Aug 19, 2012This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have played a lot of adventure games over the years. I've played interactive-story type games, exploration games, rpg-adventure games, escape-the-room type games and a lot more. So I'm not new to adventure games, and I'm not new to games that are long on story and short on action.
Syberia is a game with very few good points and very many problems.
The game is beautiful. There's no doubt about it. Now, I started playing games with Pong and Space Invaders, so graphics aren't a big deal to me. But I will say this game is beautiful to look at. However, I would much rather have had much simpler 2d graphic environments and a much better story and much better gameplay.
1. This game is not finished. I don't mean the plot. I mean the scripts are full of errors. Somebody should have gone back and done some proofreading.
2. There are several things in this game that, in terms of science and physics, simply don't make sense. And I'm not just talking about the highly improbably c3po-clone who drives the train. Throughout the story I found myself shaking my head at the naivety and just plain ignorance of some of the ideas here.
3. There were several items that were crucial to the plot that I would not have found without a walkthrough, such as a very small book on a table, or a shelf at a bar where there was nothing to really attract my attention to it, and it was placed quite insignificantly. Likewise there was a door that was crucial to the plot that was very easy to overlook.
4. The game doesn't have "puzzles" really, or at least not many. Many of the so called "puzzles" are really just a matter of "find A and take it to location X". There were a few things that I found that needed to be done in a certain order, but there wasn't really very much that made me think. There were a few things that had a kind of silly trick to it, but nothing that required logic.
5. Wasted space and wasted opportunities. There were too many locations where the only thing available to do was to walk to the next location. Sure, it's pretty, but there were no branches, no items, just space. Early in the game there were a frustrating number of "Nope, it's locked" and "No need to go down there." moments. So why have a hotspot at all? With so few hotspots in the game, it was kind of frustrating to find one only to be told that it doesn't do anything.
6. All of these problems though, I could really overlook if there had a been a stronger plot. The characters in this game are universally abhorrent. I found virtually no one in the game who WASN'T selfish, petty, obtuse, self-important, or simply weak. Even the main character early in the game refuses to get her boots wet and refuses to get a piece of wood from a river because it's wet and dirty ... so she asks a local boy to do it.
The bright spot to the plot was the relationship between the characters Anna (who at the beginning of the game is dead) and her brother Hans. Told through letters, objects and flashbacks, the story -while somewhat improbable- is nonetheless touching.
The story arc concerns the main character's attempts to find Hans. Being that she's a lawyer, she should know that she does not need Hans. Hans has been declared dead. So the face that townspeople have a rumor that he's still alive is pointless. She could have used Anna's correspondence to show that she intended to sell the factory and gotten the sale put through probate. Let Anna's lawyer deal with the probate and inheritance issues. It's not the main character's job or concern. But this is a technicality in comparison to the fact that the whole plot takes us on a journey during which;
MAJOR SPOILERS REGARDING ENDING
The sale of the factory is not resolved (as the main character does not return home with the papers), Syberia is not actually visited, Hans's obsession with mammoths is not made in any way relevant as anything other than a plot complication, and despite the main characters alleged evolution, she remains unconvincing as she still has not actually resolved any of the personal problems she's faced over the phone ... unless you count running away.
All in all, I found the game amateurish and disappointing.… Expand
Dec 22, 2010Graphically, the game is just beautiful!! It is a lot of fun wondering around in such a nicely made environment. However, the game definitely is a bit boring, i'd say. The puzzles are kind of annoying, especially since there is only one way of going around things. I don't know, but I did not like the lack of freedom due to that. Still, worth a bit of playing...
Feb 4, 2014This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Date Played: Jan 2014
Time Played: 20 hours
+ unique premise
+ pre-rendered scenes still look good
- real-time rendered characters do not look good anymore
- annoyingly voiced dialogue (English)
- serious holes in plot for a story-driven game
Picked up this game on Steam sale on the promise of a good story and reasonable puzzles. I was disappointed. While the game is one of the few to actually present an original premise (so many are derivatives of a “you are a quiet antihero looking for vengeance”) the entirety of the plot is really presented in the first few minutes of the game. Character development takes place through a series of phone calls which are supposed to show the personal growth of the main character through the use of a sub-plot, but really have no connection to the main events of the game, nor do they server to connect you to the hero. It is also unfortunate that the English voice-acting (can’t speak for other language tracks) is overdone, so that you find yourself skipping dialogue lines as quickly as you can read them, rather than listen to the hammy delivery. In spite of this, I could still have lived with the story, were it not for a number of serious troubles with the plot (see spoiler section to read my beefs).
Story was to be my main attraction, but the game still could have been saved by looking pretty or playing well. Graphics have aged considerably, and no longer look presentable (excepting fixed-angle, pre-rendered scenery), while the game features a boring “click and wait while your character walks slowly across the screen” interface. This dynamic is exacerbated by the fact that many puzzles have you walking from one place to another to deliver an item or take a second look at an area now opened by dialogue.
SPOILER ALERT – Complaints about Story
Hans sent plans so a train could be built. Who built the tracks? Who built the winding stations? Why didn’t Hans just follow them to (the presumably final) destination of Syberia?
Except for his role in obstructing your progress, what does the automaton do that you couldn’t? Why not just leave him and drive the train yourself?
Where has Hans been in between the University/factory and appearing at the salt flats? He isn’t said to have recently departed anywhere you visit, but he shows up at the same time as (and presumably with) a plane headed to NY?
The Professor’s lecture says that the mysterious aboriginal Russians have not been observed in their native practices for 100+ years and then goes on to give extensive detail about their habits and legends. Unless he is somehow omnipotent, this whole lecture makes no sense.… Expand