E3 2016 – Syberia 3 Preview – Frozen Adventure

The Syberia series of games has not seen a new release in quite some time. Syberia II came out in 2004, and word from creator Benoît Sokal was that we should not expect to see a third entry. Fast-forward 12 years, and after a couple of false-starts, Syberia 3 is almost here. Developer and publisher Microids allowed us a sneak peek with their hands-off demo of Syberia 3 at E3 2016, and we have our preview available now.

A Time-Tested Genre

Syberia 3 is traditionally a point-and-click adventure, but the controls have been adapted to be useful on consoles. You move protagonist Kate Walker with the left stick, and interact with things using the face buttons. In one example that we saw during the demo, Kate needed to fix a doorbell. By interacting with the device, she had to look at it from several angles before finding the proper section with which to interact. Syberia 3 is an adventure game, but also a bit of a puzzler as you have to figure out what to do next, which items to combine, who to talk to, etc., in order to progress.

Developer and publisher Microids has chosen to use the Unity engine to create Syberia 3. This may be perhaps because it enables one of the easiest cross-platform workflows in the industry, and allows studios to target several platforms at once. The result was a game that generally looked pretty good. Syberia 3 has a quasi-realistic look going for it; the developer uses the term “surrealistic,” and we’re inclined to agree. Loading new areas occasionally resulted in a momentary pause of the game, something we’ve seen in other Unity-based games, but this was an early look at a game in development, so there is still time to get it a little more polished.

A New Look and Feel

Whereas earlier entries in the Syberia series were played against pre-rendered backgrounds, Syberia 3 is the first to be realized in full 3D. The aforementioned Unity engine allows for a dynamic camera, though gameplay largely remains the same. This means you can expect puzzles to be a bit more involved this time around, and those who enjoyed the older games’ play style can expect more of the same, just in a slightly tweaked, and more believable, environment.

Since Syberia 3 is a traditional adventure game, you should expect a more calming experience than an action/adventure game. There likely won’t be any big explosions, or shootout sequences, or anything particularly over-the-top. What will be here is intrigue, puzzles, and drama. Expect to hunt for the proper item, or listen to a story by one of the game’s eccentric characters, or otherwise get immersed in the world of Syberia, which is a steampunk-esque fictional world with a diverse environment and characters.

The Syberia series has been a cult classic, and since its last release we’ve seen at least one new generation of gamers come of age. So perhaps now is the perfect time to introduce gamers to this strange world, and a different kind of gaming. Point-and-click adventure games seem to do fairly well on consoles these days as well – just look at The Walking Dead by Telltale Games. Syberia 3 is currently ready to launch on December 1, 2016 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, and Mac platforms.