Syberia – Wrap up

I blew through the last hour or two of Syberia last night, just because I really wanted to finish it and move on to other things.

Interesting little game. Although I considered quitting a few times because it was just so slow, I’m glad I stuck it out because I was rewarded with a good ending.

I’ll start off with the bad stuff first: The game was painfully slow. Even when I knew what I had to do and where I had to go, Kate just liked to take her time, and the game liked to have difficulties with pathfinding. You can walk by clicking, and run by double clicking, but as soon as our dear protagonist reaches such an insurmountable obstacle as stairs, she has to stop… take a moment to readjust her footing… step cautiously onto the steps… slowly climb up. I mean, I don’t know, maybe the animators were just lazy and didn’t feel like making a running animation for the stairs because they thought people would enjoy wasting their time walking through the entire game. But it was nevertheless annoying when trying to backtrack through an area and having to wait for the character to carefully walk down a flight of stairs for the seventh time.

Another thing that constantly impeded my progress was having to wait for NPCs to finish their animations before I could move. While an NPC is animating, the game completely removes the player’s ability to interact with anything (by taking away the cursor) until the NPC is finished with whatever task they were doing, usually just walking to a destination. In real life, I know Kate would not just stand there for a full minute, waiting for a hotel manager to walk all the way back to his desk from outside the hotel when she has other things to do. I constantly became impatient with the game, to the point that I finally started nearly falling asleep when simple actions took a ridiculous, unrealistic amount of time. I don’t mind point-and-clicks – in fact, I like them – I just wish this one was a little more fluid.

The final problem I had with the game was the subplot.


Dan, Olivia, and Mr. Marson were outrageous characters. Sure, there may be people like them in real life, but how could someone like Kate get mixed up with them? I didn’t believe for two seconds that Kate loved a selfish jerk like Dan, much less that he was compatible with anyone. All three of the aforementioned characters were extremely unreasonable with Kate, taking into consideration how short a time she had been away, and the fact that she was working, doing her JOB. It seemed like they should have been more considerate and give her as much time as she needs to finish her work. Instead, they were constantly calling and nagging her about stupid things that I’m not even sure Kate would have cared about had she not been busy, but the fact that she WAS busy confused me as to why her “friends” were so insistent on bothering the crap out of her. They were so whiny and annoying and I just wanted to smash the freaking phone halfway through the game and SCREAM at Kate, “WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE YOUR FRIENDS??! WHY IS YOUR BOSS SO UNREASONABLE???!”


Okay. Now for the good stuff.

The story started slow, and it dragged through the first half. But, like a good book, it picked up towards the end and had a satisfying finish. Unlike a lot of games where you’re supposed to feel like you are the main character on a quest through the game, in Syberia I felt more like I was an outside force, guiding Kate through this adventure of wonder and self-discovery across strange lands. When we reached the end, I smiled and felt like a weight had been lifted off once we found what we were looking for. It was a satisfying ending, and also explained why they built up the characters in the subplot as being so needy. Kate was changing, as she said, realizing that she needed to get away from those losers.

Syberia was good overall, with just a few aspects of story and gameplay both that irked me. I look forward to playing the second one.





~ by The Retro Gamer on March 13, 2012.

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