Syberia (SWITCH)

syberiacnxgI’ve always been a huge fan of point ‘n’ click adventuregames. There’s just something about solving puzzles, talking to everyone that crosses my path and picking up and pocketing everything that might be useful… It just speaks to me, you know? Needless to say, I was very excited when I learned of 2002’s classic Syberia return on Switch.

In Syberia players get to play as Kate Walker. Kate is a lawyer who is sent on company’s orders to a small village in the French Alps. There, she is to oversee the takeover of a small robotfactory by a big toy company. unfortunately, the elderly owner of the factory recently passed. On her deathbed, she confessed her brother, who everyone thought dead, is still alive, which makes him sole heir to the factory. Kate has to find this mystery brother for the takeover to go as planned.

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I’ll admit, this plot sounds like the plot to one of those cheesy Mexican telenovellas, but keep in mind there’s robots involved here! Every aspect of life in the small village seems to be invaded by robotics in some way. From doorbells to churchbells: there’s robotic touches everywhere! The entire village has a sort of steampunk look and it looks believeable to boot.

Moving Kate around couldn’t be more simple. Walking is done using one of the sticks, running is a mere press of a shoulder button and other actions are also just one button press away. Simple. The Switch and adventure games seem to be a match made in gamer-heaven. Before you know it, you’ll be running around the village, talking off people’s ears and picking up everything that isn’t nailed down. Just like old times!

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Also just like old times: everything else. Syberia isn’t a remake for Switch, it’s a mere port. Meaning graphics haven’t gotten a makeover. Sound didn’t get redone. Everything seen and heard might have been amazing 15 years ago, but nowadays seems a bit clunky. Kate seemingly floats on thin air through all the drawn environments, and some looped music and sounds just seem old…

And even though controls are nice and easy, they could have been smoother. Kate bumps far too often into invisble barriers, making the grand environments seem claustrophobically small. She also switches direction when running from screen to screen, making her go back and forth if I don’t let go of the stick everytime she goes offscreen…
Smooth, it is not.

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Syberia still is a very enjoyable game, with a very enjoyable and well-written story, but I wonder if it didn’t deserve a more thourough cleanup for it Switch debut.

 

Jan

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