the character. When using keyboard controls everything is fine as long as you stay in one room and don’t run into objects blocking your path, which you can’t see because of a fixed camera position, but if you move into another room the real fun starts because all of a sudden the orientation switches and you find yourself running in and out of a room three times, because the controls reverse. Arguably we were warned up front so we can’t really give bad points on this but we find it is a core part of the gameplay which deserves the necessary attention.

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Surely after all this bad news at least we should be able to report that we were blown into a nostalgic mood by the quality of the puzzles which, after all, this game is about but alas, also here we don’t have many positive things to report. A lot of the puzzles are fairly easy and the more difficult ones are exactly that because they involve you walking around the map clicking random stuff until you find whatever part it is that you are missing to complete the puzzle. Some of the puzzles are tied into the script so you might know immediately how to solve it but first you need to find a specific person you need to talk to or a guideline that tells you how to solve it, because Kate first needs to ‘learn’ the obvious before she can execute it. We can’t even remember how many times we ran around the yurt finding just the right person to help us get out of the Youkole settlement. The only reason we didn’t see him on every lap was because we always ran around in the same circle which, combined with the fixed camera position, resulted in him staying hidden. It was only when we finally made the lap in the other direction we saw him appear and we could get on with the game.

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Conclusion

As excited we were to try this latest chapter in the Syberia series, so disappointed are we after playing it for a while. If there were only one of the negative points, we would have been able to forgive it because of our nostalgia, but all together it just results in a frustrated feeling while playing the game, and even afterwards. There is lots of room for improvement in various areas of the game and we hope that, should a fourth part in the franchise ever makes its appearance, it will once more live up to our expectations and make us quickly forget about this release.

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Rating: 2.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Syberia 3 - Review, 2.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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