Guest Author - Lisa Shea
The latest Myst game is out. With Myst IV Revelation, you have TWO DVDs full of gaming information. This takes up 8 GIG on your hard drive. It is massive.
Yes, as you can imagine, the graphics are gorgeous. Birds fly over to the birdfeeder as you watch, and then flit off. The water ripples beneath you. The clouds drift by. The art nouveau architecture is simply gorgeous, and each world has its own culture. It is a visual feast.
The sounds are equally immersive. Peter Gabriel did some of the sound. The audio track not only draws you into the world, but also gives you clues, if you listen carefully to what sounds you are hearing in which locations.
But how is the *gameplay*? I am a huge, huge fan of the Myst series so I have to say, if you're patient, the game is really fun. But you can't expect to just zip through the game quickly. The point is to sit with a glass of wine, roaming around, clicking on things, exploring your world. There is a lot of trial and error before you discover what the next puzzle is - and then a lot of twiddling before you get the hang of it.
Unfortunately, the very first puzzle, of lining up audio wave signals, is REALLY annoying. The helper is trying to give you assistance but most of the time his comments strike you as quite intrusive. It's not a puzzle at all that will "make sense" to most people. I am actually an audio buff and my boyfriend is a musician who plays with audio files, and even so we found the controls and setup hard to work with. This would have been find as an end-game puzzle, but it is awful as the way to get people into the game in the first place. The other subsequent puzzles are much more enjoyable and logical.
I wanted to pick up all sorts of things, and got frustrated that I could see books and not read them. You could never tell which pieces of paper were readable and which were mysteriously glued to the table. The amulet that you pick up is fun, giving you visions and sounds to help you move the plot along. However it blinks pretty much ANY time you zoom in on things. Why not just have it show you the video automatically the first time, and let you click on it after that to replay the video? The constant click - zoom - click - amulet got a bit much. Especially when the video was on the meaningless side.
I really would have hoped that by now the game would be "fully motion" enabled. In the first myst, you in essence walked through paintings. You could only look at the screen and then click to go somewhere else. You couldn't turn and rotate. Through Myst II-IV we got more and more video, first as tiny integrations and then as full screens. But while we can "look around us" in Myst IV, you still have to click and wait to move your feet. Maybe Myst V will actually let you walk. It's that clicking that begins to wear on me, the click, wait, click, wait. The quick-hop ability to leap to certain spots does help, but I would rather be able to move seamlessly through my world.
That all being said, Myst IV is definitely a must-have for any puzzle lover. The graphics and sounds are gorgeous, and the puzzles are challenging and fun. I do have a walkthrough online but please do NOT use it until you are really stuck. The point of this game is not to race through and be done. The point is to enjoy the world, to immerse yourself and to try, try, try and finally succed at the puzzle in front of you.
Myst IV Revelation Walkthrough
Buy Myst IV Revelation from Amazon.com