The wondrous world of Myst gets a cosmetic upgrade to take advantage of faster and more powerful computers in realMyst. The features, puzzles and every other detail of the original Myst remain intact, with the exception of a newly added bonus age. From the beginning movie to the letters and books found on the isle of Myst, the storyline and locales are unchanged, though scenery appears larger due to utilization of higher resolution.
The new age, Rime, has no effect on the ending of the game, seems unnaturally lumped into the adventure, and serves little purpose other than as a come-on to entice purchase of the new version. While the veteran Myst player acquires access to a new age and new stories in the book located in the library, Rime isn't nearly as spectacular as the original four. The music is less intriguing with repeated clock themes and the graphics are dark. Too bad the designers didn't use this opportunity to make some improvements to the endings of the original game.
For players new to the game, the storyline is incredibly vague at the beginning and is fleshed out through exploration of a complex, deceptive world. Clues are cryptic, and the story requires considerable reading of journals and books found on the island and other locations to help focus the search for what's going on. Two specific books offer video sequences of two brothers, each playing a jumbled message that's hard to hear, but with distinct clues. The difficulty of solving Myst's many tough mysteries is legendary -- suffice it to say, a mystery is much better experienced than explained and realMyst is a case in point.
As in the original, figuring out the switches and interactive elements of the game takes a significant time investment. Clues are uncovered at a slow pace and leads must be followed and puzzles solved to gather more clues. Simply wandering the island won't help you solve anything without paying special attention to the clues and stringing them together to build a complete picture of the labyrinth-like tale. Many puzzles don't make sense when solved out of sequence, and a slow-paced orderly approach is not only recommended, but also necessary.
The 3D rendering of realMyst is reminiscent of Ultima IX: Ascension's style (large and colorful graphics). The game is unplayable without a graphic accelerator, but movements are very smooth and require only a mouse click to advance the character. Using the mouse to interact with the environment by operating switches and other interfaces is the full extent of the control scheme, as nothing more complex is needed. The main difference in this updated version is real time movement rather than screen hops, which expedites puzzle solving and makes gameplay easier.
Since all action is essentially the same as the original, playing realMyst isn't even like watching a re-made classic movie. Despite the hype, there's little reason to buy the remake if you've completed the original. However, for first time Myst players, realMyst is the obvious choice due to the upgrade in graphics and real-time movement.
Myst and its upgrade, realMyst, is an adventure of the mind and not reflexes, requiring patience and thought. The newly enhanced graphics and sound, coupled with the new age, may be reason for some to revisit the land of Myst, but the overall effect is one of "been there, done that." Action fans should look elsewhere as analytical skills are needed more so than hand-eye coordination.
Graphics: Already a gorgeous game, the upgraded scenery is a huge improvement, with more vivid colors and higher resolution. Real-time movement allows total immersion in the environment. No toolbars or other screen obstructions get in the way -- it's just a beautiful view of a beautiful world.
Sound: The sound is greatly improved over the original, as this version has a musical theme, which adds even more to the mystery with great sound effects. From doors opening to buildings turning and clocks chiming, realMyst is not simply just a visual adventure anymore.
Enjoyment: Veterans of the game won't find anything substantially new or different in the storyline despite the new age, but newcomers will be enthralled with the mystery, looks and sound. The pace is slow and the puzzles are difficult, but it's a great challenge.
Replay Value: Once the puzzles and mystery are solved, not much reason to play again other than to experience the lush environments.
People who downloaded Real Myst have also downloaded:
Riven: The Sequel to Myst, Myst 3: Exile, Myst: Masterpiece Edition, Myst IV: Revelation, Myst V: End of Ages, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, 7th Guest, The, Phantasmagoria
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