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4.2 out of 5 stars
Syberia (PC)
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2002
Syberia...yet another adventure promising stunning graphics, strange worlds and creative puzzles. Being a fan of the genre, I bought it after seeing an ad in a magazine and playing the demo from the site.
I was pleased to discover that the promises were kept; lots of attention to detail in the graphics makes the world of automatons believeable and, unlike some other adventure games I've played, the puzzles are woven neatly into the story. Because there is always an 'immediate goal' to pursue I never felt stuck. People who wish to spend several months solving far-fetched puzzels will, however, be disappointed by this. Perhaps some will say the game is too easy?
About the story: American lawyer Kate Walker is sent to France to arrange that a factory be taken over by an American company. Upon arrival, she discovers that the owner, Anna Voralberg, has died and her brother, Hans, is the sole heir. Her quest to find him takes her to some strange locations and the puzzles consist mainly of finding a way to get from one location to the other.
Compared to other adventure games, I find several aspects rather positive about Syberia: there isn't an abundance of information to read or listen to and the different locations of the game are limited in size so you don't have to spend minutes clicking from screen to screen just to get to that one vital clue and then walk all the way back again.
You get to know the main characters through the cutscenes and the phonecalls that Kate Walker gets - her fiancé can be quite a nuisance - and you are accompanied on your journey by Oscar, an automaton programmed to drive the train that takes you to the different cities.
The (American) English dialogues are convincing enough and the musical score sets an adequate mood for this mechanical adventure. The cinematic camera angles work fine, with a few exceptions, and the beauty and detail of the graphics more than make up for the fact that they are mostly static.
If you're a little too impatient for "Myst III: Exile" or "The Longest Journey", this is the perfect game for you. No matter how incredible it may seem that a lawyer would travel this far through foreign countries just to close a simple deal, you will soon be a part of her world and become just as tenacious as she is, trying to find the mystery heir of the Voralberg company.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The first thing you need to know is that "Syberia" is only the first part of Kate Walker's European adventure, so if you are expecting to end up on the fabled lost island of Syberia by the end of this PC adventure, you are going to be disappointed. I saw a couple of reviews about "Syberia II" that got me interested in playing that particular game so of course I picked up "Syberia" first. I do not take the time to play a lot of these games, but when I do I like these sort of adventures where you go around and collect items, endure endless conversations, solve some tricky puzzles, and eventually uncover some sort of mystery.
The heroine here is Kate Walker, a sophisticated New York Attorney who is sent by her firm to Valadilene, a smal alpine village in France, to buy-out an old factory, the Voralberg Toy Company, which was once world famous for making automatons. Of course once she is there Kate is confronted with an unexpected twist the turns her business trip into a journey heading east in order to get a signature needed to complete the deal. Kate's journey consists of three additional locations after Valadilene: the university city of Barrockstadt, the forgotten city of Komkolzgrad, and the once lavish seaside resort of Aralbad. Her only companion, once she gets him up on his feet, is Oscar, one of the Voralberg automatons, who will be the engineer for the mechanical train that takes Kate on most of her journey.
Oscar is the most interesting of the supporting cast of characters, although he is a stickler for the rules, especially about having a ticket before you can proceed from one station to the next. Most of the other characters get a bit annoying, especially as you go through the unavoidable pointless conversations you have to endure in this sort of game. It is the nature of the game that they are always impediments to either Kate's overall mission or her specific task at hand (or both). There are also several dead end characters, where you keep thinking at some point talking to them will be of some importance, but that never proves to be the case.
Then there are the phone calls that Kate gets from back home, where her boss, mother, boyfriend, and supposed best friend harangue her about not getting her mission done and back home as quickly as she can. Apparently we are supposed to be watching Kate turn from a boring lawyer into an exciting adventurer as she meets her various challenges. Of course she is the heroine of "Syberia" so we tend to think of her as that from the very beginning and keep looking for a way to get her to dump boyfriend Dan as soon as possible. Of course, you cannot get so annoyed with these phone calls, especially those from Kate's mom, that you do not pay attention to what is being said, because there are some clues there as well. But overall the phone calls tend to detract from both the adventure and Kate as a character.
The best part of "Syberia" are the graphics, which are pretty stunning. There are nice details to each of the settings, all of which are run down to various degrees. I like the way the water ripples and the fact that at one point we can see a soccer game being played on a television set in the background. The music by Nick Varley and Dimitri Bodiansky is also pretty good, with a fairly memorably title theme and some nice Russian/Gypsy influence bits as well. Most of the tasks are rather mundane but fairly logical, which worked out well for me because I only got super stuck three times in the game (until the very end, where suddenly how to use simple objects like a screwdriver were suddenly an almost insurmountable task). Those tasks involving automatons are more interesting and that motif, along with that of mammoths, are also enjoyable aspects of the game. The hardest task, for me, was mixing a drink, but at least once you get through that things move pretty quickly in the end game.
In fact, I was rather surprised when the game ended. "Syberia" comes on two discs and you play with Disc 1 in your DVD-drive and I kept waiting for the point where I had to switch discs, like in "Phantasmagoria" and the Gabriel Knight adventures. My biggest complaint, such as it is, would be that you cannot quickly skip across screens when you have to travel from one end of a train station to another or across town. You can make her run a bit, but some things just take time. I was not especially enamored of games where you get to do 360 degree turns (they make me dizzy at times) so I have no problems with this more traditional way of moving the character around.
The bonus disc includes a short "movie" on the making of Syberia where B. Sokal and others at Microids in Montreal (they speak French so be prepared to read subtitles), both a trailer and a teaser for the game, some examples of the transition "From 2D to 3D," and a nice collection of desktop wallpaper. For each of the four locations of "Syberia" you have a choice of wallpaper that you could put on your desktop to record your journey through the adventure and remind you that there is some reason Kate is carrying around those metal shears.
The bottom line would be that hardcore adventure game fans are going to find "Syberia" too tame for their tastes. But for the occasional PC game player or even the novice, this inventory/adventure game should be quite enjoyable. Plus, everything I have heard is that "Syberia II" is better.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2003
If you want to do an adventure, perhaps spend 12 hours doing it, and not too difficult, and really live yourself in in a strange story, and get everyhing as good as in best other adventures, you should get Syberia.
Comparisons, games of same quality relative to their times: Indy (early games like Atlantis, not the fake new 3D ones), Full Throttle, The Dig, and Blade Runner. Syberia is as good as these games, and uses graphics and sound and music even better. I haven't found any faults or errors in the game, it's high quality, from all perspectives. Your conclusion: Buy it.
The story is an old factory in France, to be sold to an international company. The owner, an old lady, dies the same day the adventurer arrives, a woman. Your job, as her, is to get a signature on the contract, to buy the factory. With the owner dead, you must find her heir, a brother, to get his accept. To find him, you must explore and solve problems in the town and in the factory, and then leave by train, a very strange one, to go to a city in Germany, and then to some places Russia, with an ultimal goal to go to Syberia. On the way the train stops at strange places, each with an even stranger story, worlds you surely want to learn, interesting as they are. You must not be told the game here, but I can tell you about the 'dramatical' peak, when an old russian singer (a woman) sings her song of her life in an underground russian factory, with church organ played by an old rusty robot. It cannot be done any better in movies or in theathers, with world class music and in such strange scenery and within such a strange story. You also see a run down communist space industry, and a very fine old russian hotel at the border of an almost dry lake, like all the sad failues of communist russia, seen after the fall of the regime. Well done, author of the game(!)
If I should complain, seen from what I like personally, I would have liked a bit more fun (like in old Indy games), and a lot more sex (there wasn't any in Syberia). Also, I would have liked a little action, however not too much or you get an action/shooting game. I think Syberia must have been made by people who didn't dare using murder and sexual content because of young users and their religious parents (or what they are assumed to be), which is a shame, because adventures ought to be the kind you wouldn't dare to do in your real life. Syberia is, from that perspective, rather natural, as an adventure you might dare and do, and live normally forever after. All this said, Syberia is a very good game. And, I must say, writing this: I am waiting to be allowed to buy the game 'Runaway', which I hope will not be too silly, and full of what I want. Sadly, no games are perfect.
About my pc: I did the game Syberia it using af 3 year old and rusty computer with Windows 2000 UK and all upgrades from MS. I did not have any problems at all. The game should also work with much smaller pcs.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2005
If you've never played Syberia, you absolutely MUST! This game is what you might call a point-and-click puzzle game. It is, but it is also a whole lot more. Syberia isn't just a streamless end of puzzles, its a whole world brought to life. As you play, progessing slowly but steadily through the game, the atmosphere is so life-like you feel you're almost there, with Kate Walker, the protagonist in the game. The storyline is amazing and it begins to engulf and encapsulate you with its beauty as you travel from location to location. It also has a real sense of frendliness. You get to know the characters and by the end, you get the sense that you have really come a long way. It's a fantastic adventure, it would make a brilliant novel, and its all brought to life by amazing voice-acting and breathtaking graphics by B. Sokal. Please buy it!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2003
A really supremely judged and executed jolt from the past – and wholly welcomed one !. A perfect blend of adventure , edge of your seat storytelling that completely transplants you into foreign places/lands while still engaging your brain with puzzles and problems to solve, and solve them you MUST as the story is that well paced and presented that you simply HAVE to know what comes next !
A dream of a game ! ,one for everyone who likes stories / tales of any kind and of real worth ! - just start on this journey and get hocked completely till the last breathless moments !- games that work this completely don’t come often !
JUST try it ! (as they say) and let it envelop you in its tale and its unique world – the end result of this pilgrimage is worth the effort !
Ps. - this is one of those RARE games that will not have you question the time spent on it, at the end of the day ! – its rewards / and ideas are plain to cherish for those that can ‘slide’ with its impeccable flow! - let yourself go !
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2003
If you're a shoot-em-up, high action fan then don't buy this one because you will absolutely hate it. However, if you like games with adventure, puzzles and a real story this is the one for you. What can I say, I found this game absorbing and relaxing to play like watching a good film. The graphics are beautiful and the music score only adds to the mysterious and melancholic atmosphere. All-in-all, a beautifully crafted game.
On the minus side, there does seem to be a lot of pointless retracing of steps which can be a bit irritating. Also, I do think it was over far too quickly but maybe that is because I was enjoying it so much! I do hope there will be a Syberia 2 soon!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2003
All around a great adventure game that falls short of Longest Journey. But it's good enough to be a must-by in todays ADV game market. The atmosphere of this one is very good, despite the lack of an exciting soundtrack. If you're spoiled on Longest Journey's music, you may find that aspect a bit lacking. But this doesn't bring down my vote in the least.
The areas are rustic, industrialized areas based on perpetual motion machines; that is, it's a classic clockwork world reminiscent of Riven or Myst. But the puzzles spring always from the plot with little complication, which /does/ subtract a point. This game REALLY cries out for more difficult puzzles. Very often you know exactly what to do, and it's simply a matter of going back and forth on an errand rather than thinking. There were actually scenes where I devised great ideas for solving a puzzle, only to find it was much more obvious and unexciting.
Nevertheless, acting is good, the script is on Longest Journey's standard, and the puzzles really do have their moments. Go for it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2003
If you liked The Longest Journey you will really enjoy Syberia. For lovers of Adventure games this is a must have game. Like The
Longest Journey it has a good script with plenty of humour. The graphics are absolutely stunning. The puzzles logical and not too difficult .
We loved it .For us however it finished far too quickly.We felt really sad when the game ended. We could have gone on with the adventure for months. It is like reading good book. You never want it to end. Please Microid : A sequel would be much apreciated!!! I am writing this review on behalf of a friends
15 year old daughter, my son ,who is 28 and for myself who is 58 !!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Being a lover of the Broken Sword series I adored this game. Once I started playing in the evening I found it harder and harder to stop leading to quite a few late nights. I was sad when I completed the game but happy that I could move onto Syberia 2.
An excellent game
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2004
this was a good game. graphics are excellent and the story line keeps you going to the end. lots of puzzles to puzzle over but not so taxing that you need to go to the cheats. the only thing i found frustrating was having the freedom to retrack everything you do and everywhere you go time to make sure you havn't missed any clues. if you like this type of game you won't be dissapointed.
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