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Myst 4: Revelation Review
developer: Ubisoft Montreal
PIII 700, 128MB RAM, 200MB HDD, 32MB video card
|ESRB rating: T
www.ubi.com/ US/ Games/ myst4_pc.htm
release date: Sep 28, 04 (released)
|» All About Myst 4: Revelation on ActionTrip|
The news about the new Myst game, Revelation could be considered big. As the newest installment of one of the most popular point-and-click adventure series ever, Myst IV reveals more of the story that has kept its fans spell-bound for more than a decade. Myst IV: Revelation certainly lives up to its name, as the story unfolds brilliantly during the game. In the rush of the WWII and Vietnam tactical shooters, this member of the "genre in extinction" attempts to become a worthy sequel to a trend-setting game, which was revolutionary for its time.
Turning my entire family into giant popsicles was not as much fun as I thought it would be.
Well, by the looks of this gate I'd say I'd rather stay on this side of it.
It's hard to write about Revelation because the game is tailored so well that trying to express just how good it is becomes problematic. To begin, everything in this game, from its vivid, luxurious graphics, to its fantastic musical score (written by Peter Gabriel!) invokes pleasure, creating a pure gaming heaven for all you die-hard adventure freaks. Add the mind-numbing riddles that this series is so well known for and you get tons of crazed gamers that travel through the ages for hours, trying to solve the transmitter... the transducer... um... that tech problem, as if their life depended on it. (Ed. - These are gamers we're talking about, it's likely that their life DOES depend on it.)
The story of Myst IV revolves around the scientist Atrus and his family. You play a 'friend of the family' since, as all Myst gamers know, the main character has never been given a name or an identity, and probably never will. In Myst IV, you face yet another challenge, and that is to help Atrus decide about the destiny of his two prodigal sons, Sirrus and Achenar. Atrus' sons have been imprisoned in two dangerous ages that their father wrote, Haven and Spire, and their mother is now anxious to see them again. But, Atrus is not so sure that his sons have repented, so this is where you step in. The game starts in Atrus' home on Tomahna and as the game begins you find yourself helping Atrus operate on some machine. Now please don't ask me what this machine is because I can't for the life of me remember what it is. All I knew was that I wanted to smash the blasted thing to pieces as I had no idea what the heck I was doing. And naturally, this is the main problem with Revelation and its predecessors. Let's face it, even if you are a die-hard fan of the series, sometimes you won't have the slightest idea of what you're doing. But remember, there is virtually no way to back yourself into a corner in Myst games so having good nerves and a lot of patience should help. Although most of the game's puzzles are quite logical, some will seem to have no connection with any known form of logic on Earth. (Ed. - Amen, well spoken Bruce, or um, She-Bruce.) In order to solve even the easiest of the puzzles that can be dubbed as "logical," you will have to walk quite a bit and then experience a strange feeling of your head splitting in twain. Revelation is not a game for impatient players. You will have to dwell upon a puzzle until your head spins and wrists ache from hitting the keyboard. Revelation will not appeal to the gamer looking for the flashy, quick, and shiny gaming experience. This is a game for the perfectionist players who want to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon skimming through a visually perfect game. Consider yourselves warned.
However, one strange point, it seems that those less patient players have been thought of, in fact. There is now a complete walkthrough included in the game, so whenever things get out of control the solution to the problem is just one click away. This puzzle-solver has three levels, where on the first one you'll only be given a hint and on the third one you will be granted with step-by-step instructions that you'll only need to follow in order to continue your game. However, this is not a walkthrough in the typical sense of the word, as you'll still have to find the spots where you'll be able to perform the puzzle or be quick enough as to follow the steps with the required speed. Even with these instructions, Revelation is still a game that could drive even the most patient man crazy. Then again, if you are going to "play fair" or maybe "take a look" or "two" the puzzle-solver is there for you to use. I am myself of the opinion that the puzzle-solver is a great inclusion, as it will make life easier for both veteran players and the newcomers to the magical world of Myst.
Most of the game's puzzles tend to be logical, but highly complicated. Truthfully, there is not one easy puzzle in Revelation, and there are some puzzles that are rather nonsensical and quite out of place. And of course there are a few of those frustrating puzzles that require certain speed or timing skills that will make your tortured persona growl at your computer. When I say you're going to spend hours trying to sort these out, I mean it literally. It took me solid two hours to make that monkey thing throw a fruit... Honest to God, I wanted to climb down the tree and kill those buggers. Now, when you succeed in doing something right in most cases you'll feel as if you've climbed the top of Mount Everest, but there are some puzzles that just aren't rewarding enough - at least they weren't rewarding for me. I don't happen to call several pages of an old journal rewarding. While what you read in the journal may be vital for the unfolding of the splendidly written story, still I felt as if I've been cheated. Sometimes solving a puzzle means you will get more clues necessary for solving other puzzles, or new fragments of the story... Somehow I wanted more. I always expected something cool was going to happen, but most of the time the coolness never happened. In that sense, Revelation is not a game for those who want cheap excitement. The drama in this one builds gradually and not suddenly, and those hardcore Myst players should appreciate the twists and turns of the story as the present mixes with the past, and the deeds of Atrus' sons are revealed in front of your eyes.
In contrast to incredibly complex and difficult puzzles are the game's interface and controls. Your inventory is as scarce as ever and consists only of three items - your journal, camera and a necklace that belongs to Atrus' daughter, Yeesha (it helps you see things that have happened). The witty inclusion of a camera to your inventory is not accidental - you'll find the camera very helpful, as that way you'll manage to keep a record of all the important things you've seen. You can store all the photos you've made in your journal to keep track of the clues you've stumbled upon. With time you will have quite a lot of them, simply because you won't be sure what can be considered important information. Many of the locations won't have any significance for the solution of a problem so you'll tend to waste a lot of time as everything can be a potential clue. This is a feature I did not like at all, as I couldn't understand why sometimes the same focus would be given to the important and unimportant objects in the game. (Ed. - I think this is to make the game harder. Not that it needs it.) It's also terribly easy to miss something as some things are visible or accessible from only one position on the screen. This is really a time-waster and the main cause of your frustration while playing Revelation, even more so than the hellish puzzles. As you do not play in full 3D but rather move through a series of static screens, you will have to make sure you've clicked on everything of any significance. The thing is, the cursor will sometimes be lazy and won't change its shape straight away, so you will have to move it slowly across the screen in search of any hotspots that could be there. Even so, you will miss some of them, so you will be forced to check them again... and again... and again. Some buttons and handles are blended in with their environment and are very hard to see. Sometimes, you won't be aware of their existence even if you were looking straight at them. I guess this was done intentionally, but I don't understand why they need to torture the player more when he's already troubled with some of the most difficult puzzles he's ever seen? I found this intentional object-hiding very irritating and quite unnecessary, but who am I to criticize? I am sure that all Myst fans will be out of their masochistic heads with excitement and delight after they've spent two hours trying to find a handle.
8.7 Very Good
Ingeniously difficult but mostly logical puzzles, awesome graphics, beautiful settings, clever hint system, useful camera and zip mode, fantastic music score;
Several uninspiring and nonsensical puzzles that are not rewarding enough, indiscernible objects and clues, difficulty to find hotspots on the screen.