|a game by||Microids|
|Platforms:||XBox, PC, Playstation 2|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 2 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Syberia Series, Steampunk Games|
Kate Walker is back, and this time the journey to the mysterious, distant Syberia could really come to an end ... are you ready to dream again, in search of the lost Mammoths in Syberia 2.
The lawyer and the toy manufacturer
One cannot but begin the review of Syberia 2 without remembering that the previous chapter of this series, the first mythical Syberia, fell like a godsend for the now-extinct people of graphic adventure players. How many times have I read on the forums: "Games like Monkey Island have disappeared, they don't sell anymore" ... If it is true that games of that type are now very rare, it is completely false that the genre does not attract its customers anymore. And the proof was just the first Syberia, a splendid game, which showed the gaming world the commitment and dedication of its creator Benoit Sokal. Commitment and dedication amply rewarded by the players, who have joyfully joined the dreamlike and fascinating story of Kate Walker.
It might seem a naive, somewhat absurd story. But the strength of the first Syberia was precisely the particular plot, completely unconventional ... together, of course, with exceptional graphics, a fabulous setting, and absolutely charismatic characters.
And guess what? These are all elements that you will find in the following that Sokal has designed for you. The story begins right where we left it: Kate, fascinated by Hans's stories, jumps with him on the train that will take her, the old man and the Oscar automaton to Syberia. But does this island really exist? Is it perhaps the delusions of an old man who is a bit crazy, now close to leaving this life and taken by his dreams? You will discover that the answer, to Kate, does not matter: what matters, for our digital alter ego, is to help a man with an extraordinary mind to follow his dream ... perhaps until his death.
Kate and Hans
Syberia 2 takes place entirely in an endless snowy landscape, among little inhabited towns, strange temples frequented by monks with even more strange rules, railway stations closed for fear of thieves and so on. It might seem that the lack of variety of settings is a flaw in the game. In reality you will not regret this choice by programmers. If in any Tomb Raider it is certainly indispensable to vary the game map a bit, in a product like Syberia this necessity even goes into the background: the story evolves so as to totally involve the player in the magnificent atmosphere in which Kate Walker is inserted, creating a real alternative reality made almost tangible by the splendid characterization of the characters. You will get to know various people, during your adventure, and the most important and beautiful aspect of the story is that Kate will be the character you will learn to understand and appreciate the most. His psychological evolution, although very progressive and gradual, at the end of the adventure will be entirely clear to you, especially when compared with the protagonist of the first game Kate. To understand it, you must first realize the fact that in Syberia 2 our heroine in some ways becomes a new character, completely detached from Kate who was once. The most obvious consequence is his decisive cut in relations with the past, and therefore with his home and his work. Do you remember the cell phone that the girl carried around in the first game, and that kept ringing constantly keeping her busy? Well ... the phone is still present in the game, and it will naturally have an important role in some moments of the plot, but you will find that on most occasions Kate will refuse to answer calls, and above all will refuse to do them. Aware of this change in the lawyer, those of his law firm decided not to accidentally hire a person to take back the beautiful Kate.
But as we said, Kate has changed compared to the past: the closeness to Hans will lead her more and more to worry about the problems of the old friend, both health problems and problems of spirit ... or the search for Syberia. And it is precisely this psychological evolution to which I referred: for the first time in a video game you will find yourself playing not to get something for yourself (in the sense of your character), or a "greater good" in general ... all Kate's efforts will be directed at helping his friend Hans Voralberg, and although it may seem uninteresting at first sight, after a few hours of play you will find that instead this new light will give a whole new charge to the gaming experience, greatly increasing involvement. Remember then that Hans is very sick, and in many situations you will find yourself seriously fearing for his life ... until ... well, don't worry ... I have no intention of ruining the most beautiful twists!
Under the snow
No tutorial for Syberia 2, after all the game system is anything but difficult or not very intuitive. Kate is controlled simply with the mouse, and her actions are those typical of an adventure game: by clicking on people you can talk, a menu in the shape of a notebook allows you to ask specific questions on various topics. By clicking on the objects, instead, Kate will work in the most appropriate way, unless of course you have to interact using things in the inventory.
During the first few minutes of play, your goal will be to put coal back into the train, stopping at a station to refuel. The help of Oscar will be precious in this circumstance ... er, in reality there is to say that the good automaton doesn't serve really to nothing, but patience. Of course the puzzles are the fundamental point of the whole game: Kate's aim, in continuing the journey, is to solve the puzzles that will arise, of course always to help Hans, one way or another. It must be said that in many ways, the puzzles of Syberia 2 represent the only major drawback of the game ... but this is not a real defect, given that not everyone could regret the choice made by programmers. Many puzzles in the course of the game are simply illogical: it is not a question of mere difficulty, but it is precisely the absurdity of some solutions to certain puzzles. You will rarely have to solve certain thorny points simply by using all the inventory items on all the sensitive points on the various screens ... practically pulling at random. Needless to say, this is a very frustrating thing,
As we said before, after all, one of the best parts of the game is the characterization of the characters, which is why you will find the dialogue with the men and women you meet on your journey to Syberia simply fascinating. It is clear, however, that you will not have to deal with crowds: after all, the landscape around Kate Walker is, for obvious reasons, sparsely populated ... even this element, however, helps make every meeting you have unique and memorable.
What about the look? As it was for Syberia 1, this second chapter also enjoys the most beautiful snowy and cold settings ever appeared in a video game. Every place you visit is built with care and attention, down to the smallest detail, starting with the train on which Kate and Hans travel, which almost periodically recalls vintage trains, adding however that intangible feeling of "futurability" that transforms an eighteenth-century train into a hybrid halfway between the past and the future, as in a novel by Jules Verne. But the same goes for all the other places you will visit: each one is beautifully designed to give the idea of a place that is at the same time perfectly realistic and credible, but with those elements,
If we want to go down on the purely technical side, the game's graphics are a mixture of pre-rendered graphics and graphics rendered in real time. What does it mean? Suffice it to say that, in addition to decidedly and visibly exceptional results, the most immediate result is that Syberia 2 runs quietly even on less powerful computers, which is naturally positive and that we always feel applaud.
Another very good side of the game is the sound: to contribute is no less than Inon Zur, already author of the soundtracks of Baldur's Gate 2 and Icewind Dale, winner among other things of numerous prizes for his works. And you will notice that even in this case the results are exceptional: the music tracks go beautifully with the atmosphere of the game, without being in any case intrusive, also because the best musical moments are reserved for the most important scenes of the game, so not to have a single, boring track that repeats itself over and over again, eventually resulting boring. Even the voice actors of the game are definitely up to the task, which of course contributes to realism and identification.
To conclude, little to say about the gameplay: everything is controlled with the mouse, the menus are basically never present, and this detail is certainly positive because a fixed menu would hinder the view of the wonderful graphic that gives us Benoit Sokal ...
Overall - 8.5
If you liked Syberia, run and get Syberia 2 ... you can't help it, if you want to know how Hans and Kate's journey continues. On the other hand, if you like graphic adventures and this game attracts you, but you have never tried the first chapter, it is better that you first try your hand at Syberia 1. The two games are in fact closely connected and if you haven't experienced the first part of history, you seriously risk compromising the gaming experience of Syberia 2. The second chapter, however, shows a brief animated summary of the previous events, but I repeat: it is certainly better to have played it ourselves. Having said this, Syberia 2 undoubtedly confirms itself as a splendid game, which cannot be missed in the collection of every lover of graphic adventures.