Syberia 2 Preview





Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   Microids  

PC Requirements:   Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, Pentium II 350 MHz processor, 16 MB Direct3D (DirectX 8.1) compatible 3D video card, 64 MB RAM, 400 MB available space on hard drive, 16X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 7 compatible sound card




by gatorlaw


Syberia 2 Preview

Let’s get one thing settled right away. The graphics are stunning. It is hard for me to believe it could get any better than Syberia, but it is amazing how finessing the look here and there can take things to a whole new level. There is gently falling snow that settles to the ground, and a richer ambient sound to the sequel. There are so many little things that bring this game to life and create a rich tapestry of sight and sound as you pass through. A rabbit pauses as it crosses your path and look back quickly before it scampers on it’s way. A wolf slinks through the distant woods, as you walk along, your footprints gently filling in with newly fallen snow. It has been a long time between these two games and it is easy to forget how good a game can truly look and feel. No matter how well I try to describe Syberia 2, it will still surprise. You will just have to see it all unfold for yourself. I can tell you that when this game releases – you are in for an experience you will savor for some time.

Where is Kate now?

At the beginning of the game, we find ourselves on the train in a new faraway town. Hans, who we barely met at the end of Syberia, is tinkering away in his workshop on the train. He seems more capable than before, but also frailer. There is a nagging cough that occurs and somehow you know that time is precious. Oscar is tending to his train – but he too has evolved. He is as opinionated as ever, but now there is a detectable tenderness in his cadences and dealings with Kate. And of greater importance, is the unique and eventful role Oscar will come to play in this journey. What that choice involves, is for you to discover on your own. I can say you will be surprised and perhaps moved by this part of the game. As for the world Kate left behind? It’s still there and plays an interesting part in the sequel, but Kate is long past heeding their calls. 

Old Friends and New

There will be news about and encounters with characters from Kate’s past. There is a careful attentiveness to continuity between the first part of this game and the conclusion. I won’t spoil any of the surprises in this preview, but I really felt that many questions lingering from part one were reconciled. And then there are all the new faces to meet and discover. There are so many characters that weren’t even covered in the pre-release news. These lesser characters are as memorable as any others you will meet in the game. It seems amazing to me that with the right voice actor and a deft hand with the art – even the smallest of encounters tells you so much about the person you are interacting with. I don’t believe anyone in the industry can bring characters to life with such seeming ease, as Benoit and company. If you loved Momo - you will want to take Malka home with you. Then there is the warm-hearted owner of the cabaret. The small- minded, but struggling to be more, Colonel Emeliov. And no preview would be complete without a nod to the rambunctious Youki, I found these characters captivating. I have barely scratched the surface of this new wondrous world with Kate and her companions. No matter – they had me with Oscar’s first words in the game.

Devices and artifices

One convenient feature in the main menu is a beautifully done short film that hits the highlights and storyline of part one of Syberia. It seems a shame to bypass Syberia 1, but you can follow events and characters in the conclusion without having played it. For those who have played game one, it is still nice to have a quick summary of past events to bring you back up to speed with Kate and her adventures.

One item still present is Kate’s phone. But it isn’t ringing, well not much anyway. And it serves a better purpose, than fielding pesky calls from back home. You can now access Oscar by phone at any time. No more running back and forth to discuss some new discovery or dilemma. On another note, it is also pleasant to hear a friendly voice on that cell phone for a change.

Of course, there are more of the wondrous devices created by Hans, encountered along the road to Syberia. Many are an old familiar sort, beautiful machines of whimsy and delight that need a little tinkering and hands on to get moving again. Others are quite exceptional and unexpected. There are also a number of challenges that involve fantastic conveyances and mechanical oddities that were built by quite different hands and minds.

What will surprise some gamers are the number of pure puzzles sprinkled liberally through out the game. For those who think they have this game pegged from past exposure to Syberia 1 or even the short and narrow slice of the game represented by the playable demo – well they will be wrong. This is such large game world. Aside from several large environments, the diversity and number of places in the game surpass part one substantially. The challenges and gameplay are more detailed and complex as well. It is clear now, why this game had to be broken into two parts. Anticipate spending quite a while on this trek through towns, monasteries, wild places, woods, villages and more. Unless of course you opt to walk-through this game, which as with any of Benoit’s creative efforts… well, that would be a real loss. Rambling around all the many places, vistas and wonders in this game is more than half the joy.

Final thoughts are pretty simple. Mark your calendars, watch for pre-order sites – you do not want to miss this game. Now as for myself, I have a train to wind and as we all know that usually involves a whole lot more than simply turning a crank.

Would you like to learn more about Syberia 2? Read the full review by gatorlaw.


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