1. Introduction

Myst V: End of Ages is the third part of the five-part saga to be produced entirely by Cyan, following Myst and Riven: The Sequel To Myst. Both Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation were produced by outsiders, Presto Studios and Ubisoft respectively. And then there is realMyst, also produced by Cyan: a realtime implementation of Myst, and in many ways the true precursor of Myst V: End of Ages. Cyan also released the spinoff Uru: Ages beyond Myst, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to play that yet, as it’s only available for Windows.

Both Myst and Riven: The Sequel To Myst use simple slideshow point-and-click environments and have basically distinct plots: although the plot of Riven: The Sequel To Myst follows on from where Myst left off, it barely touches upon that of the first game—namely, the betrayal of Atrus’s sons, Sirrus and Achenar. In contrast, both Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation use the betrayal as the centre of their own stories. In Myst III: Exile we have to confront its effects, embodied in the figure of Saavedro; and in Myst IV: Revelation we return (somewhat inconsistently with the first two games), to the Prison Ages in which the brothers were trapped at the end of Myst: we have to judge whether they have reformed or not, as well as learn more of the back story of the first game, and what was originally planned by the brothers, had they not been entrapped. All four games feature (increasingly) photorealistic point-and-click environments, the first two as slideshows and the second two as (almost) 360° locations.

realMyst and Myst V: End of Ages both reject photorealism in favour of realtime environments in which the player has access to every nook and cranny, and can indeed, should he or she choose, actually run through the entire game. Myst V: End of Ages in fact offers three options: a classic slideshow, something resembling the 360° locations of Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation, and true realtime.

Myst V: End of Ages also makes almost no reference to the story of the errant brothers, and Atrus takes no part in the game except for the voiceover of the introduction an a brief appearance during the (successful) conclusion of the game. All game interaction with people is fully animated rather than blue-screen film, except, I think, for the imager speeches of Yeesha we find in the Great Shaft. Thus the feel of the game is much closer to realMyst than to, say, Myst IV: Revelation. Indeed, at the end of the game, you may end up visiting a decaying Myst Island which looks like it was based on the realMyst rendition, strengthening the connection between the two games even more.

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