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Written by  :  Jeanne (76455)
Written on  :  Oct 02, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars3.67 Stars

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Summary

Lovely to behold, fun to play .. but not exceptional

The Good

This sequel should have been part of the first game .. really! In fact, I had read somewhere that Syberia 1 and 2 were made at the same time and were supposed to be released as one game. But, someone along the way decided to split them ... too long or some such silly reason. Anyway, if you haven't played either game, I would suggest you play them back-to-back.

To reiterate parts of my stellar review of the first game, Syberia II also features ..
  • Gorgeous graphical locales alive with motion and sound
  • Lovely, original orchestrated music
  • Lifelike sound effects
  • Well-integrated, logical puzzles
  • Excellent voice acting

    The graphics are outstanding. Detailed indoor and outdoor scenes bring everything to life. The trees and ground are laden heavily with icicles and snow - a real winter wonderland with snow falling almost continuously. You can almost feel how cold it is, and Kate even sneezes every so often to bring the point across.

    Realistic sound effects "immerse" you into the scenery. Listen to the wild animals and birds (the hoot of an owl and the growl of a grizzly bear) .. the briskly flowing brook, and icy wind howling by.

    The orchestrated music is beautiful, yes, but there seemed to be less of it in this 2nd segment. Since the woods in a winter setting are naturally very quiet, background music would have interfered with that peacefulness .. so I was happy receiving the "accomplishment" music only during the majority of game play. The best music happens during the ending segments.

    While you were faced with a multitude of mechanical puzzles in the first game, less of them appear in the second. Kate faces more situation and inventory type puzzles in Syberia II. Since the setting is entirely different, that makes good sense.

    I like the K.I.S.S. method (Keep It Simple Stupid) in game interfaces - structured for easy of use and functionality. I don't care about "frills" and, in fact, consider them as unnecessary "eye candy." Clear cursors, neat menus, uncluttered inventories, save/load one click away, minimal disc swapping etc. - that's what I prefer. In this regard ...

    There's not enough difference between the interaction cursors, especially those for pick up, use, and talk. So, panning around for that illusive object is the norm - just as it was in Syberia 1. I got used to it and was not overly hindered for the most part. One good thing is that Kate discards unnecessary objects when she advances to a new area. This keeps the inventory neat and tidy.

    Improvements I experienced may have something to do with my new P4 computer rather than in design or programming. I noticed less problems with cut-scene load time, for instance.

    The Bad

    The game's strict linear structure takes you back and forth, sometimes over long distances, just to ask that new question of someone. Of course, unless you know of a problem in real life, you can't ask about it. So, that makes good sense. It's only the traipsing around too far that I object to.

    Every once in awhile a cut-scene interrupts your wanderings - Kate's New York office is trying to find her. Those scenes didn't advance the story any, in my opinion, and appeared added in. (Kate is really not interested in her old life, after all.)

    Lip-sync is only fair in the few close-ups you have of the characters. I've seen much better in other games.

    Dialog paths and continuity needed improvement, but that was true in the first game, too (and I forgot to mention it in that review). It's like Kate's not listening or can't remember a conversation that took place only a moment before. Not a good trait for an attorney from the big Apple (some would say that's typical!).

    The Bottom Line

    While I enjoyed Syberia 2, it wasn't as good as the first, in my opinion. But, that said, I think that both are worth playing.

    Did I feel emotion like I did in the first game? ... almost.
    Was the ending satisfying? Not as good as the first and ... it left me wondering ...
  • Where will Kate go from here?
  • Will she live in Syberia for the rest of her life?
  • Is there going to be a sequel?

    Only time will tell.