American lawyer, Kate Walker goes to France to sign some paperwork giving a large client control of an old toy factory. When she arrives she discovers a town full of strange but beautifully intricate automatons and a half century old secret. Suddenly a one day trip to take care of a few formalities becomes a life changing adventure aboard a clockwork train heading for the fabled island of Syberia.
Controls aren't bad, it's a point and click so there's not a whole lot of guessing or wondering how something is done. However Kate can be kind of sluggish sometimes, watching her take the stairs was particularly annoying for me but did make me nostalgic for those old PS1 adventures games that suffered the same issue. Additionally looking for the right sweet spot to make something work or pick up a necessary item got tiresome sometimes, but nothing any adventure game player shouldn't be very familiar with.
Graphically it's nice overall. The character designs are pretty consistent with the time period though their movements themselves are bit stiff. The environments are imaginative and beautifully rendered with gorgeous art-nouveau and steampunk styling throughout, even the menu is pretty. My small issue is while they're lovely, the environments are pretty flat there's usually not a lot of background activity happening and you usually only see everything from one angle.
botched accents the voice actors were very believable.The only issue there was that it was the voices were often delayed, making many conversations awkward sounding especially when one character broke into another's speech or was supposed to be startling.
The music, was well written and appropriate, but I had a problem with it's usage. Every single time you accomplished a task like turning something on or putting something together, you got a big swell of music. Which was ok the first time and maybe even the 10th time, but after that I was completely over it. It drowned out any background noise or conversation for those couple of minutes you were stuck listening to it. It at least had the decency change depending on your area, but it still got old quickly, which honestly is kind of a shame because the music was otherwise a high point.
They only issue with the storyline is the ending. Without ruining any details, it's abrupt, anti-climatic and clearly a lead-in to a sequel. Personally I can't stand it when game publishers (or movie makers, or novel writers) do that instead of giving you a real ending, there are ways of both giving your story and end that won't make your players feel like they wasted hours for nothing and still leave your options open for a sequel. I didn't necessarily feel like I wasted my time at the end of Syberia, but I did feel a bit cheated.
Syberia is a good game, it's got a nice classic feel and a unique, compelling storyline. Visually it's treat, every single object, environment and menu has been carefully and artfully designed and well rendered especially for the time period. The game isn't without it's flaws, as discussed above, but the positives outweigh them. So, if you've got a few hours to spare and are looking for a unique adventure Syberia won't disappoint.
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