Just finished Syberia - The World Before
In which our heroine Kate Walker finds out about her past. You get to occasionally switch between her in the present of the year 2005, and other characters in the years 1937 and onwards. That look into the past sometimes informs how to progress with your puzzling in the present. The story revolves around Nazis, here given the - in my eyes laughable - name 'The Brown Shadow', and resistance fighters. You get to interact with a number of interesting puzzle box style mechanical devices.
The game looks stunning. The amount of detail put into all of the scenes wowed me, so many different models and textures! Light, shadow and reflections complete the mood. Kate's derriere looks great in those leather pants
. The movement of the camera gives the game a [strike]cineastic[/strike] cinematic feel. Characters' facial animations are pretty - I love Kate when she's being mischievous.
In a few places the detail could have been higher though, e.g. when zoomed in on a puzzle the textures around the interactive area were low quality. Some animations of trees and other plants swaying in the wind did look unrealistic and random.
Navigating worked really well in this one compared to the previous title. There was only one intersection, at the cemetery location, where Kate had problems walking into the lane you directed her. That's using a mouse, I guess it would have worked better with a gamepad. I tried using the latter at first, but quickly got annoyed that the different actions used four different buttons. Using a mouse, one button does all via click-and-drag to select a verb, which is much more comfortable and smooth in my eyes. What's a bit weird though is how the cursor disappears when hovering over a point of interest. Made me miss quite a lot when clicking on stuff while moving about and having the camera follow.
What ground my gears throughout the game was how the English VO consequently butchered the word "Fräulein". It seems Americans deem the Umlaut dots mere decoration, pronouncing it "frowline" instead of "froyline". Considering how most of the texts are written in German and how often the word is said... uff.
Two or three lines out of a longer dialogue sounded like being spoken by a different actor, and recorded in a different studio. That was a bit jarring, maybe last minute changes. A few minor inconsistencies between voice lines and subtitles. I found a dozen or so spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as sentences completely mixed up on a piece of paper torn in half. At first assumed that was part of a puzzle, but nah, you later find out that it was just a mistake. Quite glaring, and easy to patch out. Dunno why so many games still contain errors like these, sometimes years after release. Doesn't anybody notice, or do people just not care?
My nitpicking aside, it's a very enjoyable experience. A touching story with interesting twists, sometimes grim, sometimes sprinkled with humour, and I'm looking forward to the next installment. Playtime was roughly 12 hours, that's including me being dense or getting lost in the aforementioned cemetery
Edit: Looks like the [strike] tag isn't interpreted anymore.