Syberia 2 is out now, and generally sequels are better than the originals, or even the game in the middle. I reviewed Syberia 3 for the PS4 and really couldn’t get on with it. Even after reading so much about the first two games, my patience ran thin with the third instalment. However, as soon as I saw that the second game was coming to the Nintendo Switch, I was excited to review it. It’s a shame there were no codes available for Syberia 1 when released on the Switch, as it would’ve been great to complete a series of reviews.
Clearly, my venture into the world of Kate Walker has not been ideal and I hadn’t played the series before. Saying that, there were a number of times whilst playing this game I felt the sense of deja-vu. Having played so many games in my life, I couldn’t put my hand on my heart and say whether I have or haven’t played Syberia 2 before.
Here we find ourselves shortly after the ending of the first. Kate Walker (you’ll hear that name a lot) has convinced Hans Voralberg to sell up and fund ventures to the unknown and even mythical lands of Syberia. These two are an unlikely pair as Kate was a highly paid lawyer, but just like every young American, her aspirations were higher and she clearly wanted to hunt for lands only known through fairytales. Even though it feels far fetched, throughout the whole story you will discover yourself deeply sewn into their lives and find it believable.
Judging the graphics of Syberia 2 is cruel. Unfortunately, due to coding issues, they weren’t able to get the game to fit the ratio for a 16:9 widescreen TV, so you’ll find yourself playing with a grey border around the screen. This didn’t frustrate me, but I expect it would annoy some. You can stretch the screen, but I am sure we have all seen how scratched graphics look and the proportion problems irked me no end. Visually, the game is crisp. Even though nothing has really changed from the original release, 13 years ago, I can tell that a few touch-ups have taken place. Some of the drawn backgrounds are great to look at, but you may find yourself expecting more as technology has improved immensely in this time. Even though the graphics aren’t up to modern expectations, I didn’t find it to affect my enjoyment of the game. Graphics aren’t everything.
When it comes to sound and voice acting, there is an awful lot of enjoyment to be had. Each interactive character has their own unique and hilarious voice which reiterates stereotypes. At the start, you’ll meet some dodgy Russian characters who kept me entertained for my hunt for gas and coal. Once again, if this game had just come out, there may be some questions about the true quality, but it hasn’t (really), therefore I wasn’t bothered… once again. The lack of music, at points, did frustrate me, especially when I was running around the same area confused by the puzzle. It wasn’t that you were left in silence, however, as there were always background sounds like the birds chirping on the way to the monastery. What is most important, though, was how the game fitted the sound perfectly. Sometimes, you play games and they don’t atch, but Syberia 2 managed to mix humour (potentially unintentional) and seriousness all in one.
This title isn’t the type of game where you need quick reactions, nor do you need the controller sensitivity to be set just right. Being in control of Ms Walker, you have to… er… walk her from place to place to solve puzzles. Some will take you a while to solve but, none of them is particularly tricky or cryptic. To solve them, you’ll find yourself learning more and more about the characters. The process of solving normally consists of exhausting conversation with each interactive character, then a new area may open up or someone may move from one place to another. You will also have to work out whether the object/item you have can be used in conjunction with the object at which you are staring. The difficulty of the game felt just right for me, as did the 8 hours it took me to complete.
Everything about this game was enjoyable. I’m intrigued to know what went wrong with Syberia 3. There are a few glitches where interactive characters appear through Kate’s body.. No naughty puns, please. The frame rate stays quite consistent and, due to the style of game, you wouldn’t really notice any drop. The Switch offers you some great features especially that of being able to just pick up your console and walk off with it whilst still playing the game. No other version of the game can offer you this experience, and I loved playing on the loo. For this, I wish every game gets released on the Switch!
(DVDfever Dom: “I’m more a Words With Friends man, when performing my ablutions!”)
The scores on the doors:
- Graphics: 6 – crisp, but dated and not updated
Sound: 7 – better voice acting than Andromeda on first release
Gameplay: 8 – simple but effective
Enjoyment: 9 – so much better than S3
Overall: 7.5 – whether you played it on first release or not at all this is worth a purchase.
- Publisher: pqube
- Players: single-player
- HD options: up to 1080p
Writer: Benoît Sokal, Catherine Peyrot
Music: Inon Zur
Kate Walker: Sharon Mann
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.