Syberia: The World Before
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Syberia: The World Before
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Syberia: The World Before is a downloadable adventure game for Windows PCs. The game deals with some mature themes, including racism and fascism in pre-WWII Europe, drinking and smoking, and some mild profanity. There's also occasional (but subtle) references to having sex. While it's easy to control, there are some areas that prevent access to players seemingly at random, which could frustrate them during play sessions. It's a very positive game overall, with themes about love, courage, regret, expression, and peace.
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What’s It About?
SYBERIA: THE WORLD BEFORE is a point-and-click computer game that once again stars Kate Walker, the hero of previous Syberia games (in 2004/5), but it also as a secondary protagonist, Dana Roze (in 1937), as well as other characters.By switching between the various times in fictional Eastern European towns, the two unravel the mystery surrounding these two powerful women (and a possible connection, other than looking the same). It also deals with themes like love and romance, death of loved ones, fascist political parties, and other mature themes. Players must walk around locations, interact with people, collect items, and solve conundrums to advance the story. These puzzles could be environmental (like finding a key to unlock a door), jumping between time periods to get useful information, or figuring out the workings of a mechanism in order to start a machine. Speaking of machines, the series continues with "automatons," which are lifelike mechanical machines that drive trains, or play instruments (which includes recurring characters like Oscar, who shows up in another body altogether).
Is It Any Good?
Those with a yen for adventure games should fall for the charm of this title, because it's an emotional, beautiful story full of mystery, intrigue, love and loss. Syberia: The World Before is highly enjoyable, but simple puzzles and technical glitches somewhat taint the overall experience. First, the good news. The characters and voice acting are extraordinary. It's available in multiple languages, too, which is even more impressive given the many thousands of lines of spoken dialog. Characters like Kate and Dana are easy to fall for, as are some supporting characters, so those who love a meaty story won't be disappointed. Optional "Introspection" moments are a nice touch for those who want to really get into the story. But it's too bad you can't skip dialog or cut-scene sequences, if you've already seen and heard them, though, which is a little annoying. The developers could have at least added a spacebar skip so long as the dialog was heard once.
The biggest issue with the game is the lack of ingenious puzzles found in the original Syberia games. None in Syberia: The World Before are particularly challenging, which could make players feel like they're merely clicking through a story that's all been laid out for you opposed to your decisions and puzzle skills helping to shape the narrative. Another issue is a potential glitch, when the character Oscar makes its unexpected return in the game (known to those who've played previous Syberia games). Since there's no reference to the character, it will likely cause confusion players. Also not a big deal, but there were also some spelling mistakes, mispronunciations by some voice actors, and some annoying "invisible walls" that prevent you from exploring some areas that look like you can go there (instead of making it look roped off). Overall, Syberia: The World Before is a really good adventure that gets it mostly right, but better, more challenging puzzles and patched glitches would make the game even better.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how all playable characters in Syberia: The World Before are women. Are games like this the exception or norm? Is it refreshing to step into the shoes of different heroes?
Will we interact with human-like machines in the near future, like Oscar's character in this game? Is it science fiction or soon-to-be science fact?
Did the developers do a good job of recreating the rise of Nazism in the 1930s, even by changing the name of the rising political party and locations? Could this game serve as a historical game, even though it's also fictional? What lessons could be derived from it?
- Platform: Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid ($39.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Microids
- Release date: March 18, 2022
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, History, Robots, Trains
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: December 1, 2022
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