Malcolm Owen On December 15, 2004 at 9:06 am

A few people would say that the Myst series has received a bit of bad press from the gaming community. Many would say these few people are two bricks short of three bricks, and I would agree with them for the most part. Sure, the casual gamer whom knows nothing about Quake or Unreal Tournament may pick up Myst and find it to be fantastic or may misrepresent it to be a typical example of a modern game, when it is not. Over 10 Million copies of Myst and Riven have been sold, which makes me wonder if the casual gaming crowd may be right for once, and dare I say it, the hardcore gamers being wrong. Could this possibly be true? I did the only decent thing I could do, and that was to buy the latest version, Myst III Exile, and see if the Myst series has caught up with normality and actually got good.
After a while, I realised that indeed, the 10 million copies were either bought by a ton of people whom don’t know any better, or one of the art department’s mother has decided that their son/daughter’s work isn’t appreciated enough and has bought as many copies as possible to make them feel better. This, of course, does not help the rest of us at all.

The whole Myst series has revolved around the mysterious "D’ni", some guy called Atrus, and a ton of books that you use to travel to other places. They released some books about it too, and they worked well, as opposed to the games that actually make no sense at all, no matter which you look at. This time, a linking book gets stolen by an unknown assailant and you have to try and get it back by completing lessons intended for Atrus’ sons.
As you glide from one Quicktime Panorama to another, it soon dawns on you that there is no real "Game" at all, and that it’s in fact a fancy demo reel for some poor CG artists who got bored some time, and due to the constant suffering of using QTVR, you could probably start to feel motion sickness after a short time of clicking. Every time you click in a non-descript direction, you take 1 step, maybe 3, but it’s an imprecise distance. When you have to go from one side of one location to another, you genuinely have to click for each and every step. This gets pretty old pretty fast, and is deserving of some sort of award, to show our appreciation in making as many people vomit at the same time as possible.
The puzzles themselves are completely devoid of any rhyme and reason. You get a vague idea of what to do after a short period of experimentation and blundering about, but that’s about it. Only after completing the puzzle do you find out what you were meant to do. Some people may love this blind-luck style of living, but it doesn’t make it enjoyable to play at all. How Atrus’ sons managed to get out of these lessons at all is a mystery, but I think we can all agree that they suffered some sort of mental trauma in the process.

So, after playing or rather blundering through the game, do I feel that the 10 million game sales are justified? No. If I wanted to go through a CG artist’s wet dream, I would watch Monsters Inc or Finding Nemo. If I wanted to feel dishevelled and in agony after immense mental trauma of not knowing what I am meant to do, I would go to a Chinese takeaway and order the Kung Pow Chicken with Fried Rice and then commence a game of "How many meat bits can I stick up my nose before I suffer an aneurysm" whilst drinking soya sauce from a silver chalice surrounded by copious amounts of barbed wire and poison-tipped spikes. If I wanted to do both of these at the same time, I would play Myst III Exile. But I don’t. As that would be bad.


Strangely, ESP is not just suggested, it’s NEEDED, to play this!


Quicktime Panoramas that LOOK pretty, but that’s about it


“Atmospheric”…but mainly downright annoying.


Using a branding iron on your eyeballs will have a much more favourable effect than playing Myst 3. You may want to go into Exile if anyone found out you bought this and enjoyed it.

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