Review by wonkots42
"A review from an Adventure game newbie"
I'll make a confession straight away - this is the first Adventure game I've ever played. Looking at the other reviews on GameFAQs it seems that people like me may be the minority of Syberia players. I'll be writing this review based on, in my own opinion, the merits of this game as an experience outwith its genre. I don't have anything to compare it with so I can't really do anything else. Whether this is a good or bad thing I will let you judge.
Story - 7/10
This is the first thing I look for in any game. I'm not a fan of brainless bang-bang you're dead style games so I had high hopes for an Adventure game. I mean, it's all about the story right? Syberia seemed to me to be rather slow moving though. And when it did get going it was rather anti-climactic. I know a sequel is in development but for me this game felt like a prologue to a story, rather than the first chapter of a story. There is a difference.
Character - 5/10
I only half liked Kate Walker and that's saying a lot since, being a female gamer, I am usually predisposed towards liking female protagonists in games. Kate struck me as a rather weak person, terrified of her boss (''Yes, Mr Marson, no Mr Marson, three bags full Mr Marson'') and walked all over by her fiance (''We're supposed to be having dinner at the Goldberg's! Drop everything and fly to New York right now!'') I won't even mention her best friend because it would spoil the latter stages of the game. Well, I say that, but maybe it wouldn't since I saw that 'twist' coming a mile away. The ending is uplifting, I'll give Kate points for that, but I thought the 'character development' that was used to get her there was a little contrived. The most interesting character in the story is the one who is absent i.e. Hans. But then again, maybe that was the point.
Gameplay - 4/10
Well, I don't know if this is typical of Adventure games but I found the nuts and bolts of playing this game pretty dull. Pick up item, walk to other item, use, get new item, repeat. The puzzles were not difficult. The thing that annoyed me more was the interminable dialogue. I hated having to listen to the same thing over and over again while I was trying to figure out what sequence of questions to which people would lead to the item I needed. This is especially apparent in the university section. Also - good God, that woman is slow. Even when she's running, she's slow. Why can't there be an option to skip the running animation?
Graphics - 9/10
Very few complaints here. It's a pretty old game so I wasn't expecting it to look like Half Life 2. My only slight issue is that the backgrounds do seem fake.
Sound - 6/10
The music is generally OK, except for when it starts playing scary music for no reason. If this happens during a dialogue section, good luck hearing what was said. The voice acting is pretty awful though. Kate is just about acceptable, as is Oscar but everyone else were disappointments. Is it too much to ask to get region specific accents?
Overall (not an average) - 6/10
I came into this game not really knowing what to expect and I came out not really knowing what I'd got. The story was interesting enough that I'll probably buy Syberia 2 despite my reservations. I'm not sure if this game was a good intro to Adventure gaming though. If you're an Adventure gaming fan then you've probably already got this game. If, like me, you want to test the waters then I'd probably recommend getting it - if you can find it quite cheap. Don't pay more than £15/$20.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 09/26/03
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