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    dkirschner's Syberia (PC)

    [April 29, 2013 03:20:14 PM]
    Finished up Syberia today, which has been a long time coming. I really enjoyed it. I described the beginning of the game in a previous entry, but essentially you find out that Anna Vorelberg, the woman who dies in the beginning and who is supposed to sign away the toy factory, has a younger brother named Hans who is still alive. Thus there is an heir to the factory and you have to go search for him to get him to sign it over. There is a lot of mystery surrounding him and a lot of backstory that you uncover as you travel from place to place on a train with a lovable automaton train engineer named Oscar.

    Without giving a lot away, Hans is a mechanical genius of sorts and has laid a path for Kate (your character) to follow to find him, although he hoped it would be his sister, Anna. The path takes Kate from the initial French Alps town of Valadelane to a university where Hans studied to an old Soviet factory where Hans used to work, which is now overseen by a madman and a drunk ex-cosmonaut, and an old resort spa. Each of these locations is a character unto itself. They are absolutely beautiful, stunning, and always have an edge of eeriness to them because of the automatons, the passage of the years, and the general uneasy feeling that Kate is getting closer not only to Hans, but to danger. I can't quite identify it, but the game creates a very unique feeling.

    I loved the artwork in the game. The visuals look excellent, practically every object looks lovingly crafted, there is a lot of attention to detail, the orchestral score is simple and elegant. The interface is quite good. The only thing that bugged me a little bit is that Kate takes stairs very slowly and if you click to move over some stairs, she always only walks to the top and then you have to click again. She won't just keep going. She never runs up stairs!

    The puzzles usually were easy, though I was stumped a handful of times and always had a walkthrough handy. The downfall of adventure games for me are when things don't make sense according to David logic. This one did a pretty good job of making sense to me though. A couple solutions I scoffed at. One, which was easy but time-consuming, was to find some grapes to feed some cuckoo birds that were standing at the base of a ladder blocking my path. I never understand animals blocking your path in adventure games, unless it's like a bear or a mammoth. These were 3 little birds. Shoo them away! Why do I need to go on a 30-minute hunt for grapes to feed the birds? Just go up the ladder and they'll move out of the way! Then once you get up the ladder, you have to get a bird's egg, but Kate says "It's too far away. I'll never reach it." This egg looks clearly within reach. Anyway, you eventually find a test tube holder to use to pick up the egg. As anyone remembers from chemistry class, test tube holders are maybe 6 inches long. Kate could have stretched to reach the egg!

    So the game played up this 'change' element in the main character, Kate. Supposedly she was unsure of herself in the beginning but confident in the end. I didn't really see much of a change in her besides that she got real absorbed in finding out more about Hans and just got deep into the detective-y story. Where the imputation of change really came from were Kate's significant others who kept in contact with her through cell phone. These characters were SO STUPID. All the other characters, the face-to-face ones that she met along her journey, were cool, many were excellent, but those through the cell satellites were irritating. There was her mother, who kept calling her to dote and talk about being rich and the man she was dating (who turns out to be a famous singer who knew some other famous singer that Kate ends up having to track down - small world...), Kate's terrible boyfriend Dan, who is one of the most annoying romantic others I've ever had to listen to in a game. He calls her up and whines that she isn't home yet, doesn't like her going on an adventure, gets pissy at her, and then whines some more. Every time she says she won't be home another day he flips out. Finally they get in a fight because he is an idiot. Then she has a friend, Olivia, who isn't too bad until she sleeps with Dan, which was both dumb and funny at the same time. Luckily by this point I think Kate was tired of them all too as she heroically blows Dan and Olivia off at the end. And her boss too. He just called to yell at her every now and then. I mean they all called her 10 times each throughout the game. Like, she's working, leave her alone, what are you all doing to be calling so often?

    That's about it. I'm real glad to have played this and look forward to Syberia 2. This game was...enchanting. That might be the closest word to accurately describing it.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Apr 29th, 2013 at 15:21:06.

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    [January 13, 2013 01:06:27 AM]
    Ok, got another plane game. It's an older point-and-click adventure game called Syberia. I played until I got stuck and have confirmed that a trackpad is excellent. So now I'm setting it aside as well and will stop starting potential airplane games. It took me about 45 minutes before getting stuck.

    Syberia is intriguing. It begins with a short cut scene of your character arriving to a sad little town in the French Alps. She stops to allow a funeral procession, led by an automaton drummer, to pass. A storm outside gets stronger, and she heads for the hotel to check in. She was sent to this town on behalf of her law firm to oversee the sale of a mechanical toy factory, world-renowned for its automatons, to a client, another toy factory. Unfortunately the funeral she witnessed was that of the factory owner, so she has to do some exploring to figure out how to continue on with the sale of the factory.

    I got stuck when I was able to explore the town and needed to find a notary. In typical adventure game fashion, for me at least, I clicked on every thing but the correct thing. The hotel clerk kept telling me that I'd know the notary's house when I saw it. But I didn't know the notary's house. There were two places I couldn't get to with automatons on the door/gate that I needed to fiddle with. One of them I needed to give something and pull a lever so it would inspect what I gave it. I didn't think I had anything useful to give -- a cell phone, two faxes, and a couple cogs. Turns out that is the notary's house and I had to give it one of the faxes, and the notary examines the fax through the eyes of the automaton, and then lets me inside. Who knew...I'm not sure if I was supposed to recognize the automaton's eyewear as some notary tool or what, but I spent 15 minutes walking all over town looking for something to put in that automaton's hand.

    Anyway, the game is more than interesting enough for me to keep going. I think I will get most of the puzzles and solutions. I really like the look and sound of the game. It's sort of steampunk, but there's this surreal vibe going on. Something about the automatons is unnerving. And the death at the beginning, and this isolated mountain town, and this attempted takeover of the toy factory...there's a mystery here. But yeah, I'm going to put it on hold, bump it ahead of Avadon as my current travel game, and wait to (hopefully) enjoy it.
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    dkirschner's Syberia (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 13 January, 2013

    GameLog closed on: Tuesday 30 April, 2013

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    The setting draws me in. Looks beautiful. Story is intriguing. Voice acting not very good, which is too bad. ---------- Enchanting game, truly unique. Loved the story, intriguing. Doesn't *quite* wrap up in the detail I wanted but ok.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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