Sure, Myst looked nice and I'll credit it for being a fairly original gaming experience, but it lacked substance and made up for it with beautiful artwork. The puzzles were extremely vague, seemingly impossible, even with a walk through or a strategy guide. What little hints the game presented were so obscure that even people with the sharpest sense of observation could miss them. Also, movement was very disorienting because of the click to jump to a new screen location. Sometimes where you jumped to didn't resemble where you thouht you were going and proved to be very frustrating. Needless to say, my expectations of the sequel Riven were pretty low. After playing Riven, it isn't as disappointing as expected, though it still isn't great.
The game plays almost exactly like Myst. There's no 360 degree movement, like 3D shooters, or screen movement like The 7th Guest. You point and click your way with the mouse and you hop from screen to screen. This really isn't any different which is a bad thing, but it works slightly better than Myst. In Riven, screen advances are taken in much smaller steps, meaning that it might take 3 or 4 clicks to travel the length of a hall, whereas Myst would take you to the end of the hall in one click. The new way is much better because you tend to not get disoriented and ask the computer monitor where the heck you are. Also, screen transitions are much smoother and quicker than in Myst. It would have been nice if Riven took place in a 3D world, rather than computer artwork backdrops and screens. But the artwork, it should be mentioned, is absolutely gorgeous. Some of the locations you visit are simply jaw dropping. Congratulations to the guys at Cyan!
One thing Cyan should be faulted for is the puzzles. Much like Myst, the puzzles in Riven usually offer no explanations or any hints as to why you need to do them and what it will do. Most of them are extremely vague and illogical which leads to a very frustrating experience. And again, getting through some of the puzzles with a strategy guide proved futile. The puzzles really hurt this game. It is difficult to understand why the Cyan developers feel the need to make these complex puzzles that completely bewilder most gamers and offer no thoughtful solutions. And this is coming from someone who likes puzzle games.
Riven is really for Myst fans only. Though it is better than it's predecessor, non-fans will probably find no redeeming value or enjoyment from the sequel.
Graphics: The artwork in Riven is absolutely gorgeous. It really makes you feel like you're in the world. The FMV sequences are nicely done as well.
Sound: There really isn't too much sound in this game, only featuring ambient effects. The ambient sounds are wonderful and really pull you into the game.
Enjoyment: Unfortunately, the puzzles are extremely difficult and at times seem impossible or illogical. There are rarely any clues given or any explanation of what the puzzle you're trying to solve does or why you're doing it. This really interferes with the enjoyment of the game.
Replay Value: If you ever finish this game there wouldn't be any reason to return to Riven.
People who downloaded Riven: The Sequel to Myst have also downloaded:
Myst 3: Exile, Myst IV: Revelation, Myst: Masterpiece Edition, Real Myst, Myst V: End of Ages, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, 7th Guest, The, Uru: The Path of the Shell
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