Myst V: End of Ages
Myst was an adventure that pushed the whole genre into a new direction, building on the road created by The 7th Guest, a game that was about the only reason I bought a 500 euro external cd-rom. With Myst V, the game that we’re checking out now, the series comes to an end. The subtitle End of Ages is properly chosen and we’re pretty sure both noobs as old fellows will enjoy it
Cyan Worlds has chosen to make the last visit to the world of Myst entilrely 3D. Even more than in other games, the makers succeed in creating that magical atmosphere thanks to the enchanting surroundings, portrayed in breath-taking graphics. You need to have played Myst to know what I mean when I say no other game can create a fictive world that comes even close to this pearl.
Too bad there’s less possibility to interact with the surroundings than in the previous versions and that you can no longer hear your own footsteps. On the other side, the few human characters are beautifully animated and talk (great voice-acting by the way) and move like they’re real. Thanks to the convincing presentation, Myst sucks you into this adventure filled with riddles, mysteries and secrets without a problem, especially if you have a pc with the necessary graphical balls.
It comes in handy that this time you can choose how to navigate: like in an FPS, but making use of preset resting points like in the previous titles, or by a combination of these two systems. Also the savegame system is very easy and never takes you out of the atmosphere. The same can be said on the menus.
In a game like Myst the storyline and of course the puzzles are of the utmost importance. Postive is that you don’t need any prior knowledge of the games. Thanks to Yeesha and Esher, a man and woman who now and then appear to help you and who also let some diary fragments wander around, you are being taken step by step into the history of Myst, the characters and the different ages. The two don’t seem to be the best of friends and you’ll slowly but steadily find out what’s really going on. Ideally to keep you playing of course as pretty quickly you’ll be dying to know the background of all this.
Your mission is to repair the forgotten world of the D’ni. Thousands of years ago this civilization was a perfect example of a harmonious society but a catastrofe cloaked in secrets made a quick ending to this. Exciting is the fact that from the very first minutes you feel you’ll be playing an important role in how the story will end: you will decide on the faith of the D’ni!
With the storyline and immersion things are already quite good, which other game makes you feel personally addressed these days? And although the ending is a bit less “final” than you might think, it provides the fans enough material to close this epic series.
Of course the way you progress and get to the final chapter is also of crucial importance for an adventure. Also there Myst V doesn’t disappoint. The typical puzzles are again present and as always they’re not easy. The game demands you to pay a lot of attention to detail, the you write things down and constantly decrypt clues, make connections and analyse how things are made. The combination of the typical riddles from all previous episodes are all present in the foud different, surprising worlds that are a joy to explore.
A successful and innovative addition are the so-called “slates”, stone tablets on which you can write symbols. These are discovered by you as you progress through the game and you’ll need them to communicate with the Bahro, strange creatures that you’ll meet even in the beginning. Thanks to these slates you can also navigate quicker within the specific Age (very welcome after a while) and for instance call out weather effects that can help solve certain puzzles. In the end you need to get the tablet of each of the four worlds to finally get the last, fifth ultimate one in your possession. The way the slates are integrated into the gameplay is refreshing and at the same time challenging for the old-skool adventurers.
The basic ingredients of a successful adventure and Myst-game are all present; beautiful and imaginative surroundings, difficult puzzles, a supportive and good storyline that immediately sucks you in and drags you along. Some innovations like the slates and the navigation possibilities certainly add value and make this last title one of the best in the series.
The conclusion is simple: if you like such slow, mind-challenging but very atmospheric and satisfying games that you need not doubt. If you constantly wonder where your shotgun is when walking in FPS-view, you better leave this on store shelves. Although the last episode doesn’t manage to reinvent the genre, Myst V remains one of the best ever! I hope that this isn’t really the last episode and that the makers keep thinking on how they can put the forgotten genre of adventures back on the map.