Platform: PlayStation 4
Review Date: 12/17/22
American lawyer Kate Walker continues her journey across Russia, and the game begins with the nomadic Youkol tribe finding Kate's nearly dead body in a snowdrift. I never played "Syberia II," so I don't know if this is consistent with that game's ending. When Kate wakes up from her coma, she finds herself in an odd clinic run by a couple of sinister doctors who won't let her leave. A military colonel instructs the staff to keep her there so that he can arrest her, while a detective from New York wants to extradite her back to The States on charges of embezzlement and murder. The Youkol guide is also in the clinic, so Kate has to figure out how to escape and free the guide so that the Youkol's snow ostrich migration can continue.
While it's a graphical improvement over the first game and uses real-time 3D environments instead of static prerendered environments, the character movement suffers from the same problems and the camera control is extremely limited. Often times when the camera angle changes, you'll end up walking in the wrong direction and immediately go back to the previous angle, which makes navigation needlessly tricky. The textures frequently blink in and out and there are numerous shearing problems and lighting issues where the lighting is constantly flashing. From a visual perspective, the game feels rushed and incomplete.
The controls are also unintuitive and cumbersome, and reading documents is especially tedious. Instead of being able to flip through the pages with a single button press, you have to hold down a button and use the analog stick to move in the opposite direction that you want to go. Then you have to translate the page, hit the back button, and do the whole thing over again. Clickable items aren't marked well and they're easy to miss. Some of the puzzles are reasonable and some are diabolical. One in particular is completely broken. I had to set the time on a clock, and the only two clues are "around tea time" and "three hours before dinner." Somehow, the player is supposed to infer that dinner time is 8:00, so the clock needs to be set for 5:00. You're welcome.
The writing is unremarkable, the voice acting is weak, and the subtitles are full of typos and don't match what's being said. On top of that, the default music volume is louder than the dialog, so you can't hear what the characters are saying until you turn that down. It seriously feels like no QA was done on this title at all. The performance is also rather poor, and once you reach the port town of Valsembor, the frame rate drops to 3 FPS and never recovers. This makes the journey unbearable, and not long after that the game freezes while trying to load the next part of the level. I tried this multiple times with different approaches and it still froze, which was reason enough to stop playing altogether. Overall, "Syberia 3" is a disappointingly buggy misfire that fails to improve upon its predecessors or make any notable advancements.