Syberia 3 (PlayStation 4) Preview

By Jamie Mercer 01.12.2016 7

Review for Syberia 3 on PlayStation 4

Syberia and Syberia II, released in 2002 and 2004, respectively, followed Kate Walker, a New York City lawyer who goes to France to find the owner of the property she is trying to buy. Before too long, Kate is caught up in a whirlwind adventure seeing her travel to the mysterious island of Syberia in pursuit of Hans Voralberg, a quirky inventor of automatons. Syberia 3 picks up directly from the end of the second instalment, despite a 12-year gap between releases.

Haven't played the first two? Fear not! Publisher Microids explains that newcomers to the series will not be at a disadvantage. Syberia 3 will include features that mean the player will not be missing out on any key information, although cards are being kept close to chests as to how this will work. Comics and cut-scenes are the usual suspects for delivery of information like this.

Benoit Soukal, author and artist behind the previous releases, returns to the series to bring his story to life - something that Syberia I and II were praised for when they were released - and although no names have been revealed, it is promised that familiar faces will make appearances in the upcoming adventure.

Changes are aplenty, though, and Syberia 3 looks to be moving with the times. In recent years, adventure games have broken the shackles of point and click, and Syberia 3 is no different, sporting fully 3D environments and movement compared to the pre-rendered models in previous games. Soukal stresses that despite the move to 3D, the team was keen not to lose some of the sweeping and dynamic camera movements that characterised the previous titles, so this game has scripted camera moments, which can then be explored in 3D.

Dialogue trees are also used, with a nice twist in that successfully navigating tense discussions between two or more characters can result in new opportunities opening up for Kate. At the same time, responding in a negative way can cut off potential help for her, making solving puzzles or finding out information that bit more difficult.

Screenshot for Syberia 3 on PlayStation 4

Difficulty has long been an issue for Syberia. Although receiving widespread acclaim for its story and gameplay, equal amounts of criticism was drawn towards the toughness of the puzzles that players needed to complete to advance. The developers have listened and have ensured that visual cues and information will be on-screen to guide the player through the tasks. Old-school adventure fans that pride themselves on solving fiendishly difficult puzzles are in luck, too, as a mode has been included that disables help, meaning gamers must pit their wits against the brains of the game designers tête-à-tête. Syberia 3 also features a neat dynamic audio cue system, where the music changes, becoming more triumphant as you edge closer to completing the puzzle, and fizzles away if taking the wrong approach.

While discussing audio, it would be rude not to mention the returns of Sharon Mann, who voices Kate - and has done in all English-speaking releases so far - and Inon Zur, who composed the score for Syberia II.

Built with the Unity engine, Syberia 3 looks absolutely stunning and allows the steampunk aesthetics to really shine. The series has never been shy of characters, but here, the setting truly is almost a major character in and of itself.

From the demo Cubed3 had access to, Syberia 3 explores some very interesting themes, including racism, to the highly intelligent and vertically challenged Youkons, who inhabit the island. A juxtaposition between the power of nature and the influence of technology looks to underpin the story, too.

Screenshot for Syberia 3 on PlayStation 4

Final Thoughts

For everyone involved in Syberia 3, the hope is that the game has been made more accessible to casual gamers, while not alienating the hardcore adventure fans that are sure to be interested in this title. The change from point and click to 3D exploration, and increased interaction in searching for clues and solving puzzles, should go some way to addressing casual concerns, but with a lack of explosions, gun fights, or action, adventure games are only as good as the story, intrigue, and drama, so time will tell whether Syberia 3 can live up to the expectations set by its predecessors.

Developer

Microids

Publisher

Microids

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

How good were the first two games? I've never really delved into the point and click genre, but this more 3D adventuring route looks like it might take my fancy a bit more here.

A little unsettling that Kate has a distinct look of a certain Ms Croft about her... You could just as easily assume these shots were taken straight out of the latest Tomb Raider itself!

I think it was the first one I played on DS and quite enjoyed, but that's because I was in the adventure zone at the time. Seemed to be playing lots of DS ports! Not sure how it stands the test of time, though. I think I'd put it above the Runaway series, but behind Broken Sword and Dreamfall.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Tough puzzles??? Riiiigght...
Anyway, hope this turns out AT LEAST as good as the first one.

By the way Az, even if you aren't very into point-and-clicks Syberia 1 and The Longest Journey are some great ones to start; not too hard, and with some pretty neat plots and protagonists. As for the Lara Croft thingy, yeah she kind of looks like her, but Kate "was there first" in a way Smilie

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

I might have a look into those one day, then. I did start playing Stasis this year, which was really cool and atmospheric. Sadly went on hold tho.

>unity engine

>ps4

did this game run smoothly?

It was early days and I was only shown parts of the game in isolation but it looked to run smoothly with no dropped frames but it was still very much a work in progress. They've developed it primarily for PS4 this time round (cue PC gamers cringing en masse) so on that platform you would hope it would work as intended.

Interesting that they've dropped the Roman Numerals for this one! Anyway, really looking forward to this - thanks for the hands-on report, Jamie Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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