Syberia review
The Good: Breathtaking graphics and music, enriching storyline.
The Bad: Quality of voice acting varies greatly.

I've never played a game quite like Syberia before. It is an adventure in the most traditional of fashions but yet at the same time it is very unique.

This game is all about the story. Story and character. You play as Kate Walker, a lawyer dispatched from New York to the strange, automaton filled Alpine village of Valadeline. You are there to settle an inheritance matter on behalf of your firm involving the Voralberg family. Sounds like a simple premise for an adventure game doesn't it? And it is. The story unfolds at a decidedly slow pace. It takes its time and doesn't rush. It crafts this otherwise simple story into a richly detailed experience. In fact, the story is so elegantly and subtly told that you feel as though you are reading poetry or being sung a sonnet that has been transformed into a game.

An area of the game that goes hand in hand with storytelling is character development and Syberia excels here. At the start of the game I didn't care much for Kate; I felt very indifferent towards her, in fact. Though as the game progressed she became more and more likable and a noticeable change in her occurred. By the end I was completely invested in everything that she did and ended up caring for her very much. This is a testament to the excellent job they did in crafting the story.

The game play is very similar to The Longest Journey. In fact if you enjoyed The Longest Journey, you are bound to love this game as well. It is played from the 3rd person perspective with 3D characters imposed over 2D backgrounds. The interface is completely point-and-click and relies heavily on the use of inventory items. Nearly all of the puzzles are inventory-based and they are well integrated into the story. I never got a feeling of detachment from the game while solving a puzzle because I knew it was being used to further the storytelling. I felt that the difficulty of the puzzles was very well balanced. There is nothing impossibly difficult that will throw off new players to the genre but simple puzzles are also generally few and far between. Most of the puzzles occupy a nice middleground that should satisfy both experienced and novice players.

Beautiful? Stunning? Breathtaking? All words that can safely be used when describing Syberia's graphics. The level of detail is simply immense. You visit four locations in the game and each has it's own style or theme. Valadeline has the look and feel of an Alpinian village that is hidden away from the rest of the world. Barrockstadt is of a tropical persuasion mixed with modern architecture. Komkolzgrad is a Mecca of machinations and steam. Aralbad has a very Dr. Zhivago feel; an ice covered land with an essence of romance and nostalgia. All are beautiful to behold. What is even better is that the cut scenes lose none of that graphical beauty. They were created with the same painstaking detail that the in-game graphics were. They add incredibly to the cinematic feel of the game; they are even presented in widescreen format.

The icing on this delicious cake is the music. The score was composed by Nick Valey and Dmitri Bodiansky and they have done an amazing job. It is a traditional classical score that could easily have its place in a film. The score also contains a theme that once heard is easily recognizable, just as one can recognize the Gabriel Knight or King's Quest themes.

So is there anything that is NOT good about this game? Well, yes. These points are relatively minor but they are still flaws. First is the voice acting. At times it is acceptable and in some cases very well done. At other times it is downright bad. It fluctuates from bad to good throughout the whole of the game. Second would be the scripting. It feels off sometimes. Perhaps something was lost between the translation from French to English but something seems wrong with the dialogue here and there and it is hard to put your finger on exactly what it is.

With those minor quibbles aside though, this is a thoroughly enjoyable game. You feel transported, engrossed, enriched and amazed all at once while playing. Although the game takes place in modern Europe, you feel as if you are in a completely different world. A world that is isolated and untouched by our culture. It is this that lends so heavily to the nostalgic, sentimental and somewhat sorrowful feeling that eminates from the game. If Syberia were a book it would be the kind you read while curled up next to a blazing fire while drinking a cup of hot chocolate.

Syberia deserves to be in every gamers' collection, adventure or otherwise.



AD Syberia can be purchased at:
Gamersgate   • Big Fish Games   • GOG   • Amazon  

Game Info

Syberia

Platform:
Android, iPad, iPhone/iPod Touch, Mac, PC, Xbox

Genre:
Drama, Science Fiction

Developer:
Microïds


Game Page »

Worldwide September 9 2002 MC2 Microïds

Where To Buy

Syberia

Get it DRM-free at

Available at

Available at Big Fish

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User Score

Average based on 64 ratings

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User Reviews

Posted by MrChapeau on Mar 25, 2014

Lifeless

In a word, that's it. I did not like this game. The world is full of nothing. Unless there is a specific thing you have to do somewhere... Read the review »

Posted by Houie on Jan 19, 2014

Great story, great visuals, great voice acting, great puzzle integration, relatively easy puzzles

~16 hours Great story, great visuals, great voice acting, great puzzle integration, relatively easy puzzles I normally like games that are... Read the review »

Posted by kingtiger on Jun 6, 2013
boring story, I can't say that I would play this game again... Read the review »

Posted by Rennie on Apr 26, 2013

Beautiful, memorable game i doubt i'll see the like of for a while to come

To begin, I totally disagree with Antrax's review of the game, and although he/she agreed about the beauty of the game, to suggest there is... Read the review »



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About the Author
Christina Gmiterko
Staff Writer

Comments

MladenL
Dec 25, 2009

Fairly enjoyable, but I have some issues with this game that threw me out of the experience. There are a MASSIVE number of screens you have to traverse to get anywhere, most of which have nothing in them with which you can interact (not even a ‘look at’), meaning its very easy to miss picking up a vital object and spend a half hour re-examining the areas in which you’ve already been. It seems as if the game designers spent a lot of time rendering and modelling the environment, and they’re gonna be damned if they don’t make you look at all of it hundreds of times as you go back and forth over useless non-interactive screens. My other major issue which constantly ruined the flow of the game are the STAIRS, for which there are MANY, each of which with a tediously slow animation.
The ending of game comes out of nowhere, though yes, the story is very involved and enjoyable, and the use of the phone in this game as a functional puzzle tool was quite well integrated. Most of your time in this game will be spent not on the (all logical) puzzles but on walking/jogging interminably across the many backgrounds. However, the backgrounds are very pretty if a little bit dated now.
Still, worth playing but I can’t agree with the high rating.

Hannah86
Jan 15, 2010

I just love Syberia games and the scenery in the game! Cant wait for Syberia 3.

wielandsmith
Feb 2, 2010

Yeah.  I can’t agree with the rating either.  I just remember thinking it was an alright but made me feel “lonely.”  Like there was so much emptiness in it.  OK - I know that’s weird to say…  Maybe it was a character development thing.  That said,  I LOVED the Longest Journey - just couldn’t get into Syberia.

toomuchfabric
Mar 24, 2010

I also adore Syberia in all its permutations! Cannot wait for the next one.  I’m so glad they did not give up on the series. 
I have collected all I can find of Benoit Sokal’s poignant artwork, and find his touch makes the games even more satisfying.  Not a totally polished line of games, true, but so charming that the flaws are inconsequential.
I’m trying to locate a place to get the new game!

David Mouse
Mar 25, 2010

If you think SYBERIA is lonely, try Myst!

Syberia is noteworthy for bringing many of the best characteristics of Myst and its imitators into a third person game. At the time it was made, I think those were the best graphics in a third-person adventure game ever.

jeppson
Apr 18, 2010

Funny I had the same feeling, I felt alone in the game.. no one to talk to most of the times.. so the rating is abit high.

Entropy
Aug 5, 2010

“The game play is very similar to The Longest Journey. In fact if you enjoyed The Longest Journey, you are bound to love this game as well.”
I do not think you can compare TLJ to Syberia. They are so incredibly different in many ways (except the gameplay). This is not to say Syberia is not as good as TLJ. They are both great games.
The great difference in my opinion is the ‘atmosphere’. TLJ is more an ‘epic ádventure’, heroine set to save the world(s). Syberia is more a surreal adventure. The basic plot is not an epic one (a lawyer searches for a guy to sign a paper), but the ambiance is very peculiar, something trapped in between the modern world and the XIX century.

Syberia di not so much make me feel ‘lonely’ as some have said above, rather it made me feel I was ‘out of place’ like I stepped in a world that was not mine anymore.

One complaint: Kate does not develop much in the game. Her phone conversations imply that she ‘is changed’ but she rarely talks to herself like April Ryan did, so her character development suffers a bit there.

Hoipolloi Hoipolloi
Sep 15, 2010

‘Syberia’ is one of the true one-offs - stylish pre-rendered graphics, plus a good dose of quirky humor to lighten and make fun of the rather depressing, albeit beautiful surroundings.. The game breathes a longing for the past, and I guess that’s why this grown-up enjoyed it as much as the kids - if not more. (This would explain why ‘Syberia II’ lost that spirit and is more of a game for young kids - another victim of the marketing department, maybe?)

It’s worth revisiting every few years or so and, unlike 3D, never loses its beauty, as long as it runs at all. May that be for a long time! Wink

Stuart Stuart
May 6, 2011

A beautiful adventure game, one of the most artistic and engrossing I’ve ever played. Not being a fan of slider puzzles and the like, I wasn’t too bothered by the lack of difficult puzzles and preferred the inventory-based simple puzzles. Kate was a little underdeveloped perhaps as a character and the lack of hotspots to look at/hear her views on probably didn’t help that. But Syberia has charm and some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in a game. A real classic! Now on to Syberia 2…

Bathrobe
Sep 9, 2011

Just played this game for maybe an hour, it might have seemed cutting edge back then but now those graphics don’t make up for it being empty, and very borring, as said preveiously loads of traveling to do through scenes with nothing interactive or Item wise in them. Save yourself the mental torment, I did.

Enlil
Sep 13, 2011

Finishing Syberia I & II left me with a big “why” on the back of my mind…
Why did I spent my time???
Why consume a real good graphics effort in a below par game???
Why everybody thinks this is a good game???

As soon as i started getting hints of what’s going on with that Hans guy, I had a feeling that the story was going to be poor. I am sorry to say that i was right.
The whole package was hindered by an obvious agonizing effort by the makers to add content (no matter what it was) to “enrich” plot,atmosphere,story and puzzles. This gets so common in the games that there’s always a new roadblock to keep you from going on. Most of the times those “problems” are unconnected to the main story or outright ridiculous.

You can easily find whole series of dialogues and puzzles that feel pointless afterwards. Example: There’s a whole bunch of stuff you need to do in order to get back an item stolen from you, only to realize that you take it back yourself in a way that could have been done before… And all those stuff are almost a third of the whole game!!!!!!!

Good: Graphics, Music and Some Puzzles (mainly in the second game)
Bad:
Dialogues. Awful. I can easily name 20+ games with better dialogues in less than a minute…
Too much walking!!! Oh my God the walking!!!

MoonBird MoonBird
Sep 15, 2011

I just cannot understand the overflowing hype this game gets all the time. I played it a few hours, and I really try to get in it, but could not. It’s crap.

Lets face it:

1. The rendering of the characters is quite sloppy even for the time the game was released,

2. Rage-inducing stock-in-complainments “no need to go down there” (for example),

3. Almost no hotspots to speak of, all is just background image, you cannot examine absolutely anything in the gameworld,

4. Inventory is just plain bad and difficult to use, definitely not user friendly at all,

5. Some voice acting is not correct with the game’s text,

6. Intro doesn’t tell enough to get one interested in playing the game

7. Puzzles are ridiculously poorly clued.

8. There is mountanous pile of paper to read, witch are not voice-acted and the game includes few maraton’s amount of running.

9. Hotspots do not have name, which leads to even more stock-in comments when desperately clicking randomly everywhere.

10. To sink the ship completely, the dialogue trees are horrible, old conversations do not disappear and it’s hard to dig out new ones amongst them.

In my book: two stars at the most, and even that feels generous for game this bad.

Interplay Interplay
May 19, 2012

Just finished replaying this game.  Definitely one of the modern classics.  Kate Walker is one of the more memorable characters in adventure gaming, imo.  For whatever reason, I don’t think I ever finished Syberia 2.  I’ll have to put that in the queue. 

As I was playing this time, though, I kept imagining Telltale doing a wacky remake where Kate decides to let Momo come along on the train.  Hijinks ensue.



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