By: Ted Chow
Picking up exactly where you left off in the first Syberia title, you reprise the role of Kate Walker in this mystery puzzler. Syberia II is, more or less, the same offering as the first without much deviation that made the original what it was. If you are looking to continue the story and loved the original, then Syberia II will give you the final chapters to discover the mysteries of Syberia and the mythical mammoths.
Much like the first, the controls haven’t improved much and are still acting as a hindrance in some portions of the game. Not much has changed in other areas including animation and forced camera locking. These were some of the gripes that I had with the first, and I would say they are still prevalent in Syberia II.
Vistas and environments continue to deliver on the mysterious wow factor that is the Siberian Tundra, and it maintains a good mixture of realism with the fantastical. The blurred distinction is a nice touch; however, the blurry cutscenes can still feel muddied and occasionally subpar.
Sound is again a bit numbing to the ears and mostly feels like it was imported from the first game. As mentioned in my first review, this doesn’t bar the player from enjoying the story and, if you have already played the first, you’re more than likely to have adjusted to the issues.
Without spoiling too much of the first game or the story thus far, you will continue to play as Kate Walker and travel alongside your companions from the first. Not much has progressed from the original, and one could wonder if it was one complete game broken up into two pieces as they felt closely intertwined in all aspects. Nonetheless, Syberia II is a story about the journey to find the mammoths of old — and if you started from the beginning, the journey has been a long one for sure.
You will continue to meet new characters throughout your mission and discover more plots as you approach your final destination. From old castle monasteries to the arctic tundra, the destinations will provide a level of consistent enrichment of discovery.
Puzzles are the cornerstone of the gameplay and are still an important factor and obstacle to the protagonist. Much like the first, puzzles will have you travelling back and forth talking to NPCs and interacting with the environments to move the story forward.
One difference that I noticed was that the puzzles do seem a bit more straightforward, but that doesn’t make solving them any less rewarding.
Aside from the puzzles, character interaction still plays an integral part in the back story of the Syberia world. Old characters will be mentioned in newspaper articles or flashbacks to relay some more information to the player. New characters will also bring new light to the myths of Syberia and will offer plenty of helpful and insightful information.
As you go further along your journey, you will connect less with your old world and enrich yourself with the new. This progression is what makes Kate’s adventure as much of a spiritual one, as it is a physical destination.
While not as grand as the introduction to the series, Syberia II provides an acceptable journey and conclusion — albeit one that leaves some food for thought. Apparently a Syberia III is in the works and it leaves me to wonder where they will take the story next. For those that enjoyed Syberia, you can find solace in the fact that Syberia II is definitely worthy of your time.