Myst (PC) Review

By Ofisil 31.10.2017

Review for Myst on PC

Myst is one of those few games that were once considered to be killer applications, although it's hard to understand why nowadays. It was part of a small family of titles, mainly point-and-click adventures, that made heavy use of high-quality audio, and stunning (for the time) pre-rendered 3D graphics, and, as a result, helped in popularising the use of CDs. While some, like The 7th Guest got lost into obscurity, this one endured, and created one of the best-selling video game franchises of its time. To realise how popular Myst was, back in the day many would purchase it based on its fame and looks alone, hating it after realising that this was one of those "stupid adventure games!" Luckily, while definitely old, stupid this is not…

The team behind the creation of this world wisely chose to provide the blankest slate kind of protagonist ever. The so called 'Stranger' is not only faceless and genderless, but the observer won't even be able to tell if he or she is human, or, even better, from where did he/she came from. The best description of that person would be that of a drifter; a drifter who discovered a strange book, which, upon touching its first page, transferred the Stranger into the "Age" of Myst.

What it an "Age?" It's basically a miniature "bubble" universe within the universe; a world created through a mysterious ancient Art that enables the one using it to craft Ages and store them on a simple-looking book. This review won't spoil anything else, however, as part of the fun here is figuring out what the heck to do, and what this place is all about. Myst hates exposition, thus once on the eponymous island, you are on your own.

Screenshot for Myst on PC

There's a weird lack of a goal, however. Myst might be an adventure similar to all the others, for the most part, but it's also heavily into exploration. In fact, those expecting a title like Syberia, for example, will be disappointed, as there are no real dialogue sequences at hand. You are simply thrown into a strange world to find purpose on your very own… which leads to how engrossing this can be despite the immense solitude that is involved - or maybe due to it.

The island of Myst, as well as the rest of the worlds that will be visited by the Stranger, has a surreal and otherworldly aura about them - sort of as if being in a dream. This unmatched atmosphere is the result of the aforementioned feeling of loneliness, the minimal yet effective use of ambient sounds, and, of course the visuals. Yes, you've read that correctly - the visuals. Sure, the days that these simple 3D vistas were considered cutting edge are long gone, yet it all looks very good.

Screenshot for Myst on PC

It's hard to deny, however, that while Myst looks good, the transitioning effect that happens when clicking on a path to "walk" a bit further kind of shows the age of the title in a way that's not exactly very graceful, meaning that everything looks similar to a slideshow. The strange part is that, for the most part this is exactly that: a slideshow where one can simply interact with most of the slides at hand. The good news? The whole interaction bit is actually very good.

…And this is the perfect place to talk about the notoriously challenging puzzles. For starters, while definitely hard, they aren't exactly as challenging as they are supposed to. It's just that, like with the story itself, don't expect things being handed to you. Fortunately, unlike how some adventure games require following some weird, out of place "path" to solve a puzzle, all you need to do here is to just pay attention for clues, and take lots and lots of notes.

Screenshot for Myst on PC

Most puzzles in Myst require fiddling with a mechanical contraption to understand what it does, and then use it to achieve what's needed. Imagine finding a record player or a washing machine in the middle of nowhere, with no prior knowledge of what these can do or how they work. In other words, puzzles are all about logical thinking instead of trying to pull off bizarre cocktails with the items of your inventory.

So, the basic concept is this: explore an Age, solve its puzzles, move on to next Age, solve its puzzles, and so on and forth. It's great, it's awesome, it's spellbinding… but it's not for everyone. Even amongst genre fans, some will be disappointed by the lack of interactions, something that basically lowers the replayability of it all. While there is a character to talk to, the Stranger is basically alone here, and some may find that this is not their cup of tea.

Screenshot for Myst on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Although the days when Myst was considered a ground-breaking title are long over, it remains a fascinating, puzzle-filled journey through a beautiful, and deeply atmospheric world. Perfect? No. Those looking for something like that should try out the sequel.

Developer

Cyan Worlds

Publisher

Red Orb Entertainment

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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