I never played the other Syberia games but I guess that developer Microids realised that many people would be playing Syberia 3 without experience with the others, and so I didn’t feel like I was particularly lost — well, a brief look online helps, and I’m surprised that there isn’t much in the way of a recap considering how long it’s been since Syberia 2 released. A slew of technical issues and clunky controls makes for a bit of a frustrating experience though.
Waking up after her boat crashes, Kate Walker is rescued by the people of Youkol Village. Realising that they’re both being threatened by the same people, they decide to work together as they escape whilst taking part in a strange tradition — they accompany their snow ostriches as they migrate for the Winter. Their journey takes them through a variety of interesting places as they solve mysteries and evade their pursuers, but I can’t imagine that this is quite what fans waited for. The Youkol have clearly been waiting though, as they’re seemingly unable to do a whole lot with Kate’s help.
For a game that’s all exploration and point and click, Syberia 3 struggles to run at any acceptable rate — there’s framerate issues which cannot be ignored, and the severity of them were difficult to lay eyes on at times. Kate would sometimes not take action when I pressed a button input, such as to open a door, and she would just stand there until the action finally registered. The camera angle can be a right pain too, leaving you without clear direction as you fight against it to get to where you want to be — one too many times I found myself transferring between two different set camera angles due to the controls changing between the frames. The camera pains become even more apparent when you’re solving one of the game’s many puzzles, as you’re required to do more than a little navigating.
However, I do like the ability to be able to listen to Kate’s thoughts when answering some questions, which help you to make a decision which will pan out for you best. Conversation otherwise doesn’t do much other than throw information at you, leaving little for character development. Syberia 3 is a frustrating experience to say the least, and fans didn’t wait thirteen years for something that’s broken in more ways than one.
Syberia 3 has a nice, lightly cel-shaded art style that gives it a cartoony look, and it fits the general click and point gameplay. The facial animations aren’t quite as nice with mouths that stretch unnaturally far, dead eyes, and stiff reactions during conversation — sometimes animations freeze entirely as the dialogue continues on. The frame rate issue doesn’t help its cause and Syberia 3 comes across as a budget game – which I’m sure it is – that only the die-hard fans will want to see through.
Voice-acting is decent if not awkward and over-acted at times, and it’s one of two aspects that betrays the overall poor quality of the game despite the script being a bit cringe-worthy at times. The game’s soundtrack is also pretty good — it aids the atmosphere of Syberia 3, even if the rest of the game doesn’t care so much for it.
Syberia 3 is rough around the edges and with more time and polish, maybe it would’ve been a far better game — it certainly has the potential to be! Syberia 3’s many mysteries and characters might push you through to see it to the end, but the various gameplay issues make it a lot more work than it rightfully should be — even with patches it still seems to run disastrously. If you’re a fan of the other Syberia games then Syberia 3 might have more to offer you, but otherwise it’s not something I’d recommend. There’s good to be found underneath all of its flaws, but getting to them is Syberia 3’s biggest challenge.