Syberia (PlayStation 3) Review

By Athanasios 11.02.2015

Review for Syberia on PlayStation 3

Benoit Sokal's creation Syberia became one of the much-loved cult hits thanks to its beautiful graphics, emotional music, and a magnificent steampunk fairytale with an excellent protagonist on top of it all; a bit light on the gameplay part, but with lots of heart. The genre's recent resurgence, after a long pause due to games that appealed to a much larger demographic, paved the way for a PS3 port of this marvellous little thing. Naturally, a re-release on a modern system should be better, yet this isn't even the same as the original… it is actually worse!

Syberia was never perfect, and this port hasn't even given it a modern facelift, but that's forgivable. The fact that this is actually a broken version of the original, though, is most certainly not acceptable. Is it bad? Yes, and no; the great plot and main lead, along with its wonderful atmosphere and good - although outdated - looks have been left intact, but it will take an enormous effort from gamers to look past its problems to actually experience all these.

Needless to say that those not interested in point-and-click adventures should stay away, especially when this doesn't have any innovations at all. It's the typical - yet fun and relaxing - business of talking with people, gathering items, and using them to solve some puzzles, which, frankly, aren't exactly hard. This is less of a videogame, though, and more of an experience, throwing most of its weight on telling a fascinating story, instead of being a stale array of Myst-like puzzles.

Screenshot for Syberia on PlayStation 3

The storyline follows Kate Walker, a lawyer sent to the fictional French town of Valadilene to manage the purchase of a local factory to an American multi-national, an establishment famous for its automatons, which, in layman's terms are non-electrical, analogue and wind-up robots. What seems like a simple matter of a few signatures, though, appears to be more complicated, since the recently-deceased owner of this facility has left a document that speaks of an heir who was mistakenly left for dead.

What started as an ordinary business meeting soon sends the protagonist towards Eastern Europe, and into even more fictional locations, in search of the missing heir. This isn't exactly an epic quest, yet it can leave quite an entrancing effect on players, partly because of the well-written, and many times funny conversations with the various NPCs, but mostly because of the main heroine, who is undoubtedly the centrepiece of Syberia, and who, along with April Ryan from The Longest Journey, is one of the best heroines in all of adventure game history.

Screenshot for Syberia on PlayStation 3

Kate Walker is quite the charming protagonist, despite being a lawyer (just kidding!). She is smart, funny and genuinely kind, yet the best thing is how she changes throughout this mission. She has to deal with a rules-uber-alles automaton, corrupted or half-witted officials and people with a "What's in it for me?" mentality, and while these "confrontations" help the player connect and sympathise with her even more, they pale in comparison with the occasional phone calls from her self-centred fiancé, friend, boss and mother, whose behaviour, along with the story's events, are the driving wheel behind her change.

Along with the great script and main character, a thing that helps with game immersion is how atmospheric Syberia is. The graphics are proof of its age and of the budget that was used, however, it still looks good, and although all locations are somewhat gloomy and ordinary-looking, they have a strange, dreamy aura that is hard to verbally explain. Add to all this some good ambient sound and emotional music tunes and the result is simply amazing, even with the lack of any improvement.

Screenshot for Syberia on PlayStation 3

Unfortunately, the PS3 re-release doesn't do justice to the original. Besides some "minor" flaws, like the audio stutter or the fact that there's only one - and automatic - save slot, the control has changed to a horribly-implemented free-movement scheme that feels unnatural. All screens are filled with "invisible" walls that restrict Kate's movement, making navigation a bothersome task. Furthermore, in order to interact with objects, she must stand exactly near them, leading to a lot of aggravating pixel-searching. Was the original point-and-click style missing something in order for it to need changing?

This is a great example of how bad gameplay can destroy the whole package, even though most of it has been left unchanged from 2002. The plot and main character still offer an engrossing experience, and the graphics and sound are very pleasing to both eyes and ears despite their age, but, unfortunately, all of these can't hide the fact that this port is so disappointingly flawed, and that there's no point in trying it out, especially when it can simply be enjoyed by getting the cheaper and untouched original.

Screenshot for Syberia on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


Does this re-release try to ignite interest for the franchise, as well as the upcoming Syberia 3, or does it want to capitalise on the reappearance of many popular adventure titles, like Grim Fandango Remastered? Either way, Syberia fails miserably. Those who have played the PC version will be very disappointed with the treatment it got here, and newcomers will have a hard time discovering the greatness that lies underneath its many problems - problems that are unlikely to ever be fixed. Cubed3 strongly recommends skipping this one, and going straight for the far better original.





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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