One of the genres we’ve seen decline over the years is the famous point-and-click adventure. While there have been puzzle games that extracted its trial-and-error gameplay like The Room and Professor Layton, and modern takes on the genre like the Telltale series games, point-and-click adventures have definitely declined. Thus, it’s great news for fans of the genre that heavyweights like Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert are creating sequels, remasters and new IP. Of course, fans of the genre will also be familiar with the name Benoit Sokal. Sokal is perhaps best-known for his classic adventure series, Syberia, which had two very strong installments. Like the other greats of the genre, Sokal hasn’t been sitting on his hands for the past decade or so, but he has done projects that went in a different creative direction. Now, much like his contemporaries in the golden age of point-and-click, he’s created a third sequel to Syberia. It’s now a 3D story-driven point ‘n’ click adventure with puzzle elements. Here’s what I thought of it.
To begin with, Syberia has the same protagonist as the same series, and there is some continuity, but it’s a brand new story. This is great news for people who wanna jump in. You play as Kate Walker, a young woman who traveled to Europe to solve a mystery and ends up in on an extensive adventure. Now unfortunately, the fact that you don’t need to have played previous instalments is basically the end of the good news. Sadly, at the time of writing, Syberia is a game that suffers from a wide range of technical issues and poor optimization. A recent patch has helped matters, but some game-breaking issues like disappearing save files are still being reported by players.
In any case, let’s take a look at the game itself. Syberia III opens with Kate waking up in a medical clinic having been rescued. In the bed next to her is Kurt who is unfortunately missing a leg. Kurt is revealed to be an Ostrich Guide for a people known as the Youkol. Ostrich Guide is an important gig, as it’s the Guide’s job to oversee an event known as the ostrich migration. Kurt needs to get back to his people. And of course you end up helping. A larger quest unfolds as Kate embarks on a new adventure with the Youkol people, and the shadowy antagonists that want to stand in their way. The story has some pretty big twists after the clinic section so I won’t go into it, but I will say that the writing was actually pretty good overall. The characters were very engaging and unique, and I found myself surprised by how sympathetic these totally non-human beings became.
The game’s pacing is a little slow from the get-go, and I found myself wishing it was a bit more light-hearted. I get that Sokal’s stories generally have a more serious tone, but the game ends up feeling a little too intense at times. There are choice-trees in some of the conversations, but these aren’t really very consequential, as the story seems to proceed the same way no matter what.
Novices to the genre will be happy to see that they’ve included the Voyager mode, which is an easier mode. I tried both, and Voyager has more save points and some hints along the way
Even without Voyager mode on, the game is not that difficult. This could be because I’m familiar with point-and-click adventure games, but it should be noted that I’m by no means a skilled player, and I’ve often found myself stuck on sections that other, smarter players have solved more quickly.
Syberia 3 was reviewed using a PC downloadable code of the game provided by Microïds. The review was tested by Mazen Abdallah on a PC running Windows 10, with an 8GB NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070 fitted on a 4th Generation Intel i7 4790 3.6Ghz CPU and topped with 16GB of RAM. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Easy for newcomers of the genre to get into
• Updated visuals are well-crafted
• Quality voice acting
• Well-written story
• A bunch of serious technical issues
• Pacing can be slow at times
• Puzzles aren’t very challenging