Syberia II (PC) Review

By Athanasios 16.01.2022

Review for Syberia II on PC

Syberia was an adventure towards the titular, real-or-not land… but it actually wasn't. In reality, this was the tale of a woman whose mission was to find a man, who coincidentally was going there; less a story about northern mythical lands, and more about the heroine's change. Syberia II is a far more straightforward sequel. This time its protagonist, Kate Walker, is really heading towards that place, hoping to fulfil the dreams of an elderly gentleman. A step forward due to it being more challenging, and having improved graphic quality, but also two steps back when it comes to story and presentation, Syberia II, manages to be a must-have for fans of the original, even if it's actually quite flawed.

Syberia II includes a recap of past events, but this isn't really one of those games that can be enjoyed on their own. This is more like a 'Part 2' than a sequel, therefore players really need to have played Syberia before they follow Kate Walker on her journey towards the uncharted territories of the Russian tundra, where she escorts Hans Voralberg in his quest to find the land of his dreams; a place where mammoths migrated in the past, and are probably still alive. Now, while this is a fun road trip, as well as a natural progression of what came before, it's not really as fascinating this time around, the reason being that it frequently feels like some kind of a forced continuation; one that feels padded, with obstacle appearing after obstacle, ruining the general pace, and much better flow of the first entry.

Screenshot for Syberia II on PC

In Syberia the main heroine would go from strange town to town, visit lands forgotten by time, and see Voralberg's creations, as well as the impression he had left on people, which created a mysterious aura around him. The places you'll explore here aren't as imaginative, especially since one third of the adventure takes place out in the wild. As for Hans, from up close, there's nothing special to see. He is just a frail old man, who you babysit up until the end. Kate Walker is still great, but there is no character development this time around, with the new "detective" sub-plot, which sees an investigator following her traces, being so unmemorable, that yours truly almost forgot to mention it.

The 'forced' bit mentioned before mainly has to do with certain aspects of the plot and world building. Kate initially went from area to area, realising that Hans had made an intricate plan for their train to reach the far north. The way that concept was handled here, however, kind of hurts the believability behind this idea - without saying much, it goes too far, with the fate of Oscar, the highly advanced automaton, being a prime example. Moreover, while Syberia always walked a fine line between realistic adventure and fairy-tale, and this generally plays a similar ball game (and enjoyably so), this lacks the finesse of its predecessor, by throwing in elements that feel out of place like… magic, of all things.

Screenshot for Syberia II on PC

Character models and their animations have seen an upgrade, something that can mainly be seen on the main lead (as well as in cut-scenes). It's the scenery that has undergone a more significant improvement, though, with the pre-rendered environments being more detailed than before, with additional moving elements, whether that's people that go about their business and bring the world to life, or things like streams, snow falling, and so on. The reflections on the numerous paddles are neat too. If there is a "flaw" here, that would be how, unlike the more varied palette of Syberia, this has a small snowy village, a monastery near said village with more snow around, then a snowy forest, with even more snow, then a cavern that added ice into the mix, and… well, you get the idea.

Screenshot for Syberia II on PC

The most surprising change is the overall difficulty. If there was a major problem in the original besides Kate Walker's needless… walking (more on that later), it would be how much of a piece of cake it was. Syberia was never a title that catered to the puzzle-solvers of adventure games, as it was more of a narrative-driven experience, with a little bit of thinking required here and there. The sequel is the complete opposite. There are way more obstacles here, and they are much tougher this time around. Better? Hmm, not exactly. Many of those puzzles tend to require too much guesswork, giving a very small number of clues that force you into a loop of irritating trial and error.

This wouldn't be much of an issue if lots of walking wasn't involved. Once again, you'll walk. A lot. This doesn't have as many "empty" screens, but levels slowly begin to get much larger, especially near the end of Kate's quest, lowering your will to keep on playing, as most of the aforementioned trial and error will require lots of back and forth between areas - which leads to the main issue: the pacing. Forget all this nit-picking so far. This is generally a good game… but it's hard to stomach how some locations (if not all) outstay their welcome, whereas in the original each chapter felt far more balanced. At the end of the day, do try it out. Flawed or not, it's a decent addition to the series.

…Unlike the wretched third one. Just pretend it never happened.

Screenshot for Syberia II on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Syberia II would be a great recommendation… in the absence of Syberia. Apart from its strong atmosphere, good looks, and more-than-likable protagonist, the elements that made the original so enjoyable are mostly missing. The character development, the intense dialogue sequences that made that possible, the sense of wonder from exploring a variety of bizarre locations; these are almost nowhere to be found here. There's a bit of mystery, a little bit of interesting character interactions, and - way - more challenging puzzles to solve, but as a whole this lacks the "magic" of the first one, or at least a portion of it. This was clearly made for fans of the original, and although very far from a bad game, even many of those are unlikely to love it in the same way they loved the first instalment.

Developer

MC2-Microids

Publisher

MC2-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 Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Flynnie

There are 1 members online at the moment.