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Myst IV: Revelation

Score: 55%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Ubisoft Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Adventure/ Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Graphically, Myst IV: Revelation looks very, very nice. The combination of 2D panoramic stills and some 3D cut-scenes makes this title look great. However, the environments do have some variety. While most of the objects within are photo-realistic, there are occasional strays that somewhat detract from the overall experience. Still, it looks great.

The audio of the game also has a distinct difference. The background music can actually eventually drain on you, but it does sound very nice as well. The problem is that the music playing is much more clean and loud than that of the voice-overs.


Gameplay:

If youíre new to the Myst series, this isnít your typical game. Itís a game that lacks action, and is by all means, one of the most boring games of all time. So how can such a lemon sell so many copies and be in its fourth game of the franchise? Two words: Puzzle-Solving. If you donít like it, stay far, far away from Ubisoftís Myst IV: Revelation. But if youíre in for a challenge, then this may be your newest addiction.

The entire gameplay concept of the Myst franchise is based on still images and interacting with the environment. While youíre able to pivot the camera a full 360 degrees while playing Revelation, you wonít actually walk around freely. On-screen, you move a cursor around looking for hints to solve the next puzzle. You can perform actions on some objects like levers, buttons, and switches, but for the most part, you wander around the environment in limbo simply looking for clues.

As I perused the 2D environments, I often found myself moving the cursor all over the place, simply watching closely to notice it change into another icon that signifies an action can be performed. While some of the trigger areas of the panoramic views are obvious, many are not, and can go easily missed if youíre not careful. What this also meant is that I often moved the camera by accident, and it got very frustrating for me to have to constantly adjust my view until finally being able to position the cursor in the area originally intended.

Myst IV: Revelation wasnít all bad, however. Some of the cut-scenes are pretty cool. Youíll also happen upon real people that have been composited into the 2D world almost seamlessly. Unfortunately, these cut-scenes arenít able to be skipped, and some can get quite long. Because of this, I kept getting taken out of the game because I felt that saving often was necessary... not necessarily to protect my progress, but just to prevent having to sit through countless minutes of talking.


Difficulty:

Iíve always thought of myself as a very good problem-solver, but Myst IV: Revelation made me feel absolutely stupid. For a lot of the puzzles, I found myself wandering aimlessly, just trying to accidentally stumble upon a clue. Unfortunately, my game experience was altered many times because I had to cheat and use the on-board help system. Was it just me and my apparent empty-headedness, or was it because the puzzles are extremely vague? I like to think it was latter.

Game Mechanics:

Since the Myst franchise was originally developed with the PC audience in mind, navigating the interface with a console controller is a pain in the butt. Give me a mouse and keyboard any day for this type of game. No matter how fast or slow I set the cursor speed in the Settings menu, moving the icon too near the edge of the screen made the panoramic image screen almost uncontrollable. My frustration level skyrocketed because of this.

Myst IV: Revelation is a game targeted at a specific audience, and a specific audience only. Even though I love to trouble-shoot and problem-solve many things, navigating a shoddy (and buggy, as the title crashed in different spots) game interface while trying to solve overly-vague clues just didnít do it for me. Maybe the developers should take my hint: If your game requires a hint system to help solve puzzles, those puzzles need to be re-worked for the masses. If youíre a fan of the series, Iím sure youíll enjoy Revelation. Even at $20, this game may disappoint all but the hardcore fans.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

Microsoft Xbox Fight Night: Round 2 Sony PlayStation 2 Obscure

 
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