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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure / Puzzle

 

Publisher

UbiSoft

 

Developer

UbiSoft

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 2004

 

 

- Wowee! graphics

- Some really mind-bending puzzles

- "Organic" interface

 

 

- Some puzzles are extremely difficult

 

 

Review: Myst III - Exile (PC)

Review: Syberia II (PC)

Review: Leisure Suit Larry - Magna Cum Laude (PC)

 

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Myst IV: Revelation

Score: 8.9 / 10

 

Although the original Myst is accused of killing adventure games by lovers of the genre, I’ve got to give it some credit for being the catalyst that kick-started the CD-ROM Revolution.  People wanted to play Myst so much they bought CD-ROM drives.  It wasn’t long after that the game industry caught on and all games are now shipped CD (or downloaded).  The console world really embraced the format (aside from Nintendo).  I think Myst IV: Revelation is attempting to kick-start another revolution: to make DVD-ROMs the standard.  I think it was Computer Gaming World that was aghast at Nocturne’s 1-gigabyte installation requirement.  Myst IV clocks in at 8-gigabytes and loads from two DVDs.  If Myst IV shipped on CD that would make for about 12 CDs!  Even more when you consider that the pack comes with Myst III on a separate DVD (and is Mac compatible).  Other games have shipped on DVD but they’ve had CD equivalents, like Tex Murphy: Overseer.  Myst IV is DVD exclusive and takes the first step in “forcing” everyone to upgrade with a DVD drive.  Yes, a lot of new PCs come stock with DVD drives but as Computer Gaming World found out when it packed a DVD with its magazine.  The reader outcry was enough to prove DVD drives aren’t as widespread as we might think.  But does all this make Myst IV a revolutionary title and one everyone should rush out and buy?  No, but if enough people buy it more developers will start creating games using DVDs – and it turn will inflate budgets so more content can go into the game.

 

That said, I’ll proceed with the review.

 

myst 4 revelation review          myst 4 revelation review

 

For starters, this game is eye-popping.  There’s really no other way to describe it.  There’s a level of artistry here that is rarely seen in games.  The color, the strange but appealing setting, the deftness of the animation all combine to actually induce a sense of awe at times.

 

And through the awe cuts a certain amount of frustration dealing with some extremely difficult puzzles.  I slogged through Myst III and I felt certain I’d punch out any member of the development team if I met them.  Myst IV does pretty much the same thing. (I’m taking a list of names with me to E3 next year!)  Some of the puzzles twisted my brain in ways it wasn’t supposed to be twisted, even the first puzzle that is basically a primer took me longer than I might have thought.  Other times I was confident of a solution and the fact my figuring turned out to be right was a reward in itself.  This is definitely one of those games that follows the old 

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- PC Game Reviews

- Adventure Game Reviews

- Puzzle Game Reviews

- Games Developed/Published by Ubi Soft

Sierra maxim of “Play with a friend.”  Two heads are definitely better than one – it 

doesn’t always make the solution more apparent (that what the Internet and in-game Help Map is for) but it is more fun.  

 

Navigating and manipulating objects in the world is a snap – it’s point and click through and through.  Mouse over the environment and the cursor changes to point out areas of interest.  A disembodied hand is used to manipulate the environment.  Instead of 

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just clicking on a lever or knob you actually have to “grip” the item then pull or turn it.  As lame as it may sound, this makes it feel like you’re really interacting with the game world.  Myst IV also includes a Zip Mode that lets you instantly jump to areas already visited (as long as you’re physically able).  It helps cut down on the prerequisite back tracking of puzzle/adventure games that is always a source of bitterness.

 

myst 4 revelation review          myst 4 revelation

 

The acting is good, when there is acting.  As a franchise, Myst has always been on the anemic side when it came to characters to talk to and it remains anemic in Myst IV.  Nope Myst IV is more about the puzzles – solve them, more the story forward.

 

This is where it really helps to have played the other Myst games.  If you’re familiar with the series it’s probably a good idea to play through Myst III before tackling Myst IV so that you can get a better handle on the overall plot.  The quick voice over intro should be enough of a recap for fans.

 

It’s possible that Myst IV is not as good as I might think.  By way of a disclaimer, I was cringing my way through Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude at the same time I was playing Myst IV, so anything I’ve written above should be taken in that context.  Even so, I’d stick to the opinion that the puzzles are a challenge – in some cases a real challenge – and that the graphics are gorgeous with a solid interface.  And hell, it’s even fun at times.  In short, Myst and maybe even adventure fans will be pleased with Myst IV: Revelation.

 

- Omni

(November 8, 2004)

 

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