Syberia 3: Wishlist vs. Reality

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Syberia 3: Wishlist vs. Reality

Postby Siren Drake » Wed 24 May 2017 20:59

In the thread asking for people's Syberia 3 wishlist, I posted the following:

Siren Drake wrote:My Wish List:

1. Better character models. Kate looks great. Almost everyone else is misshapen. Sometimes to a ludicrous degree.

2. Better story. In Syberia 1, Kate started out as something of a doormat, but during her journey, she found new confidence; Syberia 2 has no character development whatsoever. Mr. Marson, who threatened to fire Kate in Syberia 1 if she didn't get Hans's signature fast enough to suit him, is tearing up Russia in search of her during Syberia 2 as if she were his long-lost daughter; the character about-face was so abrupt it gave me whiplash. In Syberia 1, there was a reason for the professors to be coy about sauvignon grapes when Kate asked; in Syberia 2, the monk who didn't want to tell Kate why she wasn't allowed in the monastery had no such reason and just came across as an obnoxious nut-job. Out of all the people in Romansburg, the person who was entrusted with tokens for shrouds was the person with the least reason to want to deal with it and was also the last person that the monks should have entrusted with it. Then we have a monastery patriarch who can't make up his mind whether Hans is a dangerous influence on Kate or Kate is a dangerous influence on Hans, and we have the guy in charge of the station who can't make up his mind whether he's busy or has nothing to do with his time.

3. Better puzzles. Syberia 1 was no Riven, to be sure, but the puzzles were decent. In Syberia 2, what passed for puzzles was: talk to everyone in the location and go through EVERY conversation path, pick up hard to spot object, apply object to every conceivable mechanism or surface or person, move to next area, talk to everyone in that area and go through EVERY conversation path, apply each and every inventory object to each and every mechanism or surface or person in the area, revisit every area to find that some new person or object just showed up somewhere with no in-game indication, ... You get the idea. Virtually none of the puzzles involved logic or problem solving, meaning that in the strictest sense, this game had almost no true puzzles. And it was WAY too talky. And required way too much backtracking without guidance.

As for the rest of it, I see no reason for major changes in mechanics. The interface is fine. The prerendered 2D graphics work well. Syberia 2 is a bit glitchy, but aside from fixing bugs, I would be cautious about making changes to the mechanics. Giving Kate different hairstyles and adding useless inventory items isn't going to improve the games enough to be worth the development time.

Honestly though, I wonder if there really can be a good sequel. Kate's story has already been told. Hans's story has already been told. The island of Syberia would have none of the elegant buildings like those in Validilene or the monastery. There are no more of Hans's automatons to tinker with on Syberia or in the Youkol village. Kate reached the end of her journey, and has nothing else to do there except go home, apologize to Mom, and try to get her job back. And none of the ideas presented in this thread for Syberia 3's story had any appeal for me.

Honestly, I wonder if Sokal would be better served to write a brand new story with a brand new protagonist. He could still have automatons. After all, the Voralberg factory was in business for several generations and sold automatons throughout all of Europe if not farther afield. Kate could even get a mention or a cameo.

Or I suppose he could keep Kate as his protagonist if he could come up with some grand European project for her to get involved in. Something that was meaningful to *her* for a change, instead of something she was doing for someone else. But definitely something that involves automatons. Maybe she goes back to Validilene and gets involved with restoring the old factory. Maybe she convinces the new owners to make automatons as a sideline instead of completely abandoning them.

I know I don't want to spend much time on the island of Syberia or in the Youkol village: out of all the scenery from Syberia 1 and 2, those were the ugliest, most boring locations of all. Lots of games have good character models that look even better than Kate. No other games have scenery like Validilene.


So what did they do?

1. They kept the ludicrously misshapen character models and made Kate look like a cheap Lara Croft wannabe.

2. Benoit Sokal's fetish for bizarre animal life becomes the focus of yet another story as Kate goes on a Snow Ostrich migration. /shudder/

3. I have a sneaking suspicion that other than figuring out how to move objects through 3D space, all the "puzzles" are still mostly talking and applying inventory items.

4. I mentioned in another thread that adding 3D movement to the interface was likely to make Syberia 3 even glitchier than 1 or 2. Did I call that or what?

5. It looks as though the entire game is in ugly locations with precious few of the clever automatons and none of the beautiful Art Deco buildings that I loved so much in Syberia 1 and 2.

I haven't bought the game, and based on reviews, I probably shouldn't. It's hard to express how disappointed I am, especially considering that there probably won't be another game in the series if this one doesn't do well, and so far, it's not looking promising.

Commiseration gratefully received. :-(
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Re: Syberia 3: Wishlist vs. Reality

Postby stone » Sat 27 May 2017 13:30

I general I have to agree with your points. But thing is you should play the game. Despite all those problems there is sill Syberia there. Maybe this is because of music, maybe characters, maybe old memories. I cant tell. But thing is when I finished I wanted more, despite the fact that so many things could have been done better.
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Re: Syberia 3: Wishlist vs. Reality

Postby Siren Drake » Sat 27 May 2017 19:31

But did you want more of what you just played or more of what Syberia used to be?

I'm really frustrated with the industry trend towards hi-resolution, ultra-realistic graphics of ugly locations and horrific monsters. Who wants to look at ugly locations and horrific monsters for hours on end? And if your locations are ugly and your monsters are horrific, is it really a benefit to have hi-resolution, ultra-realistic graphics? And why haven't game designers figured this out yet? Are they really THAT enamored of dark, edgy, gritty dystopias? Because I'm sick of them. Why isn't everyone else? At least Syberia isn't likely to have zombies show up.

I might pick up a copy of Syberia 3 when the price drops. The thing is, the Syberia series has never had the kind of puzzles like the stumpers in the Myst franchise that can make your brain hurt, and although the story in Syberia 1 was excellent, the storytelling took a downturn with Syberia 2 and yet another with Syberia 3 by the sound of it. The graphics were the main saving point for Syberia 2 and the graphics got ruined for Syberia 3. In fact, this latest installment looks so different, I can't help wondering whether Microids lost some of their key graphic designers.

**** SPOILERS AHEAD ****

So really, what it comes down to is how badly I want to see Kate's reunion with Oscar. Because I have to admit, I kinda would like to do that. Like most people, I liked Oscar more than I liked Hans.

(It was confirmed in an interview with Microids employees that the weird object Kate was wearing as a pendant is Oscar's heart, and when I ran a search for Syberia graphics, I saw one from Syberia 3 where Kate was hugging Oscar, so I already know about that.)

**** END SPOILERS ****

Do you think Microids will ever make another Syberia game? I don't know how likely they are to sell enough copies to justify another installment. Syberia 3 hasn't exactly wowed the critics, so if it doesn't sell well, Microids might not have much incentive to make another game for the series. After all, brand name has limited value when the brand name has been damaged by increasingly inferior installments. One more Syberia game that's another disappointment is almost certain to kill the franchise forever. If Microids hasn't already done that with Syberia 3.

If they do make another Syberia game, maybe it's time to turn the helm over to someone OTHER THAN Benoit Sokal. No offense, but he has designed only ONE good game that I know of, and even that one could have used better puzzles and more streamlined gameplay. Amerzone was an inferior game even for its day. Syberia 2 has little to recommend it beyond its scenery, and I've already gone over what seems to be wrong with Syberia 3's design. I gather that Benoit Sokal has some ardent admirers, but frankly, I'm a little puzzled as to why. At the very least, if Microids ever does make another Syberia game, they need to call in a quality game design consultant who will keep them from building a clunky interface and who will warn them of the pitfalls of adding the physical movement of 3D controls through 3D space BEFORE they design their gameplay around such a bad decision. And they need to get back to Syberia's gorgeous scenery and Art Deco architecture.
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Re: Syberia 3: Wishlist vs. Reality

Postby soulcypher » Thu 10 Aug 2017 20:04

Syberia 1 and 2 has more beauty than Syberia 3.
I wish they use prerendered 2D workflow for Syberia 4 just like they did for original.
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Re: Syberia 3: Wishlist vs. Reality

Postby Siren Drake » Mon 14 Aug 2017 03:25

They could have beautiful locations with 3D. The lack of beauty is more due to art direction than to technical aspects.
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