This week Anusha and I played Uru: Ages Beyond Myst - the ambitious and open-ended 3D incarnation of the Myst series of games. We have finished the original single player game and will soon start on The Path of the Shell, which is the expansion pack for this game.
Our Avatar inside an Age (“Gahreesan”) in Uru
I liked the game on the whole but just hated some of the elements - notably the extremely awkward third-person perspective and the associated movement of the avatar as well as the camera (first-person perspective is also provided but is difficult to use in many a puzzle). Some of the puzzles were also quite bad and extremely illogical. I do not think this game can be finished without the help of a walkthrough. The graphics, while really stunning at times, do not hold a candle to the really gorgeous and polished Riven and Exile in the same series. The story was non-existent and we had no idea why we were carrying out the whims of the eccentric Yeesha, Atrus's daughter. More irritatingly, the game engine has a few bugs that make it freeze hard in the middle of a session and Windows 98 dutifully corrupts a few files every time we hard-reboot the computer! After some time some of the game files were so corrupted that we had to uninstall and then reinstall the game to be able to proceed!
I hope the forthcoming Myst Revelation redeems this otherwise quite wonderful series and Uru remains a forgettable aberration. The playable demo features gorgeous graphics quite seamlessly integrated with animation and a great interface.