Benoît Sokal is back with Syberia 3, a game that launched on multiple platforms in 2017. With the events of Syberia 2 behind her, Kate Walker awakens in a strange hospital and teams up with a tribe of nomads to escape common enemies and help them complete their ancestral traditions. There isn’t a vast amount to connect Syberia 3 to the previous two games so if you haven’t played them, you won’t necessarily be at a disadvantage, but it is recommended to play the series in order.
Is Syberia 3 a good game?
It tries to be. Syberia 3 had the opportunity to elevate the franchise in a new generation at the time and missed the mark in an overwhelmingly disappointing way. Graphically the game is beautiful, although shows its age now, and the story is solid. Sadly, this isn’t enough.
Like the previous versions, Syberia 3 plays in the same way. It is a point and click adventure game that sees you take the role once again as Kate Walker. Some of the camera angles are frustratingly fixed in a bad location but on the whole gameplay is smooth. Transitioning from one environment to the next is quick as well to avoid any breaks in the immersion of the story.
The control system is vastly different from the previous version and having spent a good number of hours playing through the game’s story I still can’t decide if I like them. Like the previous versions you point and click everywhere, as you’d expect, but now items and objects you can interact with have different prompts and selecting items to use with them can get a little confusing. Maybe I’m old fashioned… but the controls worked brilliantly before, and I wish they hadn’t been changed.
The plot for Syberia 3 is solid if not a little simplistic. Kate Walker, having finished her quest to get Hans to Syberia, is rescued by a nomadic tribe and agrees to help them complete an ancestral journey with their giant animals; this is against the backdrop of a shadowy organisation causing trouble, a detective determined to bring her back to New York and crumbling family relationships. There’s enough intrigue to keep you interested but in places things can feel a little slow.
The issue with Syberia 3 is it assumes you remember everything from the first two versions of the game. This is fine if, like me, you’ve recently replayed them all in order. However, first time round there was a thirteen-year gap between releases. If you overcome that, or overlook that, then the plot isn’t actually bad at all and let’s face it it’s a story by Sokal so we expected that to be the case.
My main critique is the voice acting. It’s not up to par with similar games released alongside and somehow seems to make the game feel a lot older than it is. In fact, the previous two games did it better. As well as the poor performances across the board the game is also plagued by a few bugs in this regard. Firstly, characters frequently talk over each other or don’t finish their dialogue. This can be confusing and just gets annoying. Secondly, the animation of mouth movements never seems to align making the whole thing feel like a terrible dub.
Another issue I found was that a lot of the cast appeared to be American, considering this story is set nowhere near America, it felt a bit strange when Kate Walker was supposed to be ‘on her own away from her country’.
The puzzles have always been a highlight of the Syberia franchise. Sadly, in Syberia 3 they felt a little lacking compared to the previous versions. If you were able to work out the solutions in the previous games, then what Syberia 3 has to offer won’t feel challenging and may feel a little disappointing. The puzzles are varied and can offer some challenge in places.
Overall Syberia 3 feels like the weakest, almost rushed entry in an otherwise solid franchise. Where it fails isn’t necessarily game breaking, but it does leave a lot to be desired for the overall experience. The story, while simple, is good. I would still recommend a playthrough to anyone who really likes point-and-click graphic adventures or the Syberia franchise. Despite this, Syberia 3 had the chance to elevate the franchise in a new generation and sadly, missed that mark.