GamingReview: Syberia

Review: Syberia

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Syberia is the first in a series of graphic adventure games created by Benoît Sokal in 2002. Twenty years later I picked up the PC digital copy to see just how good this critically acclaimed, award-winning game really is. The game was originally released on PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox although it recently received a Switch port.

The Story

Syberia has a long, slowly-paced story that encompasses both art nouveau and clockpunk features. At its heart, it’s an adventure centred on our heroine, Kate Walker. Kate is a lawyer, sent to Valadilène to ensure the proper transfer of an automaton toy factory following the owner’s death. This seems like a very uninteresting game story, and I will agree the first section is a little sluggish, but if you stick with it what transpires is a beautiful story full of heart. Kate discovers there is an heir, albeit one who has vanished and gone in search of Mammoths. In pursuit, Kate follows in the path of the heir to try and find him.

During her quest, she must learn more about the factory’s creations, help a university and a washed-up opera singer and escape a crazed mining complex boss. The story is woven very well throughout the different chapters of the game. Each chapter correlates to a new location. Throughout the game, you can see why it received such high scores in reviews and critical acclaim.

Gameplay

Syberia is a point-and-click adventure that stands up to some of the best of its era. Each scene is beautifully created, and all movement and interactions are done predominantly with the mouse. You can walk and run to navigate the area. Your cursor will light up when you can move to a new area. Each area feels very different and expansive. Within each area, there will be several things to investigate, open and use. Items you collect along the way will prove useful later and pamphlets and letters will give clues.

Solving puzzles is one of the main aspects of the games and these all seem varied and fun, not only that but they make sense for the story. It does sometimes involve traipsing back to an early location in the chapter which can be a little tedious. Solving each puzzle is immensely satisfying though!

Visuals and Music

For its age, the visuals in Syberia are wonderful. Each destination is charming, each scene detailed and well crafted. There is a certain old-world charm about it all. Sure, it doesn’t live up to modern graphics and expectations, but it doesn’t need to. The music is what sets this game apart from other games of the era. The melancholy strings, the quickening of pace during tense moments, and the scores that underpin the music boxes. All suit the game world perfectly and are all masterpieces.

Syberia isn’t perfect

There is one issue I have with Syberia. Especially the modern digital version from platforms like Steam and GOG. Simply, it will not run in modern resolutions. The game crashes. Every. Single. Time. Frustrating is quite frankly an understatement. The only way I could get this game to work was to manually change the resolution to 800×600 before loading it up. I can forgive original copies of the game for doing this, but I would have thought modern platforms would have done something about it prior to publishing. Especially when they have with other games from a similar period.

Is Syberia a good game?

Syberia is the first in a four-part series of point-and-click, adventure/puzzle games. It has a lot of charm in the artwork, the story, and the characters. The music is beautiful, and, on PC, I recommend any fan of the genre, or story-driven games, take a look. Benoît Sokal created a timeless masterpiece with Syberia. A truly genre-defining game.

SUMMARY

+ Beautiful visuals and music
+ Imaginative story
+ Unique and challenging puzzles
- Plot can be a little slow in places
- Will only run in 800x600 resolution

Syberia is available now as a digital-only game on PC (Steam and GOG) if you can’t find an original copy and has also been ported to Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on PC
James Refelian
James Refelianhttps://linktr.ee/refelian66
When I was seven years old I tried to write a spy novel. It was terrible; in case you wondered, but I’ve always loved stories. Then I got to play videogames and suddenly here were stories that could be told in so many ways, coming to life in front of my eyes. I’ve been hooked ever since and have enjoyed games on pretty much every platform you can imagine. If you love stories too then I hope my reviews help you discover something new. You can always celebrate storytelling with me on Twitter, Twitch and YouTube - @Refelian66.

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Review: Syberia+ Beautiful visuals and music <br> + Imaginative story <br> + Unique and challenging puzzles <br> - Plot can be a little slow in places <br> - Will only run in 800x600 resolution <br><br> Syberia is available now as a digital-only game on PC (Steam and GOG) if you can’t find an original copy and has also been ported to Nintendo Switch. <br><br> Reviewed on PC