Syberia: The World Before
Set 20 years after the first game, the adventure draws to a close for Kate Walker and her loyal companion, Oscar. Representing the final work of the sorely missed Benoît Sokal, Syberia The World Before brings back the breathtaking charm of this benchmark point and click franchise. The game is a journey between continents and eras, and is just as beautiful and poignant as ever. MUST-PLAY!
Syberia is a world all of its own, and anyone who's picked it up has a hard time putting it down. So, without further ado, we invite you to experience the final instalment in this iconic series that first began 20 years ago.
Syberia: The World Before is a direct sequel to the first three games, but you don't need to have met Kate before to understand the ins and outs of this fourth instalment.
We liked how Microids has provided a recap in the game's menu for anyone who's never played the series before.
We recommend starting there, because it's vital you learn about past events so that you can better understand both the plot and the mindset of our heroine, Kate.
We loved the environments, each more dreamlike than the next. The town of Vaghen is reminiscent of Valadilen, and immediately immerses the player in an otherworldly atmosphere with its automatons. Everything you'd expect of the world created by Benoit Sokal is here, 20 years later, with all of the technical advances made in that time. But this is no action game, rather an atmosphere game.
But what a great game it is!
This time, you won't only be playing as Kate, but also a young girl from the past: Dana. The adventure progresses along several different timelines, and you'll need to manually switch between Dana and Kate while always keeping your eyes peeled, because some locations in one timeline can help you make progress in the other.
The game is darker than the previous instalments, largely due to the themes it touches on: death, regret, lost loves, resistance to fascism... thankfully the game also has a sense of humour thanks to the inimitable Oscar, who makes an unexpected comeback!
In terms of playability, Syberia 4 features perfect controls: you do everything with the mouse in pure point and click style.
It's immediately intuitive to play, even for the most casual gamers, and the puzzles are never too complex. The inventory has been streamlined, and most of the time the entire solution hinges on finding an item that's rarely very far away, and always clearly connected to the mechanism at hand. There's also a built-in hint feature.
On top of all that, the soundtrack is fantastic, recorded in the Hungarian capital by the Budapest Film Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Inon Zur, who has been involved in the series since the second instalment. The piano movements are performed by the talented Emily Bear, who's barely older than Dana. The soundtrack alone makes the game worthwhile.
Syberia: The World Before is a fine conclusion to Benoit Sokal's series. With its sublime artistic direction, a touching story and accessible puzzles, the game now stands as a benchmark in point and click games.
A real wonder!
Developer: Microïds Studio Paris
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