7: Summing Up

I don’t mean to say that Myst V: End of Ages is a bad game; it isn’t. There are many worthwhile aspects to it. The 3D graphics are good, and just like realMyst, I think it’s a game that has been designed with the future in mind—on your average computer today, you won’t see everything that the game is capable of, but in, say, three years, your average computer will be able to handle the demands, and those of us without high-end computers now will be better able to appreciate the work that went into the graphics on the game. It will, for the next couple of years, grow with computers, rather than being left behind by them, which is a good thing.

The CG character animation is also very good, if a bit jumpy at times, and when it works it is deeply impressive, particularly the work on the eyes. Again, I’m looking forward to re-playing the game again in a few years’ time.

It is also very sensible of the demands of players, allowing simple slideshow play, 360° location play, and full realtime, and it is easy to switch between these via keyboard shortcuts (1,2, and 3 respectively), thus allowing you to adjust your style of movement according to what you are trying to achieve at any given time. I’ve never seen such flexibility in a 3D game.

And of course, it allows all of us Myst-fans the opportunity to revisit our favourite alternative realities one more time, something never to be sneezed at.

But overall, I still feel underwhelmed. Not frustrated, as I felt at the end of Myst IV: Revelation, having been riled by the horribly twee women of Serenia, and, after apparently having completed the game, being forced to return to the intensely annoying spirit world (which even Peter Gabriel’s awesome voice could not make palatable) in order to complete one more bloody stupid task—no, on the completion of Myst V: End of Ages, I didn’t feel that kind of frustration. But I do feel disappointed that it wasn’t as good as it could have been; that Cyan’s first foray, since Riven: The Sequel To Myst, into the franchise proper comes nowhere close to being as good as its other two offerings, nor even the two interim games by other companies, but made with Cyan’s blessing.

The innovations it brings to the series are a mixed bag: Slates, ultimately detrimental to gameplay; character animation and interaction, good; realtime 3D, not really an innovation, given its use in realMyst.

As I said way back at the start, some 6000 words ago, my advice to buyers would be to try and get hold of one of the other games first. Though graphically impressive, Myst V: End of Ages isn’t as breathtaking as Myst IV: Revelation; and if it’s realtime 3D you want, realMyst is a far better game, as well as being true to the story, plot and idea of the absolute classic which is Myst.

Overall impressions of the Ages:
- K’veer: nice to finally explore a little, but nothing to interact with
- the Great Shaft: not difficult enough, with access to the other Ages too streamlined
- Direbo: the Most Forgettable Age ever
- Tahgira: the Lamest (and Most Counterintuitive) Age ever
- Todelmer: my favourite Age in the game
- Noloben: the Simplest Age ever
- Laki’ahn: good Age/puzzle integration, but too blatant in its message
- Myst Island: interesting to revisit in its woeful dilapidation
- Releeshahn: nice epilogue sequence

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7: Summing Up