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- Syberia is a third-person-perspective adventure with highly detailed 3D real-time characters
- More than 30 amazing characters, dozens of automated toys
- Logical problems and puzzles mixed with an engrossing storyline
- The different environments in the game propel the player into the strange settings
- A symphonic musical score and a very detailed sound environment.
- A state-of-the-art 3D graphical adventure
- Evolution of the Kate's personality
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Platform: PC | Edition: Standard
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Point-and-click adventures are a bit of a dying breed, dominated by such adventuring monoliths as Monkey Island but Syberia might just change all that. It's a new adventure based on an idea by French graphic novelist Benoit Sokal set in a surrealistic European world where nothing is what it seems.
You play Kate Walker, a New York lawyer sent on a routine job to Valadilene to arrange for the purchase of the Voralberg Toy Factory. However, things quickly take a turn for the worse when our heroine arrives just in time for the funeral of Anna Voralberg, the person she is supposed to be meeting. It transpires that Annas elder brother Hans, long believed dead, is actually very much alive (albeit missing) and is now the sole heir. The main meat of the game becomes Kates search for Hans Voralberg.
The game play is fresh and absorbing, with Kate travelling through Europe to the futuristic Russian city of Komkolzgrad in search of the elusive Hans. The toy theme really adds to the strangeness of the setting: you spend most of the game feeling out of kilter with reality, and you quickly find that not everything is as it appears, including the inhabitants of Valadilene.
The puzzles are difficult enough to be challenging, but not so fiendish that you give up. The interface is clean and simple and you will find that the action is seamless, allowing you to sit back and gape in awe at the beautiful backgrounds and stunning graphics. There are various 3-D elements such as animated birds and weather that really bring the game to life. This is definitely firmly rooted in traditional adventuring gaming territory; there is nothing particularly new here but despite that Syberia is a very well executed game that will delight fans of the genre. --Hannah Toller
A journey of discovery and understanding, inspired from a bygone era...
Kate Walker, a young and brilliant lawyer from New York, has come to Europe to negotiate the purchase a famous Robot/Toy factory, but will soon have her future completely turned upside down...
The owner of the factory, Anna Voralberg, has just died. The Heir to the factory, Anna's brother, Hans, who is a genius inventor, has been missing for decades; lost somewhere between the Alps and Siberia... Kate must find this enigmatic man to finalise the deal. But, in her journey from the West to the East, she will progressively discover and understand the reasons, which have made Hans, leave his family and never return.
Top customer reviews
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.
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.