The World Before »Vortex

The Syberia series can be described as a classic of the adventure genre, which also appeared at a time when the adventures themselves were slowly falling into oblivion. The point and click adventures of lawyer Kate Walker by Benoît Sokal captivated many players in 2002 and 2004, and although the story seemed closed, in 2017 Syberia returns with its third installment, this time in full 3D. Although it garnered mixed reviews and responses, that didn’t stop us seeing Kate again, this time in part four, subtitled The World Before, which arrived less than a week ago. . Unfortunately, Sokal himself did not live to see the release, but I would like to claim up front that the resulting piece is the best monument his work deserves.

As mentioned in the introduction, we will see Kate again. We left here in part three when she was captured due to circumstances, and now we find her working in a salt mine in 2005 away from the world. This part was already available in the playable prologue, which was released for free a year and a half ago, and the basic principle of the game and the new objective that Kate sets out to follow after her rescue have already appeared. It’s about finding a mysterious girl from the painting, which falls into his hands just when escaping from the mine. The girl is talented 17-year-old pianist Dana Roze, who lives in Vagden, where all the research is taking place. Dana’s story begins in the not-so-friendly year of 1937, and as a vageranka – which is a gambling equivalent of Jews – she’s not exactly carefree. Despite the fact that she is initially honored to play the famous Vaghena anthem in the main square in a scene that I consider one of the best moments in the entire game. The new Syberia works alternately with the two scenarios and gradually develops the story not only of Kate and Dany, but also of other people. Personally, I think it would be a shame to reveal more of the story, and if you haven’t taught yet, I might recommend skipping the trailers and trying the prologue instead. I believe ignoring any snippets of dialogue or location gave me an even more intense experience.

The story is excellent in a nutshell. If I had to be more specific, I wouldn’t be afraid to choose such endearing, strong, touching, beautiful, and intimate and interior words. The alternation of lines and the jumps in time and between the characters do not get in the way and it is not a problem to orient oneself in the course of the story. Nothing has combined effect and strength. There are not many characters in the game, but they are all memorable, even those with whom they can change a few words on the way to completing the task. The main ones are then well written and constructed, you can understand their reactions, their motivations, their actions and above all you can sympathize with them. I must admit that I haven’t developed such a relationship with a game character for a long time like in this case. Here the characters are almost breathing and you will worry about their fate. A special case is the return of a certain character, which will certainly also be appreciated by newcomers. New Ring In addition, a companion (or hedgehog) will accompany you or Kate during the search, which he usually leaves without his scholarly commentary, and I believe that thanks to this, you will also fall in love with him. At least I liked it a lot, which you can see at the end of the review… Fourth Syberia will however survive as a standalone game and it is possible to jump into it without knowing the previous parts. Even in the main menu you’ll find a summary of the story so far, but more advanced players will appreciate it; However, it is not necessary to know everything in detail and the new Syberia is also suitable for players who play fair interesting, but for some reason they don’t want to get into the previous parts, for example due to older technical processing.

Sometimes interactions that have already taken place are repeated, such as comments on a situation or topic, but cannot be skipped even if the player has already seen them.

This brings us to the most important thing. Fortunately, the developers learned after Part 3 and immediately shelved attempts to control the keyboard, as they had originally tried five years ago. We’ve got a classic clickable adventure here, and all you really need to control is a mouse – both to move around and to solve puzzles or browse inventory. Even this time, however, we move completely in 3D scenes, which can sometimes be detrimental. The camera does not always detect the intention of the player, after which we can unintentionally spoil the scene for a relatively long time before reaching the intended place. At other times, it spins slower than it would be comfortable to move smoothly, and triggering certain interactions in a scene sometimes requires multiple click attempts. Sometimes interactions that have already taken place will be repeated, such as comments about a situation or an object, which, however, cannot be ignored even if the player has already seen them. Personally, I was frustrated with the inability to adjust settings, like exiting inventory screens and viewing items, where I’d appreciate a single click of the mouse rather than switching to a button in the corner of the screen. Overall, however, the control has undergone significant improvements since all three, and barring those occasional jams, it’s a pleasure to play and explore Syberia in 3D. Mainly because she is simply charming.

I can only praise the audiovisual side of the game, it’s just magnificent. The game again has an awesome graphical stylization, which is understandably different from years ago, but still stunning and uniquely its own. Some may be surprised that the game is more colorful than previous parts due to the new setup, but that doesn’t take away from the individuality. However, not everything is just clear and bright, even here you can feel the weight of fate in the shadows, and it will also snow. The characters are, of course, also stylized, but the emotions are reflected in their faces, which adds to their credibility and plays into the atmosphere. It’s also built with great work with a camera in the cutscenes. Creators know exactly what they want to show and how, it’s not just random angles in different shots. The only exception is occasional small jams when cutting, which can come out of the “dream”, but it’s nothing serious, it’s just a small flaw in the beauty. The composition edited here has a precise order and serves the overall narrative. Of course, I must also mention the voice acting, the sounds and, above all, the music in this regard.

Dabber Sharon Mann returned to the role of Kate, dubbing her not only in the previous part, but also in the original two. In her voice, of course, you sometimes hear that she is no longer Kate’s age, but in my opinion it is possible, partly because of nostalgia. Dana’s characters were then taken over by young Émilie Rault, who also did a great job and also took over the characters in French dubs. I tried these two versions of dubbing and changed randomly while playing, and I consider both versions to be very successful. Nevertheless, in the end I had more English, but more purely because I understand it, unlike French. I also have to highlight here the performance that Mark Jane put on his character, but I won’t name. My only complaint about the dubbing is the slightly worse sound quality of some lines, otherwise I have nothing to add.

I have to praise the absolutely famous sound as such. The sound side of the game has been treated with the greatest care and you can hear it. The audio is so well done that I didn’t notice it most of the time because there was no reason to bother with it. Everything just worked. The sound system in the rooms is functional, the noise is not missing anywhere, they cover absolutely everything and, in addition, it sounds good, the sound responds to changes in plans and everything is as it should be. If you add the breathtaking music composed again by Inon Zur, it has something to do with a truly magical experience. This time, like the setting, Zur dives into the waters of classical music, and again it has resulted in an impressive soundtrack, as expected. There’s also a new twist on Kat’s musical motif, of course Dana gets her own songs too, and the highlight is the anthem by Vaggen himself, who, after all, played this brand new story. In addition, the music directly permeates the gameplay and we will find it in several puzzles.

There are not many puzzles in the game, besides, they are cleverly designed and appropriately integrated into the story. Nonetheless, in the end I felt there was a bit more to the adventure games and I would at least appreciate some more puzzles here as well. In addition to the musical puzzles already mentioned, there will be classic code solving, cartography, machine design or miscellaneous puzzles. The truth is that most of the time you’re really going through the game and watching the story, someone might call it an interactive movie, but does it matter? Not me personally, I enjoyed a nice nostalgic throwback to when I first discovered the Syberia series and enchanted me.

It is therefore the fourth Syberia. Once again it presents us with a captivating story through time in a world of extraordinary beauty, in which live almost real characters struck by fate. Also, if the game appeals to you, but you are afraid of the amount and complexity of the English text, it is worth remembering that the game will be supplemented with a Czech localization. Anyway, I hope Kate Walker hasn’t said her last word, despite the father of the series. The ending didn’t say it all and hints at another possible sequel and a new adventure Kate and I could dive into. And I would sincerely wish him.

Leave a Comment