[2005-03-27] “Myst IV: Revelation”

Anusha and I have finished playing “Myst IV: Revelation”, the latest in the Myst series of games. The game is heavy on gorgeously beautiful content and lots of in-game action by live actors and it shows - it comes on 2 DVDs and you need a minimum of 3.5GB of free disc space to install the game and around 8GB for a full installation!

This game is by far the most beautifully rendered in the series and has a coherent storyline. Even though the scenes are pre-rendered graphics with very high detail, there are seamlessly integrated moving elements that are also sometimes interactive and which give a nicely sustained illusion of a surreal world alive with life and mystery. The puzzles are not extraneous and are just at the right level of difficulty. There are also some nice innovations over the previous games in this series. There is an in-game camera for taking screenshots and a journal for taking notes, eliminating the need to take notes and painstakingly draw out possible clues on paper. There is a three-level help system that provides helpful nudges at the first level to spelled-out solutions at the last. There is also an amulet that becomes active at certain spots in the game world and that replays events that had happened at the spot, possibly containing useful clues. We did get stuck at some points in the game, but the help system rescued us before we could get frustrated and either look for a walkthrough or abandon the game. This is in sharp contrast to “Uru”, which we are yet to finish completely (we have finished the original game and the “To D'ni” expansion pack, but not “The Path of the Shell” expansion pack).

The actors are convincing most of a time, though their diction does get a bit weird at places (sub-titles are still quite useful, but work properly only after you apply patch 1.03). On the whole though, this is a game with an outstanding production quality and attention to detail. I would very highly recommend this game to anyone interested in adventure gaming. A big thanks to Anusha who worked very hard to get this game in time as a gift for my birthday! For a long time, this game was quite impossible to get in Bangalore.

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