reviews\ Oct 16, 2002 at 8:00 pm

Myst III: Exile - PS2 - Review

In the early Ninety's one of the most popular game genre for the PC was adventure-point and click games. One of the most predominate games was the infamous Myst series. The thing that drew people to these games was the fact that they had breathtaking backgrounds/graphics that were being produced on such a low end PC, even for those days. Besides the gorgeous graphics, the games always had a story that pulls gamers into the game; it was no surprise that these types of games were extremely popular.

The story for Myst III: Exile is as follows: Ten years has past since the events of the previous game. Saavedro has been concealing himself within the Atrus's Ages, waiting for a chance to take revenge up on Atrus and anyone closely related to him. Atrus has finally reestablished contact with the D'ni race, and this acts gives Saavedro the chance he has been waiting for. The D'ni people have special knowledge that gives them the power to writing magical books that links different worlds all throughout Myst. Atrus wishes to see this civilization resorted to its former glory. During this time, Saavedro escapes, steals one of the Ages, and begins his plans for revenge! Players now have the responsibility for tracking down the malicious Saavedro through five different Ages, solving puzzles to prevent the end of the universe!

The Myst games have been made for the PC, but the interface has always had the look of a console game. The game is set in a first person view, where players interact with the static environments. Players use the left analog stick to see everything around them. The X button is the primary button to interact with those environments. Triangle will let players go in and out of the different menus, the interface, and inventory screens. O will lock and unlock the curser. The L1 button will decrease the speed of the analog stick, and the R1 button will increase the analog stick speed. Start and Select will be used to get in to and exit the inventory. If players prefer they will be able to use a mouse. The left click will be used for selection of things. Right click is used to lock/unlock the hand cursor.

What is becoming a more common, and is a pleasant bonus, on games these days is "DVD like extras." Myst III contains a quiz that will test your knowledge of the Myst world. The original game trailer, so players will know what it looked like when the game was first unveiled. The last bonus is the "making of Myst III: Exile for the PlayStation 2." This is really interesting to see the process they went through to convert it from the PC to the PlayStation 2.

Another additional bonus is the inclusion of the Prima Strategy Guide, in the instruction manual. When I opened up the game, I thought that the instruction booklet was really large in comparison to other games, but once I opened it I knew why. This guide will help players through the game when they are stuck. It gives little hints to help the player figure it out, without giving the direct answer.

Myst III: Exile is rated E for Everyone and will take 315kb on your memory card.

Gameplay: 4.9
The gameplay is plain boring! The whole game you just click things to see if you can interact with them. That was fun in the early Ninety's on my 486 IBM computer, but on the PlayStation 2, it is not fun at all! In fact it is becomes really tedious within the first few minutes of the game. Let me sum up the entire game in just a few short words: find something, click it, examine, go to next screen, and repeat. It is a little more robust than that, but that description pretty much sums it up.

Graphics: 7.2
Myst III: Exile looks gorgeous! The pre-rendered backgrounds of the mountains, oceans, and many other locations are simply stunning. This is what the games' main focal points are, and it definitely shows. The thing that hurts the game is the camera. Since players have full 360-degree movement, when they look around it tends to create a lot of slowdown trying to look at the next place. This is simply unacceptable since it is supposed to be the graphics that are suppose to save such an antiquated gameplay! Also the load times are a killer. When players move to the next "card" (meaning moving forward or backwards) the game takes a second or so to load. Imagine trying to get from one place to another like this. It takes a long time and becomes extremely annoying!

Sound: 7.0
The sound used is phenomenal and fits perfectly with this game. It brings players into the game and makes them feel like they are really there. The music changes according to the circumstances the players are in, which is a nice change of pace from other games. Why this category gets a lower rating is the voice acting. The acting is not bad, but players cannot hear what is being said. At times I had my TV volume nearly all the way just trying to figure out what the characters were talking about! This is not acceptable for this type of game, which requires this type of interaction frequently.

Difficulty: Easy
The puzzles provide a moderate challenge to the players, but with the inclusion of the strategy guide, it is nothing that the novice players cannot handle.

Concept: 4.5
I am sorry to say, but this type of game should have died out with the invention of the Pentium. From the minute the gamer is thrust into the world of Myst they will be trying to take complete control of their character, such as free movement. They will soon find out that it is not like that, players have to point the "hand" and hit the x button to even move around. It was fun on the computer some ten years ago, but on a console as powerful as the PS2 it is not a needed genre.

Overall: 5.2
Even though the game reminded me of playing PC games when I was younger, I cannot in good conscience recommend this game to anyone. This is not the type of game a console gamer will want to sit through and play to the end, the story might be compelling, but players will not want to actually find out what it is with the antiquated type of gameplay. It is sad to see that a game of this caliber has not made the jump into this generation of gameplay, because with a story as intriguing as this, in a full 3D game, the developers might have a sure fire hit on their hands!


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