Syberia 3 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 10.11.2018

Review for Syberia 3 on Nintendo Switch

Released on PC in 2002 and ported to consoles not long after, the original Syberia, created by French developer Microïds, released to commercial success and recognition. Taking place across Europe, the game follows American protagonist Kate Walker as she aims to track down the surviving heir to a factory her employer wishes to sell. What begins as a business motivation becomes a personal one as she helps the heir realise his dream of finding the mythical island of Syberia, starting in this game and concluding in the direct sequel. Although Syberia II saw release in 2004, it would be 13 years before completion of the third game of the trilogy; reportedly due to funding and company merger complications. With both the first and second titles being released on Nintendo Switch late last year, how does Syberia 3 measure up to the acclaim of its forebears?

Syberia 3 takes place not long after Kate accomplishes her mission, as she is found unconscious and adrift in the cold waters of Syberia by the Youkol tribe, and taken to a medical facility for treatment. The vast majority of the game involves helping the Youkol complete their pilgrimage and cross the dangerous seas. Taken on its own, the plot in Syberia 3 is surprisingly refreshing, as many other games in the graphic adventure genre tend to have higher stakes and more grandiose set-pieces, but a more centralised and basic goal here is ultimately engaging, if a little marred by generic villain stereotypes. The narrative doesn't rely too heavily on knowledge of the previous two entries, but does offer returning characters and elements native to the series for long-time fans. A quick and effective summary video detailing the previous two can be watched on the main menu, as well.

Though it is limited in scope due to geographical location, the visual design of Syberia 3 is quite striking. Places and environments, from the sleepy port village of Valsembor to the unfortunate victim of Nuclear fallout Baranour town, all look unique and lived-in. Yet despite the pleasing visuals, the framerate of the game, in particular when moving around and exploring, is very inconsistent and distracting. Lengthy loading screens can be a nuisance too, mitigated somewhat by the Switch's sleep mode functionality.

Screenshot for Syberia 3 on Nintendo Switch

The English voice-work is even much more questionable, with a good number of performances being very flat and monotone, many not fitting the characters and nationalities they are meant to represent, and even the main character sounding like she is in another room entirely. Subtitles often don't match what is being spoken, although admittedly they tend to be along the right lines at least, and unskippable dialogue will often finish displaying far sooner than the speaker will end their speech. Although the dialogue has questionable quality, the soundtrack is far more favourable, with atmospheric and haunting sound design accompanying every unique place Kate finds herself in.

Progression through Syberia 3 involves finding interactive items and puzzles in the environments, and chatting to people. The latter usually provides hints or back-story to the current situation, and sometimes a Telltale-like dialogue tree system of influencing the person in question with the correct choices. The narrative is largely linear, so failing one of these trees will still end up with the same result eventually; it just may involve repeated tries or finding another object nearby. The game uses simple controls for twin-stick movement and camera control, with the four face buttons taking care of interacting and combining objects and people. The puzzles in Syberia 3 are clever and not too obtuse: there's frequently a hint or person to help guide the way in a tight spot, especially when choosing the easier difficulty at the start. Sometimes certain items can blend into the environment a bit too well on the normal difficulty, but will usually provide the eureka moment when found.

The hybrid nature of the Switch speaks for itself in how it can make games more appealing to play, and Syberia 3 loses nothing when taken out of the dock. It doesn't gain anything, either, as there is no touch-screen or motion control support, the former of which tends to be a perfect fit for this genre. Syberia 3 is a lengthy tale on its own, not taking into account time spent on tougher brainteasers later on, and it also comes with a separate smaller campaign; this follows Kate's Automation friend, Oscar, as he searches for her through his own story. Syberia 3's shortcomings will likely elude fans of the series, but newcomers would be wise to try the first two games and see if the story compels enough to warrant playing the third entry.

Screenshot for Syberia 3 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

A promising closer to the Syberia trilogy of games, Syberia 3 meets hardship in the way of spotty performance in both visual and sound design. Kate Walker's latest adventure is coercive to devotees of the series, but difficult to recommend over the numerous top quality eShop games in the same genre.

Developer

Microids

Publisher

Microids

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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