Myst V

Myst V

Some puzzles are as complicated as they look - and even those that don't look complicated usually are.

 

In the beginning, a weird book fell through a rip in the sky and transported us to a mysterious island filled with abstract puzzle after abstract puzzle - that's how millions of gamers fell in love with (and plenty of others learned to loathe) the puzzle-laden world of Myst over a dozen years ago. For fans of the series, Myst V: End of Ages ends the saga triumphantly, but if you've ever tried and hated a Myst game before, you'll find nothing here to make you want to open this book again.

 

Myst V begins with a voiceover by Atrus that introduces you to the story, offering newbies a crash course in Myst-tory. As you play, two other people emerge as central figures in your quest: Yeesha, the daughter of Atrus and heroine of previous games, who urges you to release a great Tablet to renew the D'ni culture; and a new guy named Esher, who has other ideas about how you should use the powers of the Tablet. You go through seven Ages, each with its own distinctly awesome visual theme and fiendishly abstract puzzles, trying to unlock the Tablet's secrets and decide whom to trust.

 

You move around the world in three different ways: Classic Myst mode offers the familiar point-and-click style; Classic Plus mode unlocks the pointer from the center to view and interact with objects; and a new Free-Move mode (our favorite) uses the keyboard to move and the mouse to guide you, like in a first-person shooter - you can't, however, invert the mouse.

 

Myst V's puzzles can be mind-blowingly difficult, and they often require you to communicate (through written symbols scrawled with your mouse) with another species called the Bahro, whose powers can do things like melt snow to create steam to power a machine, or mystically turn the reflection in a puddle into a writing decoder. Using the mouse as a stylus can be tricky, but luckily the Bahro can read handwriting with more accuracy than the Newton ever could. A personal log helps you remember the symbols you encounter, and you can even store notes and pictures of locations - very useful.

 

The Limited Edition is the only way Mac addicts can get their Myst fix - the standard edition is for peecees only - but it's completely worth the extra ten bucks. The set contains the game on a single hybrid DVD, a game-soundtrack CD, a (rather short) DVD on the history and making of the game, an official strategy guide, developer interviews, a Myst timeline, concept sketches, and an individually numbered collector's lithograph. The strategy guide is an especially worthwhile goodie, as the well-written walkthrough gives you just enough help to complete the game without solving it for you outright - and the lithograph isn't just a screen shot from the game, but a stained-glass-style D'ni illustration. Nice stuff.

 

The bottom line. If you've hated Myst from day one, End of Ages probably won't change your mind. If you've followed Myst and enjoyed the ride, then you simply have to get this final installment. And if you've never played a Myst game, you don't need to know the complete back story to enjoy End of Ages - just don't expect any nostalgic chills.

 

David Ogden Stiers (aka Major Winchester from the TV show M*A*S*H) provides the voice of Esher.

 

COMPANY: Ubisoft
CONTACT: 415-547-4000, www.ubi.com
PRICE: $59.99
REQUIREMENTS: 1GHz G4, Mac OS 10.2.8 or later, 256MB RAM, 32MB ATI Radeon 9600 or nVidia FX 5700 or better, 4.1GB disk space
Awesome 3D environments and graphics. Great puzzles.
Some puzzles are too hard. This game marks the end of the saga.

 

 

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