I have never played a Syberia game before, but I am aware that it’s a franchise that has been extremely important for many gamers over the years. It was back in 2002 when the first game was released, further spawning others with quite a distance in years between them. It’s the brainchild of Belgian comic artist and game developer Benoît Sokal, who sadly passed away last year just as his game went to market.

So I loaded up Syberia: The World Before, not knowing what to expect. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this rolling adventure that takes us across the globe, and the mystery that has unraveled. 

syberia the world before review 1

There is a handy little recap option found in the menu of The World Before, allowing you the chance to quickly discover where we are at this point in the story. What you need to know is that the world of Syberia is an alternate universe, very much like our world but with a different imagined history and inner workings involving automations. You play the lead role of Kate Walker who, at the start of this game, is held captive as a slave in a mine after the events of the last game. You also play someone back in 1937 called Dana Roze, a young pianist whose career is threatened by the oncoming presence of the Second World War. You intertwine between these two worlds, unlocking mysteries and connections between the two characters. 

The story takes you through different eras, covering both those characters’ lives as well as taking in flashbacks from their pasts. From there this is very much a globe trotting experience that takes in the sights of European cities as well as those from the American region. It’s a very good tale as well, told with some brilliant world-building. I generally was completely entangled in the story and the universe from the beginning and I believed in the relationships and thought the dialogue was intriguing and dynamic. However, at times there are some pacing issues and towards the middle, The World Before needs a bit of a push. But overall it’s inventive stuff. 

This isn’t any combat in Syberia: The World Before and the gameplay is much aligned to a point-and-click adventure with puzzles, along with the need to work some observational skills. You have quests and tasks to do and on the whole everything feels varied and never the same. At one point you are trying to open a special treasure box that has puzzles on its sides from a matching puzzle, to a code-solving puzzle to an observation puzzle. In another section, you are simply trying to serve drinks in a bar, but you have to get the right combination and find the right barrel that needs changing. The puzzles and object manipulation are both brilliant and, like mentioned, every one you come across is inventive and just the right side of brain testing. 

syberia the world before review 2

You also have lots of conversations to take in, chatting with interesting characters as they give insights into the main quest you are following or point you in the right direction of where you need to go next. There’s a nice gameplay mechanic later on where you can switch instantly between the modern and the past and the different characters with the LB button. This is used to discover clues, helping you to find certain items or work out how to open things in the future. 

The other mechanic that is used a lot here in Syberia: The World Before is that of observation skills. You are regularly placed in a situation where there is a jumble of items that you have to scroll over, left to find the right thing or the correct combination of items. As always with these moments I longed for a mouse. 

Syberia: The World Before looks wonderful. It is made up of some highly detailed worlds, especially in the cities where everything looks alive and inviting. It feels a significant step up from anything before and the lighting is fantastic. The character models are good throughout, as well as being varied and colourful like a comic book. The soundtrack is strong, but at times can feel a bit overwhelming in moments and has some pacing issues again. What I do like is the fact that the voice-over work is very strong throughout, with some great performances and delivery of the material. 

syberia the world before review 3

Syberia: The World Before may provide a bit of a surprise. It’s a particularly good game if you like puzzles or point-and-click adventures, whilst the story is well written and devised with some great locations and characters to meet along the way. I do think it has some pacing issues in terms of the narrative at times and occasionally the music can feel too overwhelming, but on the whole you’ll discover a pleasant journey with a likeable hero. 

Syberia: The World Before feels a fitting tribute to the work of the late Benoît Sokal.

Syberia: The World Before is on the Xbox Store

I have never played a Syberia game before, but I am aware that it’s a franchise that has been extremely important for many gamers over the years. It was back in 2002 when the first game was released, further spawning others with quite a distance in years between them. It's the brainchild of Belgian comic artist and game developer Benoît Sokal, who sadly passed away last year just as his game went to market. So I loaded up Syberia: The World Before, not knowing what to expect. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this rolling adventure that takes us across the globe,…

Pros:

  • Brilliant story
  • Great puzzles
  • Lovely visuals

Cons:

  • Pacing issues

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Microids
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PC
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 15 November 2022
  • Launch price from - £41.74
TXH Score

4/5

Pros:

  • Brilliant story
  • Great puzzles
  • Lovely visuals

Cons:

  • Pacing issues

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Microids
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PC
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 15 November 2022
  • Launch price from - £41.74

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