Welcome to our review of Syberia 1, the port of a very old game!
And when I say old, I do mean old! This game originally released in 2002 and is the first of eventually 3 games. I reviewed the last entry not too long ago when we got the game on PS4. Benoit Sokal, the creator of the storylines in these games, gave life to Kate Walker, our main hero in these games. I was not very positive about that game, which some of you might remember. You can read my impressions on our website. Now on with the review of this game!
Kate is a lawyer in the first game, tasked with signing a deal to purchase a toy factory in the town of Valadilene. The toy factory is in the hands of Anna Voralberg, but upon Kate’s arrival, Anna has already passed away and as in true story line telling fashion, it turns out her long demised brother Hans is apparently still alive, so Anna needs to get his signature in order to sign the deal.
Upon scouring the town, you find out what your future will bring, leading you to other towns and eventually on your way to Syberia, where you will hopefully find Hans Voralberg! You will meet many people and the Automaton Oscar will join you on your quest. As you move along, you will be solving puzzles, collect items, read documents that lead you along the way, … As this is a puzzle based adventure game, you will be unable to die, which is a good thing! On top of that, you always have a mission list available so you can always see what is next on the list of items to do.
Now, let me first talk about the elephant in the room, a 15 year old game being ported to Switch. I actually think the art style, as you can see on our in-game screenshots, was not that bad. Back when it was first released, this puzzle / adventure game was mostly beloved for its’ art style and smart puzzles. I do think that way back when it was released, this really must have looked quite amazing. I read that Benoit Sokal actually said the developing team actually had to split up the game into two separate parts because the story had gotten so big that it would scare away gamers. His previous game, Amerzone, was set in the same settings and Syberia does refer to it at a few times.
Next up, my issues with the third game, they also need to be addressed. I complained about the third game having response issues and well, this one mostly does not. It reacts nicely enough with the sole exemption when you run out of a “preset” view of your current location and as soon as you enter the next location-view, you might run back into the preview setting because the way this game is set up. I do not like this. When I run south in one screen, I do not suddenly want to run east and then north in the next one. It actually annoys me more than I would like to admit.
The game itself withstood the test of time and is still something worth checking out. With the vast majority of Switch games out there, I fear Syberia might be left off of most people’s shopping lists. I can understand that. I mean seriously, we have so many amazing titles out there. If you have some spare cash and may consider something “new”, I would take a look at some gameplay over on YouTube and see what you feel about this steampunkish artstyle.
In conclusion, I opened up to this game as I kept playing more and more. With the vast amount of amazing games out there, I initially thought I would play a few hours, write my review and go back to Doom or Skyrim. But I honestly think I will give this some more time and see where it leads to. I was disappointed with the controls on PS4 for the third game, but I did not face this issue on the Switch.
My rating is actually 80%, this game surprised me in a very positive way!