Continuation of the legendary series of video games are always interesting for a variety of reasons. First, you can find out what happened to the main characters after the final credits of the previous game. Secondly, due to the inevitable technical progress, the games become more and more impressive from the visual point of view. Thirdly, players hope to once again feel the long-forgotten emotions and return to the beloved virtual world. But sometimes something goes wrong, and instead of the long-awaited continuation, we get something completely incomprehensible. A vivid example of such a failure is the game Syberia 3.
The first game of the Syberia series was born in 2002 due to the imagination of the Belgian artist Benoit Sokal and the efforts of the employees of the French studio Microïds. 62-year-old Sokal once became one of the first artists who started using a computer to paint their paintings and graphic novels. In 1999, he acted as the lead designer for the Amerzone quest, which won critical acclaim and even won the prestigious PixelINA Award. Three years later, the game appeared Syberia, the story of which tells about the adventures of the brave American lawyer Keith Walker. The game was enthusiastically accepted by critics and won many awards, thus laying a solid foundation for creating sequels.
The plot of his games by Benoit Sokal comes up, borrowing elements of his personal biography, while drawing inspiration from books, newspapers and even television programs. The current paragraph is not recommended to be read if you did not go through the first two games of the series, or simply are not afraid of the plot spoilers. The management of a large law firm sends a talented employee Kate to a small alpine town where she must sign an agreement on the purchase of the once famous toy factory owned by the Foralberg family. During the trip, she meets the ingenious inventor Hans Vorarberg and, being fascinated by his worldview, decides to help him realize his childhood dream: to find in the Far East of the former USSR the lost island of Siberia, which, according to ancient legends, is still inhabited by mammoths. During the first and second games, released in 2004, Kate Walker, along with Hans and his assistant automaton named Oscar, are trying to find a mysterious island. By the end of the second game, they can do it, the truth is also Hans Foralberg, and Oscar tragically die one by one. And Kate remains alone in the middle of an icy desert.
No one hoped that one day the continuation of the story of Keith Walker would still come to light. It seemed that the plot was completely completed, and this was repeatedly confirmed by Benois Sokal himself. However, after many years the artist decided that he still has something to tell his fans about. Or simply the man's money has run out – I also admit this possibility. Whatever it was, in 2009, it was announced that work had begun on the trikvel, which was scheduled for release in 2010 for two platforms: PC and PlayStation 3. Even at the stage of preparation for the development of Syberia 3, its creators faced many difficulties. The situation was aggravated by the purchase in 2010 of the Microïds studio by the French publishing house Anuman, which made a mess in the developers' plans.
In 2011, it became clear that the direct development of the game still did not even begin. Only by 2012, Sokal signed a contract with the new owner of the studio and began writing a script for the future project. Presumably, the work on the game was to be completed by 2015, but the release date was repeatedly postponed, which is why Syberia 3 was born only in late April 2017. Platforms on which the game came out, eventually became Windows, macOS, PS4 and Xbox One. In the near future Syberia 3 should also visit iOS, Android and even Nintendo Switch. After so many years and after several shifts, few believed in the success of the project. Especially considering that the game has been in "production hell" for so long, whence, as practice shows, units are successfully selected.
The plot of Syberia 3 begins where the second game ended. Kate Walker freezes in the snow and it seems that nothing will save her, but fortunately, a caravan of yukolas passes by – a mysterious northern people living in incredible unity with nature. The shaman of the yukolov with the help of ancient rituals brings Kate to life, and then the tribe delivers it to the clinic of Zamyatin lost in the icy wilderness. Kate comes to herself in the hospital ward and gets to know the young leader of the yukols, Kurk, who lies next to her. As a result of the accident, the guy lost his leg, and now undergoes a rehabilitation course, after which he will receive a new prosthesis and will be released on all four sides.
But it's not so simple. It turns out that the head physician of the clinic, Dr. Efimova, works in conjunction with the evil Russian colonel, whose goal in life is to destroy the tribe of the Yukolovs. And the main heroine is hunted by her former American employers from the first game who want to blame the girl for all mortal sins and hang a criminal case on her. After Kate manages to leave the clinic, she decides to help her rescuers achieve their goal, namely, to make a pilgrimage to the breeding place of snow ostriches, which are the faithful companions of the Yukol people for hundreds of years. The path of the pilgrims lies through picturesque, but extremely dangerous lands: the port city of Walsembor, the freezing lake in which a giant monster lives, an amusement park in the city of Baranur, which was damaged as a result of the explosion of one of the nuclear reactor units (an open reference to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and Pripyat), and Also through the sacred river for the Yukol tribe. And all this time our heroes are chasing the Russian military in the best traditions of "Hollywood cranberry."
I'll start, perhaps, with the fact that in this game is realized really well. Firstly, this is a simple, but quite interesting and logical plot. From the point of view of the Russian man in the street, the game is somewhat corrupted by "evil Russians" who are the main antagonists of Syberia 3. On the other hand, the adventures of Kate and the Yukol tribe are quite interesting in order to keep players at the screen for 10-15 hours. Secondly, this is the excellent music of the Israeli composer Inon Zura, who owns the soundtracks of the games Icewind Dale 2, Syberia II, Prince of Persia, Crysis, Fallout 3, Dragon Age: Origins, Fallout: New Vegas, Dragon Age II and Fallout 4. Impressive Track record, is not it? Thirdly, in the game you will meet very colorful characters. For example, an alcoholic captain, a cowardly customs officer or a former Olympic champion-80. All of them are very interestingly spelled out in the plot of the game, but, again, they are the brightest embodiment of the very "cranberry" mocking Russian culture. Fourthly, these are quite interesting, albeit uncomplicated puzzles, obeying common sense and not requiring the player to have supernatural abilities. Fifthly, the developers have tried to implement in their game the approach well known to fans of the Adventure Studio Telltale Games, when during dialogue with the NPC you make certain decisions affecting the attitude of the interlocutors to you. You do not have any fateful consequences on the plot, but in principle, such a system looks quite viable.
Did you read the previous paragraph? Perhaps, this is all that is in the game of good. When playing Syberia 3, you are constantly on the verge of turning off this game and never touching it again. Sometimes you want to break the gamepad (I got the version for PlayStation 4), throw the console out of the window, open a bottle of vodka and drink it with one volley for the rest of the creativity of the studio Microïds. By the nature of the activity, I often have to deal with a variety of games, sometimes with very boring or abounding bugs. But I did not expect such frank hackwork from the French. The guys from the Russian publishing house "Buka" for the first time showed me the game last year as part of the "Igromir" exhibition, and already then certain doubts about the quality of the final product crept into my head. "For sure it's just an alpha version," I thought. And I never guessed right. The final version of the game did not become better than what we were shown more than six months ago. I even admit the probability that over the past months the game has become a little worse.
The listing of all problems Syberia 3 would take me two more of these reviews, so I'll try to highlight the most obvious problems and ears. First, this is a very mediocre graphics, created on the basis of the graphics engine Unity. In general, this engine in capable hands is capable of much. Remember at least the game Ori and the Blind Forest or the same INSIDE – excellent projects, in which there is simply nothing to complain about. In the case of Syberia 3, everything is very, very bad. Blurred textures, straight from the beginning of the 2000s, very rough 3D models, disgusting facial animation, when the characters lose in the artistry of unedged logs. You know, this is the very case when you realize that the actors of the cheapest Russian TV series "about bandits and investigators" play much better than the characters of the modern game. Very rare case.
Animation of character movements is no better than their wooden facial expressions. Kate moves, as if in a dream, even when running. She tufts at corners, bumps into tiny objects lying on the floor, and climbing the stairs is given to her with such difficulty that the scene immediately pops up in the head from the show "Mr. Bean", where he was on the stairs behind the old woman, descending at a speed of one Step per minute. The situation is aggravated by the fact that you constantly need to run from one location to another, and loading the next location takes an average of about a minute (what's there to load something?). Really. I ticked time with a timer. Backtracking in this game is terrible, like a nuclear war. Even more fun becomes when you see how the slider on the loading screen first creeps forward, and then back. With all this, the game terribly brakes almost everywhere: after loading the save, while moving through the locations and even in the menu. Sometimes the frame rate drops to ridiculous 3-5 frames per second. Given that the screen at this moment of mediocre quality of the graphics, I just do not mind – how the developers have managed to achieve such a "bottom".
Some textures in the game are so low resolution that it simply hinders the comfortable gameplay and even the resolution of some puzzles. You want to read the e-mail on the computer screen, but the font is so small and so much blurry that you can do it with great difficulty, only coming very close to the screen of your TV (and I have a very good TV). And such graphic problems in the game a dime a dozen! Due to the crooked lighting and the incorrect color rendition over one puzzle I fought for about 20 minutes, although it was solved elementary. Shadows of characters and objects, then disappear, then abruptly appear again. Sometimes in Syberia 3 suddenly comes night, and you literally do not see anything in front of you, but the game with enviable persistence continues to show you the story screensaver in pitch darkness. Even the inventory in this game works very badly. To find the desired object in it, you will have to slowly flip down a long list, moving extremely reluctantly.
My game console PlayStation 4 in the process of playing Syberia 3 warmed up literally "red hot" and howled loudly with the cooler that neighbors woke up, and my cats hid under the sofa. And it's amazing, considering that the incredibly beautiful game Horizon: Zero Dawn, where 100000 polygons were assigned to the hairstyle of the main character, the prefix practically did not heat up. And here, probably, the most detailed character pulls somewhere on a couple of thousand polygons. The funny thing is that the developers, I think, just decided to score on the quality of the console version (I do not know what the PC owners eventually got). In it, everything is crooked. How could the department of quality control have been so abused of its direct responsibilities? Where did the testers look? What did Benois Sokal and the producers expect? Go on the popularity of the previous two games and quickly cut down the money? When you sell people that low-quality product, no past merit will save you from a storm of criticism. One day the game was stuck dumb at the time I was looking at the picture on the wall. Really? The game completely chopped off my game controller and ran an infinite loop of animation around the circle, I could get out of it only after starting the game with the last save.
The quality of the voice acting and subtitles of the character dialogues is matched by their animation. And people are scolded not only by the domestic dubbing of the game, but also by the original English-speaking one. The young leader of the yukols is voiced by an adult (according to the voice) a peasant, and the elderly patient in the clinic is a young girl. Further more. Characters confuse the emotional coloring of phrases, intonation, and sometimes the words themselves. The process of localization is very difficult, I understand this perfectly, because he once translated the game into Russian. But in Siberia 3 localizers "set the heat" in full. Long time since I've seen in games text errors from the category of "tsya" and "fuck", confused cases and pronouns, wildest discrepancies in the text of subtitles and voice acting. In general, I just want to close my eyes, shut my ears and stay in silence for a while. What can I say about the game, in which even the final credits are translated with errors?
But this is not the end of reproaches against the team responsible for localization. Sometimes phrases break off in mid-sentence, and you do not understand what the character wanted to tell you. And sometimes, when the sentence has already been fully voiced, the character for a few seconds continues in silence to talk to you about something, actively moving his lips. The most terrible thing in all this is that the game dialogs can not be skipped or speeded up. It becomes especially painful when after a hung game you have to listen to a long dialogue on the second round. And separately, I would like to criticize the French developers for the fact that while you choose one of the answers in the dialogue, your computer interlocutor starts naturally and very angrily yell at you so that you think faster. It's just a horrible, disgusting decision, destroying an already-suffering game of many problems.
The game Syberia 3 is not saved either by the name familiar to the fans of the quests, nor the involvement of the famous artist Benoit Sokal, nor numerous attempts to play on the nostalgic feelings of the fans of the franchise. This project is able to bring even the most balanced and calm person to hysteria. The game should be exhibited in museums, as an example of how, NEVER, in any case, do not continue the once-remarkable adventure. I'm afraid that Syberia 3 will not help either the release of patches, or even the apology of developers. The authority of the series was seriously and irrevocably ruined. I even know a few fans of the original dilogy who bought Syberia 3, and the next day they tried to sell it at half price. If only I would never see this nightmare again. In the final game it becomes clear that sooner or later the light will be the continuation of the story of Keith Walker, but I want to believe that "such continuations" I will never see in my life again. I'll bet the game 4 points out of 10 .