Syberia The World Before review: A love letter exchange between past and present

Microids /

Title: Syberia: The World Before
Developer: Microids
Publisher: Microids
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 (reviewed on), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: November 15, 2022

Syberia: The World Before is the fourth installment in the longtime, recognizable Syberia adventure series. This latest game continues the adventures of Kate Walker, one of the point-and-click genre’s most recognizable characters. Her newest journey takes her to the country of Vaghen which is filled with history that’s waiting to be uncovered.

Interestingly, the story doesn’t begin in the 2000s with Kate but rather in the 1930s with a young promising pianist named Dana Roze, also taking place in Vaughen. Immediately, you’ll notice the beautiful old-world charm, as you help Dana prepare for a big piano performance.

Kate’s goal is to find out more about Dana who seems to have a resemblance to her and this leads to a back-and-forth affair between the past and the present. This brings a fresh change of pace throughout the Syberia: The World Before experience.

As you explore the beautiful world of Vaughen, you can react to different things that you see and talk to characters; a staple in point-and-click games. Many times, you’ll have the opportunity to do some side objectives as well if you so wish. This is always a fun way to get a little extra detail on the story.

The world is breathtaking and will make you want to snap some photos. The lack of a Photo Mode which is typical of point-and-click adventures, makes that tough, however. That being said, you can definitely get some beautiful shots during cutscenes and introspective moments, whether you’re playing as Kate or Dana.

Syberia The World Before Review: A love letter between past and present
Microids /

There’s also a unique type of freedom that’s present in Syberia: The World Before. With some games in the genre; once you do something simple like go upstairs, you won’t be able to go back down. Here, you can freely go in and out of certain buildings, go up and down the stairs, etc until you feel it’s time to move on with your next objective.

It’s not open-world necessarily, but it does feel a bit more loose and that’s always nice. This allows you to take in and gain a greater appreciation for The World Before’s overall environment in the game. The old-world beauty is there just waiting to be soaked in.

A signature aspect of the Syberia experience is the stronger interactions with items. Opening something like a chest or turning on an oven won’t be just a one-button task. They function like puzzles and you need to do every step on your own to use whatever item it is you’re trying to use to help complete objectives.

It’s the things like this that really make the details pop in the game. Doing the work to open something or turn something else on allows you to get a more intimate look at that particular object in order to help complete your goals. Sometimes, it’s just the smaller, in-depth details you have to appreciate.

Probably the coolest feature of Syberia: The World Before is the ability that allows you to swap freely between Kate and Dana. This is usually available when certain objectives need to get done in an area where both ladies have been.

Just going from 2005 and then quickly back to 1937 is super cool. It truly is a neat time-warping experience. And the fact the swap happens in a matter of seconds makes it a really smooth experience for the gamer. Using this awesome feature will make it easier to solve clues under certain circumstances.

Syberia The World Before Review: A love letter between past and present
Microids /

Going back to the story; the thing I love is that, it feels like a story within a story. With the main side of the story focusing on Kate in the modern era, learning more about Dana’s story and seeing it from her point of view, feels like that tale within the tale.

And both protagonists are very likable. Kate, of course, is the face of the Syberia series so there’s a familiarity there. And Dana is a kind-hearted young woman who is immensely easy to root for as she pursues success as a pianist during a difficult period in history.

Helping Kate learn more about Dana is fun as you start uncovering more of the mystery. It’s as if you, the player, and Kate are learning more about Dana at the same time. And visiting places in the modern day that Dana visited in the past is also really cool. Just seeing how much a place has changed is always fun to see. The places themselves tell a story as much as the NPCs do.

That’s one of my favorite things in games is when the environment can also tell a story and The World Before does a very good job with this. The country of Vaghen and the surrounding area feels like a third protagonist to go along with Kate and Dana and it’s great.

The music is also terrific and helps you feel the moments during your adventure. A great musical score can dramatically play a big role in a game’s immersion and composer Inon Zur did a great job of letting you feel the different situations through the art of music.

Overall, Syberia: The World Before is a beautiful blending of time, telling you the story of a city and its protagonist from the historical and modern lens. The views are beautiful with just about every step that you take, and the interactions with items are about as deep as it gets, truly immersing you into almost every task that you do.

The way the switching feature is used is terrific and a unique way to solve puzzles. How seamless the swapping is, is also a huge plus. It’s instant. It adds an extra layer of fun seeing certain things from both perspectives in the same room in different time frames.

Syberia: The World Before is a point-and-click adventure that truly does feel like an adventure through time and it blesses you with environmental and dialogue-based storytelling, history, breathtaking scenery, beautiful music, likable protagonists, and the always fascinating tale of seeking the truth. If this is indeed the final Syberia game, then it’s a really strong way to close out the late Benoit Sokal’s longtime, renowned series.

Syberia The World Before (PS5) Score: 8/10

A world filled with mystery, beauty, and adventure, Microids put plenty of love in care into the game’s themes of history. World Before beautifully combines classic storytelling with the art of world storytelling, not to mention the intertwining tales of two characters from different eras in time. It’s like a book that takes you in many unique directions within the same story and it’s good fun.