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Review Syberia: The World Before per PS5, “In loving memory”

Let’s find out together, in this dedicated review, how Syberia: The World Before behaves on PS5: after a temporary landing exclusively on PC, the work of the late Benoit Sokal has arrived on new generation consoles

Thirteen years. This is the time that fans of the Syberia brand had to wait for a third chapter. However, when Syberia 3 (2017) arrived on the market, not everyone seemed to appreciate the change of direction that Sokai, at the time, had foreseen for Kate Walker, Oscar and the bizarre train of supporting actors who foraged the narrative of the series. No longer a point-and-click adventure, as Syberia (2002) and Syberia 2 (2004) had been, but videogames more similar to what, nowadays, are called “the new graphic adventures”.

This change of direction was consecrated in March of this year by Syberia: The World Before, the real fourth chapter of the franchise, completely dedicated to the prematurely deceased Benoit Sokal, designer and screenwriter of the series. A real love letter to the author, which we have already talked to you abundantly in a review dedicated to the edition originally released on PC (which you can find by clicking here) and which, today, we want to talk to you about again after its arrival on current generation consoles. Welcome to our review of Syberia: The World Before in its PS5 version.

Rising for Adventure

Russia, 2004. After the series of events that officially closed Syberia 3, the young lawyer Kate Walker finds herself enslaved by a local neo-fascist military group and forced to do forced labor in a salt mine. A hard, monotonous life, and relieved only by the special relationship that Kate weaves with her cellmate, Katiusha, a Russian singer of a punk band, imprisoned for her ideas considered too “revolutionary”. The sweet relationship between the two receives a strong jolt when, in the very first moments of the game, Kate receives a letter from her old friend Olivia, now dated almost a year before her, announcing the death of her mother.

Desperate for not being able to preside at the funeral, Kate finds herself embroiled in a series of dramatic events that see her flee the salt mine, with in his pocket a strange painting in which a young woman is depicted who looks like her in all respects. Our mission? Find out who that young woman is, what bond she has with Kate and what her life on this earth was, broadly speaking.

Recensione Syberia: The World Before per PS5, "In loving memory"

Dana Roze | Review Syberia: The World Before per PS5

Fictitious town of Vaghen, 1937. Dana Roze is a budding young pianist, but with an uncommon talent. She lives her quiet life in a small town, next to her parents who own a shop downtown, and tormented by the doubts and uncertainties of her adolescence.

Hanging over this life that tends to be the same as many others is the Brown Shadow, a historical reinterpretation of what unfortunately was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, perhaps better known by you as the Nazi Party. Indeed, we are on the threshold of the Second World Warand the Vagherians will be constantly victims of racism and segregation, up to living (and trying to survive) the real occupation.

Recensione Syberia: The World Before per PS5, "In loving memory"

Moonlight Tension | Review Syberia: The World Before per PS5

As you can well imagine, the girl Kate Walker is looking for is Dana Roze. How the two stories will intertwine and what the destinies of the two women will be, we leave it to you to discover. Of course, Syberia: The World Before is a title strongly focused on narrative, and revealing too many basic steps could ruin the experience itself. Between ups and downs and a rather slow start, the script fielded by Sokal and the whole group of developers is solid, valid and very interesting indeed. Although there are no real significant twists, the drama of the events told and the spiral of tragedies that will incorporate the life of Dana Roze has been exciting, heartfelt and at times truly touching.

Everything is set in a Vaghen so fascinating as to make you forget, for long stretches, the various technical problems that afflict the title and which we will gladly tell you about in the next paragraphs. Abandoned the free camera of the old Syberia, in The World Before we find a fixed camera that follows the controlled character. This allowed the developers to play with the direction, creating glimpses and views of the best corners of the town and all the other beautiful settings that we will visit, whether in the role of Kate or Dana.

Recensione Syberia: The World Before per PS5, "In loving memory"

An End to Everything | Review Syberia: The World Before per PS5

Experiencing both stories also allows you to review the same places in different eras, a factor that allows you to notice even more the attention to detail placed in the creation of the environments, especially the interiors. In both eras, the presence of Hans Voralberg’s Automatons is central, a face definitely known to fans of the franchise, but whose ignorance will not cause any difficulty in understanding for novices. The steampunk-like atmosphere that is created, with steam trams driven by automatons, suggestive and almost futuristic iron elevated platforms, totally mechanical and out of context computers: an anachronistic mix, but so fascinating as to seem almost surreal.

Not only the camera system has been replaced, but a large part of the gameplay. Syberia: The World Before is definitely not a point and click, but rather a graphic adventure complete with dialogue choices, narrative crossroads (albeit not as significant as one might think) and a few riddles scattered here and there. So those terribly difficult puzzles of the first chapters disappeared, to go instead to beat the nail of pure and simple narrative, entertaining the player every now and then with some machinery to fix, automaton to open, catch to solve.

Recensione Syberia: The World Before per PS5, "In loving memory"

There Will Always Be A Train | Review Syberia: The World Before per PS5

We get to the point of this review and ask how Syberia: The World Before performs on PS5. In general, we dare say, fairly good. There aren’t all that many differences from this year’s March PC release: the graphic detail is lost in some contexts, with low-resolution textures that definitely clash with the whole outline. If the detail of the environments, especially the interiors (as we have already said), is particularly high, the same cannot be said for the character models.

Especially the facial animations, which rarely reveal anything real, also due to the almost glassy eyes of the models. Add to that some sporadic frame rate drops and, most annoying of all, the camera cuts that often make an already particularly woody Kate/Dana unmanageable. All problems that were already present in the PC version, and which for obvious reasons could not be fixed in any way. In the end, although it presents itself in a rather fascinating, lively and colorful way, Syberia: The World Before is not and will never be a triple A, with a large budget and therefore capable of particular touches of class on a technical level.

Everything is raised not only by the spectacular nature of the settings that we have already mentioned, but also by an amazing soundtrack (composed by the never banal Inon Zur) and by an English dubbing that is also very attentive to the accents of the various characters that we will meet, and that has managed to immerse us even more in a story that amazed us, as non-fans of the franchise.

Recensione Syberia: The World Before per PS5, "In loving memory"

The World Before…

We close this review of Syberia: The World Before by entrusting it with the same vote that we had also given it on PC. The combination of a masterfully narrated story and incredibly fascinating settings is not particularly overshadowed by the technical problems that the Syberia brand has been carrying around for several generations now, mainly due to the not particularly high budget. We recommend it, even if you haven’t played the previous chapters: although you might miss a few winks and some references, you will experience an adventure that will leave its mark. Just as Sokal left it.

Syberia: The World Before is currently available on PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X | S. Let us know what you think below in the comments, we will continue to keep you updated with all the gaming and tech news, guides and reviews! And if you are interested in game keys at advantageous prices, we advise you to take a look at the InstantGaming catalogue!

Plus points

  • Evocative and terribly fascinating settings
  • Thrilling and dramatic narrative

Points against

  • Technical problems already known in the PC version
  • Sometimes annoying and poorly managed camera