The oldest or most curious of you may have been part of this community of players who admired the creations of the late Benoît Sokal. Behind this name lies the most intimate Amerzone, as well as the Syberia saga, in which the charismatic Kate Walker appears on peaceful and poetic adventures. If that’s the case, then no doubt you’ve been put off by the return of Syberia with its third episode, whose more than dubious technique prevented both her universe and her story from fully unraveling. In addition, the development time for Syberia The World Before has been extended so that the Koalabs can give birth to a game that does justice to the aura of the franchise.
Two rooms, two atmospheres
At the beginning of Syberia: The World Before, things are not going well for Kate Winter. Trapped in a prison in the heart of a salt mine where she works to the point of exhaustion, the adventurer luckily finds a way to escape very quickly. By coincidence, Kate discovers a painting forgotten for decades, which depicts a portrait of a woman whom everyone says she looks terribly like her. Desperate and at the mercy of personal and family anguish, Kate goes in search of this young girl, about whom she still knows nothing. This man is Dana Rose. Living with her parents in the fictional European town of Wagen in the late 1930s, she mainly aspired to become a professional pianist. Rather a dreamy type, Dana is partial to the rise of a fascist group called L’Ombre Brune, who no longer hesitate to flaunt their extremism near the outbreak of World War II.
These two different time slots will let you play Kate in her attempt to uncover the secret of a young girl’s identity, as well as Dana, who will have to face the threat of the Dark Shadow while coexisting with her musical ambitions. This lends a certain appeal to a fairly well-crafted scenario, albeit leading to a slightly rushed ending that allows you to travel and develop in environments that are often very beautiful and varied. If the tone is undeniably darker than what the show has taught us so far, there are a few lighter moments to soften the atmosphere a bit, thanks in part to the clear Kate/Oscar tandem) (whose return and appearance we especially appreciate). If, on the whole, the various dialogues and situations ring true, and the story develops not only with interest but also with pleasure, then this episode of Siberia does not avoid a few slightly Manichaean clichés, where the good guys are very nice and the bad guys are very evil. If this might offend newcomers to the world of Syberia, others will know that the saga is often dominated by benevolence, so you won’t be surprised to find that you’re mostly surrounded by characters who are as sweet as they are compassionate.
However, without revealing too much to you, we will make a small reservation about the presence of a secondary plot, but related to the main one, more exotic, which ultimately serves the story rather little and which, in our opinion, could be used more.. Know to finish that, if you are advised to know the previous episodes to better understand the stakes of this new Siberia, Keith and some of the documents offered in the game are talkative enough that you don’t have too much trouble hanging wagons, which would not hurt you to enjoy the story of this episode for what it is.
Accessible and understandable puzzles
So your adventure will take place in multiple timelines, we won’t tell you exactly how many of them won’t be a surprise, but be aware that you will have the option to manually switch between controlling Dana and controlling Kate from time to time and much more, because seeing locations at one time allows you to progress at another. It generates some pretty satisfying puzzles and feels pretty good in terms of storytelling because it’s very cohesive for the most part. And puzzles, since we’re talking about them, are an integral part of Syberia, and The World Before is no exception to the rule.
The game is divided into several fairly linear areas that will give you the opportunity to interact with objects, observe some decorative elements more closely, or talk to some PnJs. Most collectibles need to be manipulated and observed to be sure of their function, and you can of course combine them with other items if the puzzle allows. If you don’t have to look for a challenge in this episode, count on the game to offer you enjoyable, original and cohesive puzzles.. There is no “capillotraction” here, each puzzle that helps progress is perfectly integrated into the story. And if you happen to get stuck on a puzzle, the title offers a split help system materialized as multiple sensors that require a short wait time to activate. When one of the scales fills up, a rather general first clue opens up to you. At this time, the scale of another more accurate hint fills up, and you can get rid of it after a few seconds. This will “force” you to try to figure out the mechanics of the puzzle on your own thanks to the first clue, and if you do get stuck, you can, with a little patience, take advantage of the new elements aimed at brightening your lanterns.
Technically finally getting to his point of view?
In terms of controls, we expected Syberia The World Before to be more responsive and fluid than its predecessor, and indeed it is. On the mouse keyboard, you can simply click to move Kate or Dana and double-click to activate the run step. Of course, not everything is perfect: clicking an interactive element sometimes causes movement rather than interaction, and some camera glitches make navigating cumbersome, especially when it comes to dashing into a corridor or alley. Also, the fact of having to constantly press the back button to get back from your inventory to the game, for example, is rather unintuitive, whereas a simple right-click would make everything smoother. But overall, The World Before comes out of it much better than its previous version and reconnects with the point’n click feel of yesteryear.
Finally, on the technical side, we feel that the teams have learned from the mistakes of the past, and without a doubt, the big delay of the game has benefited The World Before. In addition to the fact that the game is frankly beautiful, thanks in part to Sokal’s inspired use of universe-sublimating lighting so characteristic of Sokal, there are generally fewer bugs than before, even if we do regret the animation of the body or face a bit. tough compared to some current standards. Also note that the game runs into real optimization issues on PC when all sliders are pushed to their maximum, even on machines equipped with hardware above the recommended (greedy) configuration.. Not enough to sulk at your pleasure over all this, because Syberia The World Before resurrects the standards of the saga and takes you on an adventure of more than 10 hours apart, in the heart of a universe that is no less.
- The universe is always so poetic and detached
- Dana is a touching character and Kate is always so charismatic
- Nice script to watch on multiple timelines
- Accessible and always clear puzzles
- Often just cute
- The flawless soundtrack of Inon Zur
- Duo Kate/Oscar
- Pretty good WF
- Slight lack of calls
- Body and face animations are still tight
- Some camera glitches
- Inaccuracies between interactions and movements
- Problems with optimization in ultra 4k
- A connected plot that serves little to the narrative
After a third episode that left us fearing the worst for the future of Siberia, The World Before manages to prove that licenses still have a lot to tell and that a chronic and fairy-tale universe can be used. For over 10 hours, you’ll enjoy taking the fate of Dana and Kate into your own hands, solving accessible and coherent puzzles, and immersing yourself in the poetry that emerges from the world created by Benoît Sokal. If we can protest against certain inaccuracies between interactions and movements, a few camera glitches or PC optimizations not necessarily developed, fans and newcomers will no doubt appreciate this somewhat old-fashioned adventure, of course, but which finally puts its suitcases in modernity and which could would, if the stars align, have a new future before them and thus perpetuate the memory and the universe of their chief architect.
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TO jeuxvideo.com journalist