Brass Lantern
the adventure game web site


Myst III: Exile Review

by Stephen Granade

This is Myst.

To be more specific, this is Myst III: Exile. But still it is Myst, and most of you know what that means. Beautiful graphics. Nice sounds and music. Empty worlds with mechanisms to frob and books to read.

Need I say more? Perhaps not, but I will, going on at some length. I suppose there are people who are simultaneously interested in a Myst game and have a very short attention span. For those people: This game is like Myst. It was designed by Presto Studios, not Cyan and the Brothers Miller. Its gameplay and puzzles are very similar to those in Myst and Riven. Did you like the first two games? You'll probably like this one. Hated the former ones? Myst III won't change your mind.

But the devil is in the details, as I will attempt to explain.

The plot, such as it is: you pay a visit to Atrus and Catherine, some time after Riven. He's hard at work on Releeshahn, a new Age for the D'ni. (I assume there's more backstory than this, but that it lies tucked away in Myst books and movies and comics and radio dramas rather than the two other games I have played.) He wants you to see it, but before he can take you there, a man appears, grabs the Releeshahn book, and pouf! vanishes through a linking book.

The linking book doesn't go with him, since that's not how linking books work. This gives you a chance to follow him. And you do, of course, thus landing in a world named J'nanin. It turns out that J'nanin is the hub for three teaching worlds, worlds which Atrus put together to help his two sons learn the techniques necessary to write Ages.

(Remember the reason for these worlds. I'll come back to it in a bit.)

Gameplay is as in prior games, with the addition of panning. If the cursor is an open hand, you can interact with something; click to do so. If the cursor is a pointing hand...well, perhaps you can move forward and perhaps you can't. Some three years ago, in my review of Riven, I complained about the game not telling me where I could walk. Myst III does the same, or rather doesn't do in the same way as -- well, you understand. No puzzle hinges on this "feature", and in fact most of the times I was stuck on something, it was because I failed to notice a nearly-hidden passageway or path. And that was exacerbated by how good the game looked.

Need I say that the game looks good? No, that praise is too faint: it looks spectacular. In my Riven review I talked about how good stone looked. That goes double for Myst III. I kept staring at the screen, reaching out with my fingers to try to feel the various textures of wood, stone, metal.

Next | 1 | 2

About Us | Contact Us | Technical Info | History
Copyright © 1997-2010, Stephen Granade.