Myst IV: Revelation
Score: 8.9 / 10
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
That said, I’ll proceed with the review.
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
Sierra maxim of “Play with a friend.” Two heads are definitely better than one – it
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
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.
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
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
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.
(November 8, 2004)
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