Myst IV Revelation


by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 80/100

Myst IV - Revelation review
Published By: Ubisoft / Focus Multimedia
Developed By: Ubisoft
Format Reviewed: PC
Review by: Wencke Schuncken

Are you an adventurous type of gamer with a master puzzle solving mind, has lots of patient while exploring beautiful environments and isn’t going to turn its back for a point and click game? Then you may have come to the perfect review as Myst IV: Revelation is the game we’re talking about! Not that I’m a genius in solving difficult puzzles or have a lot of patience but the urge to keep on playing was mainly based on the story, the environments and the atmosphere. But note, I’m wearing a wig now as I’ve pulled many hairs out during my adventure and I had to go to the drugstore to get headache medicines as it sometimes really was frustrating to find solutions to the mind breaking puzzles.

First some background information as Myst goes ten thousand years back in time when the D’ni civilization were alive below the earth. They controlled the surrealistic technology to write and create fantasy worlds, also known as Ages. Through “linking books” they could travel to these worlds. These books are the basis for the Myst games. Atrus is the main writer of these books and therefore the leading character. Myst can be seen as a family drama about Atrus, his wife Catherine and their mean sons Sirrus and Achenar. Each game reveals a little about the family mystery and in Myst IV a new family member is added; the young and naive little sister called Yeesha who wants nothing more than to reunite the family. Of course she has no idea how mean her brothers are.

 Myst IV - Revelation Review

Story
Atrus has called for your help as he needs an objective opinion from someone as there’s a disagreement between him and his wife. Atrus has banned his sons after he found out that they had done some devastating activities in the created worlds which could not be forgiven, in his opinion. Atrus created two new worlds called Spire and Haven and tossed his two sons in them. He made sure that the books were destroyed after banning the sons and now they’re trapped in Spire and Haven as prisoners. Twenty years later after this event, Catherina is thinking (hoping) that her two sons had learned their lesson and have been reformed to decent men. Atrus and Catherina began to look for ways to see how their sons are doing and to find out what they were up to. Catherina wants to set Sirrus and Achenar free, releasing them out of their worlds but Atrus isn’t convinced that they are reformed to good men and wants an objective opinion from someone who is able to talk to the men first before releasing them. You’re going to counsel in the different family members opinions and try to reunite them. Yeesha, the young daughter seems to play a big part in that possible reunion.

 Myst IV - Revelation Review

Gameplay / Controlling
Myst is a point and click adventure, totally controllable by mouse only and in first-person mode. This creates a full view of the worlds you’re playing in and can explore almost anything. A small hand which reminded me of “thing”, the hand in the Addams Family is your control point during the game. You control the hand by your mouse and it can knock on items, opens drawers, pushes switches on/off, turns book pages, moves you to a new area, etc. All of these activities are needed to experience the adventure and solving the puzzles. In the beginning of the game you’re going to meet Yeesha and Atrus and in no time you’ll need to solve a puzzle; calibrate the sound to activate the camera’s to get a view of Spire and Haven. Suddenly the power is down and Atrus is leaving you alone to find a solution for the power supply. You’ll get an assignment but are left alone and can explore the beautifully styled environment to find clues, not only for your assignment but also to learn about the family history. The main part of the game though is solving the puzzles / assignments otherwise you’ll never make it to the “prison worlds” or even finish the game of course! The puzzles are quite difficult in my opinion. To solve them, clues can be found in books or items needs to be found or need to be activated. But you’ll need a clear head and patience to solve the puzzles. Some clues are spread around different areas and actions need to be done in a certain order to complete.

 Myst IV - Revelation Review

Graphics
Let me tell you one thing about Myst’ graphics: Outstanding! As soon as the game started it was like watching a movie. You’ll meet Yeesha who’s part is played by a young actress in person! Actually each character is played by an actor. This combined with heavenly environments you’ll start wondering if this is going to be the future of gaming, the new standard of graphics for all games. It a marvellous theatrical experience and although it seems 3D don’t be mistaken. It’s actually a 2D game and you’ll click from one picture to another one. Of course it’s animated and things are moving around such as animals, flashing lights and water flooding. This gives you the impression that it’s 3D, but it’s not. During the game you’ll find a necklace which can visualise memories. The necklace starts to blink with certain items and if you press on the necklace in your inventory menu at the bottom of the screen, a short animation will be shown to give more information regarding previous happenings. These animations contribute to a great atmosphere and background information. Also a magnifying glass can be used to get a closer look at certain items such as a book, you’ll be able to read these as well. Another contribution to understand what has happened in the past and to find clues to solve puzzles in the present time. Myst also included a camera in your inventory, not only to snap beautiful pictures of the brilliant styled environments, but also to remind you of the codes or map of a world. Always handy! Note that each world is typically styled. Haven for example is a colourful jungle with bizarre reptiles and different kind of flora and Spire is more industrial and grey, full with crystals, electricity cables and dark rocks.

 Myst IV - Revelation Review

Sound
If there’s one factor important for chilling out, it’s the background music. Really relaxing and suitable fitted to the beautiful environments. Although you’re on a quest and trying to find solutions for your puzzles you’ll constantly hear chill-out music in the background. The sound effects are brilliant and very good. When you touch the water in barrel, you’ll hear the water. If you read a book and turn the pages, you’ll hear the paper crisp. If you’re on a ship and release the sail, you’ll hear it move while the wind is blowing into it. And I could go on and on, but at this point you’ll understand that the sound effects are very good and accurate chosen. The characters of course make sure to play their part correctly and talk to you. If you’ve chosen to play the game in another language than English, you’ll still hear the English language but it’s subtitled in the chosen language. I cannot recommend this game for gamers with a hearing disability as there are sound puzzles to solve and often you’ll get assignments stated by the characters.

Female Point of View
In this game there is only one important female character presented; Yeesha, Catherina’s and Atrus’ daughter. Yeesha plays an important role in her first Myst game and you’re going to meet her as soon as the game starts as she travels with you in a air-tram to meet Atrus. She’s ten year old and quite mature for her age. Her father taught her a lot about D’ni and their special alphabet to write books. She’s very intelligent, intuitive, compassionate, responsible and respectful of others. The most important character skills are her concern for her family and the desire to unite them, if possible. Almost the perfect child, wouldn’t you agree? Besides Yeesha there are more female characters to lead you through the game and give helpful hints to solve the puzzles.

 Myst IV - Revelation Review

Conclusion:
If there’s one adventurous puzzle point & click game which is state of the art with a great mysterious story, Myst is it. I’ve never experienced such a brilliantly styled and designed game which gives me the idea of freedom, to explore the fantasy worlds as a tourist. But that isn’t quite true as you need to solve some difficult puzzles before you can proceed exploring the different kind of environments and meeting all kinds of species and characters. Although the puzzles can be difficult and the clues cryptic, you can always get some advise by using a help function to prevent getting frustrated, ripping your hair out or getting a headache. A big plus is that real actors are involved and represent the characters. It’s like watching a movie with all of the animations included. Myst IV: Revelation is a visual pleasure to experience, a teaser for the brain combined with some lovely background music and sound effects. A great sequel in the Myst game series, suitable for the beginning or experienced adventurer.