Anthony's Film Review
(Video Game, 2004)
A fun video game sequel that continues right where its predecessor left off...
Syberia II continues right where Syberia left off. If you're wondering what the 2004 sequel to Syberia looks like compared to the first game in 2002, that statement pretty much sums it up. In other words, Syberia II has the same graphics, gameplay interface, and principal voice actors as the first Syberia. The two games really could work just fine as part of one long adventure game. Then again, such a combined game would be very long and drawn-out, not epic but still exciting. That may be the reason why the story of New York lawyer Kate Walker and her journey towards a mysterious land called Syberia is told in two separate games, not one.
Of course, there's a bigger reason why Syberia II is a separate follow-up game: the end of the first Syberia is a turning point in the entire story, such that the two halves of the story are still different enough to work better as separate, though sequential, stories. In the first game, Kate comes to France to handle the sale of an automaton factory but learns that Anna Voralberg, the owner, passed away. Then she discovers that Hans Voralberg, the owner's brother, is alive and is the one who must sign the papers to finalize the deal, prompting a long journey across Europe to find Hans. Once Kate finds him at the end of the game, she decides to abandon her job and her life back home to help Hans fulfill his dream of visiting the island of Syberia, where mammoths from the Ice Age are believed to still exist. This is where Syberia II begins.
Like the first game, Syberia II involves Kate traveling on a wind-up train operated by a servant automaton named Oscar and dealing with side obstacles that block the journey forward. This time, however, Hans is also riding along and the journey is now in central Russia. Kate finds herself in various locales, including a small town in the middle of nowhere and a village in a massive ice cavern, and encounters characters like ivory poachers, winter animals, and members of a religious cult. Really, the only major difference between the two Syberia games is that the second also includes cutscenes of Kate's boss at her law firm being updated on the progress of a private investigator trying to find Kate. It's interesting, but in the end, it's a fairly minor plot element.
As I mentioned already, the gameplay interface of Syberia II is the same as that of the first Syberia game. You move a cursor across the screen to look for interactive hotspots. Unlike many older adventure games where each geographic section can have a ton of things to examine and possibly interact with, Syberia is more sparing with hotspots, such that many areas may have no more than five hotspots, and some many have none at all. Even so, you still have to be observant, because the key item that you need to find to advance in the game may not be obvious until you search carefully. Plus, a few puzzles require a bit of logical thinking to successfully solve.
Overall, Syberia II, like its predecessor, is a good adventure game. Not the greatest in my opinion, but still above average. I enjoyed exploring the beautifully drawn worlds of the game and figuring out the puzzles that I came across. I especially found the story to be a bit more interesting this time, for two reasons: (1) the adventurers are much closer to reaching Syberia this time around, and (2) one part of the game takes you back to a specific place in the first game in a rather creative way. The only criticism I have would be that the ending is very quick and abrupt, instead of something more detailed to make it truly meaningful. Still, I'm satisfied with Syberia II, enough for me to recommend the game to any avid fan of adventure games.
For more information about Syberia II, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.
In addition, check out my review of Syberia.