Review by DarthMarth
"An excellent, if sedate game that lives up to the Myst series name."
Myst III is, obviously, the third title in the exceedingly popular Myst series. It emphasizes andventure, discovery, and puzzle-solving over fighting, agility, and skill. In fact, the game has virtually no real-time action at all. Even if you haven't played the original Myst or Riven before, Myst III still may appeal to you if you are a fan of RPGs and adventure.
To make up for its lack of real time action, Myst II has quite possibly the best graphics of any game, on any system. They are literally photorealistic, real enough so that the real actors who play the characters do not stand out at all. The amazing graphics make it easy to lose yourself in Myst III's world. The only problem is that the graphics can sometimes become too real; it is sometimes hard to see where you can go next, especially in the Nature Age.
Besides the lack of real-time action, the story is another element of Myst III that should appeal to RPG fans. The story is extremely complex and layered, but is also quite hidden, seducing you to try to explore and learn more. You start the game in Tomanha, the beautifal home of Atrus and his wife Catherine. For those who have never played a Myst game before, the story usually revolves around exploring worlds created by Atrus or his evil father, Gehn. They have the ability to create worlds within books. Tomanha was created by Atrus as a resting place and home. Atrus has toiled for a long time creating a new world for a people made homeless by a cataclysm, the D'ni. This new world is called Releeshahn. He is just about to let you check out this new world for yourself when a wild, ragged man appears in Atrus' study by ''linking'' (using a book to transport from one world to another) and steals the Releeshahn book! This man is Saavedro, who has been exiled to one of Atrus' first worlds for 20 years and built up extreme hatred for him. What does he have against Atrus? You'll have to play the game to see!
Myst III's controls are some of the simplest you'll find. Simply click in a direction to walk that way. That's it to manipulate something, click on it. To look more closely at something, click on it. Myst III also adds a new feature; free look. You can look around at anything in the gorgeous world around you. The actual game contains quite a few puzzles, so you'll have to have your wits about you to solve them. Most of the time, exploration provides the answers to the puzzles if you look hard.
Myst III's sound effects are also quite good. There are effects for about everything in the game, from a rusty lever turning to escaping hot air to the chirpings of the adorable Squee. Combined with the game's photorealistic graphics, it becomes easy to lose yourself in Myst III.
Myst III's music is very fitting of its sedate, adventuring theme. The music is unobtrusive but good. You just might find yourself turning up the sound to hear it. By far overshadowing the in-game music, however, is the awesome main theme song. If you are like me, you'll find yourself starting game after game to listen to it again and again. Fortunately, the Collector's Edition comes with a soundtrack so you can hear the game's great music again and again.
Unfortunately, Myst III loses much of its replay value after the first time you play it; you will know the answers to the puzzles, the main storyline, and where to go. It will take a long time to forget everything and be able to start over again. Still, you may find yourself playing Myst III again even after beating it.
Buy/Rent: Probably buy
Unless you are a fan of fast-paced games that test reflexes and fighting skill, you should definitely consider buying Myst III. And if you do buy it, remember two things. Firstly, get the Collector's Edition if you can. It contains a number of extra goodies besides the game. And secondly, try to find it on sale, so you can get it for half price like me. Or at least get a small discount.
To sum it up, Myst III is a compelling but sedate game that especially appeals to fans of RPGs and non-real-time game. It would probably not be a good idea if you are a fan of fast-paced games.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 01/31/03, Updated 01/31/03
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