Syberia 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Adam Riley 06.12.2017 1

Review for Syberia 2 on Nintendo Switch

Kate Walker spent most of her time in the original Syberia chasing down a man named Hans Voralberg in order to get him to sign off on a contract for her firm to take control of a toy factory. After finding him, though, the adventure made her realise there was more to life than being a lawyer over in the States, and so she decided to ditch her old lifestyle completely. This is where the events of Syberia 2 pick up, with Kate, Hans, and the elderly creator's Automaton, Oscar, now ready to make the trek to Syberia itself and find out if mammoths actually exist. After a successful port of Benoit Sokal and Microid's first classic point-and-click title on Nintendo Switch, now it is time to see how well this sequel fares, as well.

The story this time focuses on interaction between Kate Walker and her senior companion, Hans Voralberg, as she attempts to grant his final wish of travelling to Syberia to see the fabled mammoths he has so often mentioned. Along the way, she has to spend time in a place called Romansbourg, where she needs to power up the mechanical train they were travelling in, as it ran out of juice after the ending of the first outing. There, Hans eventually meets an old friend, which triggers a wave of emotions that knock him sick, leading to Kate then encountering overly zealous religious folk who offer to help heal him, but actually attempt to keep Hans captive because they believe he is riddled with demons.

Screenshot for Syberia 2 on Nintendo Switch

All the while, poor Miss Walker must deal with the awkward programming that Oscar has, which frustratingly prevents him from doing certain basic tasks without others being completed first, and is also tailed by shady folk hired by her firm back in New York. Then there is the matter of dealing with the Youkols, an unusual race that were only hinted at in the first adventure, but featured heavily in this year's release of Syberia 3 (which is also on its way to Switch early next year). Oh, and there are puzzles, lots of puzzles with plenty of items to collect and re-use around the places she visits, most of which are of a high calibre, getting the brain working, whilst some verge on the not so ideal, leaning towards a trial-and-error mentality being required.

The tale definitely has a different feel to it this time round, which is not to say it is necessarily worse than the original, but it does take a bit of adjusting to, trying to get into the mindset of Kate Walker, and why exactly she has become embroiled in this outlandish escapade. The stilted conversations with Oscar are by far the highlight, helped by the sometimes sardonic tone of Kate's voice actress, which also works particularly well when she addresses the Youkols later on, with their unintelligible noise utterances, mixed with broken English; some of Kate's responses are so dry they will certainly raise a smile or even the odd titter. Voice work in general is of a great standard, along with the atmospheric soundtrack drawing players into the action, as before.

Screenshot for Syberia 2 on Nintendo Switch

Everything also looks considerably better than before, with the improvements from the PC original to sequel being definitely noticeable, and the transition to Switch being remarkably smooth, looking highly impressive on both the big screen when docked and in handheld mode - it is quite the looker despite being released on home computers way back in 2004! There is the option to keep the original screen size, which brings up either black borders on either side of the screen, or faded-out scenery ones. Sadly, in both cases of using borders, the game has a tendency to glitch after switching from scene to scene, and the borders end up showing snippets of backdrop that should not be there, random distorted imagery, and even on-screen hotspot markers will sometimes not show on the main area, but be hidden away under the border, barely visible. The best option, then, is to live with the full screen, stretched ratio option, and then there are no issues at all. Sure, Kate looks a little odd due to the stretching of the visuals, but the rest of the scenery around still looks fantastic. Hopefully, the issues with the borders will be fixed via a patch in the near future, though.

Another matter that crops up, and could do with sorting in a post-release patch, is how Kate sometimes gets stuck on scenery when trying to run from one place to another in touch screen mode, and at one point during review she actually got stuck in a running loop, becoming totally unresponsive, and the game had to be shut down to the main menu and restarted from the previous auto-checkpoint to rectify matters. It is a minor quibble and does not impact on the main adventure in general, but things like this are still noticeable and may be cause for concern against any more casual players unsure what to do in situations like that.

Screenshot for Syberia 2 on Nintendo Switch

Syberia 2 does so much right, though, that any minor matters will easily be overlooked by the majority, and again it proves to be absolutely ideal for Nintendo Switch, working better than the first port did when in controller mode, and even smoother when in handheld mode thanks to the on-screen markers showing automatically (veterans can switch this off in the options), guiding the way on the smaller screen. The touch screen accuracy seems to have been upped, as well, so any of the accidental touches in the inventory have been sorted - no more tapping the wrong item or closing the menu by mistake! This is a wonderfully smooth and enjoyable ride from start to finish, with some great bonus art to enjoy after the credits for those that explored every nook and cranny of the gaming world.

It should be pointed out that some of the more convoluted puzzles from the PC original have also been streamlined to make them much more accessible now, with some steps simplified or certain tasks actually being completely removed in order to make this the ultimate version of Syberia 2 on the market, and, thankfully, even qualms like conversation topics not disappearing from the first Switch port have been sorted, with them normally only staying on the list when there is more information to glean from another party, or if it is a key piece of information that might otherwise be forgotten if quickly glossed over. With so much care and attention going into making this work so well on Switch - other than some of the minor glitches mentioned - it gives great hope that the rather flawed Syberia 3 is being handled with the right amount of care to ensure it is greatly improved by the time it lands on Switch.

Screenshot for Syberia 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Syberia 2 is an all-round success, improving upon the port of the original adventure in many ways. The core story may take a different slant to the previous one, and some puzzles may not live up to the high bar set in the first outing, but this is still a highly enjoyable journey throughout, with everything perfectly adapted for the Nintendo Switch setup, looking great in docked mode, but working even better when played in portable form using the touch screen. Kate Walker's third escapade cannot come to Switch soon enough!

Developer

Microids

Publisher

Microids

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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   

Comments

After how well the two ports so far have been handled, I'm very intrigued to see how S3 - which was horrendous on PS4 - is managed. The game's apparently had a lot of updates since reviewed it upon release, included gameplay tweaks, so it'll be good to revisit it next year.

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

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