Kate Walker is once again abandoning city life to hang out in the cold mountains of Siberia. So, grab some winter boots and the fluffiest coat you can find and let's get solving some puzzles.
Syberia 3 tells the story of Kate Walker who finds herself trapped in a suspicious clinic high on the mountain tops of a winter town after being rescued from a stranded boat. It soon becomes apparent that the doctors keeping her there have hidden motives and something big is afoot. The well-spoken and logical Kate quickly becomes friends with the Youkols, a group of Nomads that are hated by the townspeople. They are trying to complete their journey of taking the ostriches on their migration path but the clinic has decided to keep the leader of the Youkols captive and use him to rid the town of Nomads forever. Thankfully, the quick-thinking Kate comes to their rescue as she works closely with the Youkols to help free their leader and bring the ostriches across the country.
The story certainly starts out with an interesting plot and I'm happy to say that it doesn't get boring. In true Syberia style, the script is generally very well written and keeps you playing to unravel the next stage in Kate's journey.
Unfortunately, the biggest drawback of Syberia 3 is its graphics. How a game can be released in 2017 with such awful visuals boggles me. Considering the number of areas that you visit is small when compared with the average AAA title which has far superior graphics, I don't see why they couldn't deliver a great-looking experience for Syberia 3. It's like a PlayStation 2 game. Except for Kate, the characters are all very ugly and when they talk, their mouths just move randomly, often continuing well after they've finished what they're saying.
As Kate walks, you'll find she hits invisible walls and can't quite walk around objects neatly. This could have been remedied by having a map that shows the edges of where you can walk but nothing like that is available. You'll often find yourself wondering how far an area goes as you walk off into the distance. Kate will also walk through objects and characters sometimes stand inside of each other.
The poor graphics go hand-in-hand with the overall lack of quality control. Video and audio will often pause and stutter for a few seconds at a time. I even had the camera get stuck a few times, forcing me to load my save to get out of the situation. The voice acting varies wildly from very well done (such as Kate and the doctor at the clinic) to laughably terrible (such as the inventor's granddaughter and some NPCs on the street). It's also obvious that they edited the voice acting poorly, making sentences come out too quickly as if they needed to match the voices with the video too late in development. Finally, some voices simply don't match the characters such as how the inventor has a young-sounding voice but the guy is a struggling old man constantly reaching for his medication.
Voice acting aside, the environmental soundtrack and effects are quite fitting and add to the overall atmosphere well. The audio cues that help you as you're solving a puzzle are rather handy, too.
The gameplay is a mix of walking around and observing objects, talking to people and choosing responses, and solving puzzles. The puzzles vary from really interesting and a good level of challenge to downright brain-numbing. When a puzzle is done right, it makes me critically think about the problem and usually takes a couple of tries to get to the solution. Solving a puzzle in this fashion feels rewarding and is fun to complete. However, some puzzles still confuse me to this moment as to how anyone is supposed to solve them. Resorting to an online guide is a frustrating experience and pulls you out of the fun. Having recently completed The Inner World, I longed for its help system where you'll never be stuck but it won't just hand you the answer either.
Finding objects to piece together a larger puzzle is quite fun (such as when you have to find components to create a fake pass to get through a gate) as they mix up the gameplay well. Conversations with the locals feel natural and help add to the story. I think it's neat how if you fail to convince someone to do a favour for you, you have to find an alternate way to get a task done. It adds some replay value and forces you to think carefully about your responses as they may heavily influence your next course of action.
If you can get past the hideous graphics and glitches and don't mind using an online guide every now and then, Syberia 3 is actually quite a fun game. Most of the puzzles are just the right level of challenge and the story stays interesting throughout.
- + Interesting story and great writing
- + Well-implemented atmosphere
- + Most of the puzzles are rewarding and just the right level of difficulty
- - Terrible graphics that are severely dated
- - Some puzzles are way too obtuse
- - Constant glitches and lack of quality control are very off-putting