Review: Syberia: The World Before – A Fantastic Time Travel Adventure

A Journey Through Time and Imagination

Syberia: The World Before – Back to the Roots

One could think that the golden era of the point-and-click adventure genre was over a long time ago. Nevertheless, gems like Siberia: The World Before show us that there is still a lot to be taken off this slightly dusty shelf with mind-blowing results.

Most of the time, developers serve us titles that include big, open worlds with corny stories and mundane gameplay. And, suddenly, we get such a brilliant piece as the fourth Siberia game, titled “The World Before”. As the die-hard fans might conclude from the title, before his demise, Benoît Sokal did a great job and created another wonderful chapter with the BIO of Kate Walker.

Syberia: The World Before – The Story

After the launch of Syberia 3, which wasn’t appreciated as expected, the team of Microids decided to make up for it and asked the one and only Benoît Sokal for help. The result is a really mature, heartbreaking, and, of course, twisted scenario. The story begins in a forsaken prison, where the devil himself says goodnight. This time, our protagonist is Kate Walker. Somehow, you manage to break the wall and try to escape. Exploring the old train full of Nazi war trophies, you come across a painting depicting a mysterious woman who, in a way, resembles the looks of our protagonist. Kate, who apparently has nothing better going on in her life, decides to find the lady from the painting.

This is how you start your 14- to 16-hour-long wild adventure, which mostly takes place in the town of Vaghen, where Dana Roze lived – the mysterious woman from the picture. The developers used their freshly developed storyline to introduce a new style of narration. So, now we have several playable characters, and the story itself switches between the years 1937 and 2005. During the flashbacks, we take over Dana, learning about her past, way of thinking, and cruel fate resulting from World War II and how it impacted her whole life. Mostly, the actions carried out by Dana Roze help Kate Walker solve the present puzzles. What is more, the team of Microids let us play some side characters as well, but more on that later.

In Syberia: The World Before, we witness as the main character, Kate Walker, matures as a person; she starts to realize her own mistakes, struggles with understanding her own identity, and faces the music after three years of picarooning. Well, it’s a general overview, there is much more to this story than meets the eye.

Syberia: The World Before – Gameplay

As far as the gameplay goes, the freshest Syberia also stands out from the crowd. I can honestly say that almost every jigsaw present in the game has been creatively mastered; puzzles require some out-of-the-box thinking and remind me of the good old times back in the Amiga days, when with some games I literally had to take a pen and make some notes, which could be useful later in the game. That is so sweet!

The most awesome new feature is the GTA-V-style switching between Dana and Kate in case the story happens in the same spot. E.g., at some point in the present, you come across a broken automated orchestra you need to fix. In order to do that, you must see how the mechanism used to work in Dana’s time. I’ve seen this approach before, probably in Onimusha 3, where players had to switch between Japanese and French protagonists to find a solution to a certain jigsaw.

Surprisingly, the tip system also deserves praise. Considering the modern video game branch, it had to be introduced anyway. Luckily, it lacks idiotic tips like “push this button if you want to make this happen”. The developers decided to give players some really useful tips that reflect their current conditions. E.g., “Those weights are somehow connected with the arms of the machine. You should take a closer look at it”. However, when you get stuck in a puzzle, don’t expect the answer to be delivered to you on a golden plate.

What is more, I have to mention the wonderful atmosphere that surrounds the story – the world created by Benoît Sokal still amazes me and makes me wonder—it’s just absolutely brilliant. A fantastic soundtrack will take your breath away, making you feel that there is no other game series like this.

To my mind, the amount of work put into Syberia: The World Before is going to be appreciated by the die-hard fans of the series. There are numerous references to the previous titles, especially to the first one and the unforgettable Hans. Not to mention some Easter eggs, to which access depends on information you could only get by playing the first or second Syberia game.

Syberia: The World Before – The Verdict

All in all, Syberia: The World Before is the No. 1 adventure game I’ve ever come across in my whole life and, as far as I’m concerned, the jewel in the crown of the Syberia series – and one of the best games of 2022 in general.

The game is available for: PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, GeForce Now, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows (https://store.steampowered.com/app/1410640/Syberia_The_World_Before/)

About Author
Meet Jack, a passionate gamer and video game reviewer! Jack has always had a love for video games since he was a child. He would spend hours playing games and analyzing every detail of the gameplay, graphics, and storyline.