The long-awaited adventure game Syberia 3 has finally been release, after a long development cycle and recent delays. Has it been worth the wait?
The original Syberia is no less than 15 years old already, and together with its 2004 sequel can be considered one of the more memorable adventure games to come out since the classic era of the mid to late nineties. It’s also memorable because it stays true to the classic formula – as opposed to the more streamlined/console-friendly Telltale brand of adventure games. Syberia 3 doesn’t deviate from this classic formula and as such is very much a true sequel to the first two games – heavy on conversations/storyline development, quite a few puzzles that revolve around having the right object and (creatively) using it, all the while playing out at a relatively relaxed pace.
Kate Walker, the protagonist of the first games, returns to Syberia 3 as we find her stranded and in poor condition at the start of the game. Without spoiling the plot, Syberia 3 echoes and references the previous games at points but features a mostly unique storyline – which of course features harsh winter conditions and magnificent snow-beasts – in this case, snow ostriches.
What’s new about Syberia 3 is its use of full 3D graphics, taking advantage of the processing power modern consoles and PCs offer. Since the original games were known for having excellent graphics (for the time), this was a bold move – having to recreate the look and feel of the classic games in a 3D environment. Luckily, for the most part, it paid off. Syberia 3 looks great, and nothing of the style of Benoit Sokal has been lost in translation.
I’d say the one exception to that rule is in the in-game conversations. The lack of proper lip syncing breaks the wonderful immersion that the visuals and backdrops create, and the facial animation isn’t up to that level either. This is a shame, because these are issues we saw in a build back in the summer of 2016 and we were hoping they’re be fixed. Perhaps the lip syncing is a language issue and doesn’t occur in the French language version, but it’s definitely not supported in the English language version.
The game is fully voiced though, and the voice actors do a very decent job here. The biggest credits in terms of audio performance have to go to the music though, as Syberia 3’s orchestral soundtrack is of a very high quality. Inon Zur was responsible for scoring Syberia 3, and you may have heard his work on the Fallout, Dragon Age and Prince of Persia series as well.
Like most adventure games, Syberia 3 is a fairly linear experience, with our initial playthrough clocking in at about 8 hour of playing time. A lot of that is spent engaging in conversations and following the storylines, which fans of the classic adventures (especially those who enjoyed Syberia 1 and 2) will no doubt enjoy. Mixed in between is a variety of puzzles, ranging from the aforementioned inventory-based ones to challenges you might expect in puzzles adventures. These never represent unreasonable difficulty spikes though, and are mostly enjoyable breaks from narrative sequences.
This no doubt sounds familiar to fans of Syberia 1 and 2, and it’s those gamers who will no doubt get the most enjoyment out of this brand new sequel. While the game can be played without the first two games, I feel that it’s the perfect starting point if you want to understand world of Kate Walker and Syberia. If you’ve already played them then you don’t want to miss out on part 3, and if you haven’t played them then let’s hope Syberia 3 ignites that spark in you. The Syberia games are still worth playing for adventure fans, even after 15 years – Syberia 3 just reaffirms that. We did run into a few technical issues though, but we’re hoping those will be fixed in the very near future.