Syberia: The World Before is the fourth entry in the two-decade-old Syberia adventure game series. It spawned from the mind of the late Benoit Sokal, and in Syberia: The World Before, Microids studio is keeping the flame of the narrative adventure game burning bright. With an intriguing world, engaging puzzles, and a fascinating narrative, I am genuinely curious to see how the rest of the story plays out and see how these characters’ relationships intertwine after playing the opening three chapters.

The beginning of Syberia puts you in the shoes of Dana Roze, a young woman who is trying to build a career as a pianist returning to her home of Vaghen – a town facing tensions leading up to the Second World War. Unfortunately, out of the two hours I got to experience so far, I only played as Dana for a short period of time, and while I didn’t get too much out of her story, it did help establish some world building especially for someone like me who is new to the series.

I found the puzzles to be pretty straightforward early on, with tasks consisting of looking for a simple object to progress through the story like a pen or a key. But later on there were others that turned out a little bit more complex than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. However, at other times I found myself stuck due to a lack of knowing there was another piece of the puzzle that was available to me, or that it was easier to solve with a mouse and keyboard than a controller, the way I played most.

Benoit Sokal created a setting that is similar to what we know of the real world, but the industrial industry is more advanced where you will see automatons doing human actions such as driving vehicles and playing music. An ongoing organization brought up in this world is known as the Brown Shadow, which from what I learned is comparable to Germany’s Nazi party from World War II. I wouldn’t say they are a threat to the characters at large so far, but they are definitely antagonistic and seem to be a focal point in Syberia’s narrative.

Throughout the first three chapters I didn’t play only as Dana Rose, but also as Kate Walker, the main protagonist of the rest of the Syberia series. Her story began as a prisoner in a salt mine, where she quickly learned about the death of her mother. Thanks to her friend Katyusha, they come across an abandoned train finding a painting of our other playable character Dana and coincidentally enough, they look the same. This puts Kate on a mission to find the origin of this painting, who painted it, and who the mysterious girl actually is. That is the big part of Syberia’s story that has me so interested. We already know it is Dana and we play as her, so seeing how these two plot lines collide truly has me anxious to see where the story goes.

As you explore the world you will interact with a myriad of different objects and locations including a train cart filled to the brim with expensive antiques, shop stalls, gadgets, gizmos, and even an industrial piano.

Seeing how these two plot lines collide truly has me anxious to see where the story goes.

Syberia: The World Before doesn’t seem to be attempting anything groundbreaking for the interactive storytelling genre, but if you are a returning fan to the series or someone who is looking for something to fill that classic adventure-game-sized hole in your heart, then Syberia is something to be excited for. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of Dana’s and Kate’s adventure plays out when the game is released on March 22.

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