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Myst V: End of Ages Review
Myst V: End of Ages
by Ubisoft
 
Reviewer: Matt Eberle
Review Date: 09/30/2005

The Myst series makes a triumphant return in Myst V: End of Ages
8.4
Gameplay8
Graphics8
Sound9
DifficultyMed/High
Concept8
Overall8.4

The enchanting world of the Ages is brought back to life by the creative geniuses of Cyan Worlds and Ubisoft. Myst V is blessed with an interface that makes the learning curve wondrously easy. Like its predecessors, Myst V: End of Ages is a puzzle game; it is a challenge for players, but it is a trial that fans will enjoy. Combining lush graphics, smooth gameplay, and detailed sounds, the last chapter in the Myst saga is just as compelling as the first. Old fans of the series will have many more hours of gameplay to forge new memories and new players will enjoy it just as much. Just like the original, Myst V is raising the standards for graphics, sound, and story line in the puzzle genre.

 

The story begins as the player once again enters into the world of Ages. The hero’s old ally, Atrus, has finally moved beyond the Ages. He may be alive or dead, but he is beyond your reach. The Ages are once again spiraling out of control, and the player must decipher their secrets in order to restore the worlds’ balance. The story unfolds through a variety of means. When a player discovers a book, a journal fragment left behind by one of the previous explorers who dared to try and solve the puzzles of Myst, a voice-over track will play along with the printed words that are presented. Other times you will come face to face with the images of those who have gone before, who will give you information about the worlds you are traveling through. Players are given access to a journal, which contains the text of any verbal message they receive, and can keep the journal fragments in their inventory in case they need to re-read something again.

The world of Myst V will be very familiar to fans of the series. Navigation is done through a simple click-to-move system. Clicking around your avatar will cause you to walk forward, turn to your right or left, or manipulate objects. The system is very easy to use, so new players won’t find themselves struggling to maneuver around. Players will find themselves seeing familiar sights and settings, brought to life with the vivid graphics and beautiful sounds that Myst V can display. The graphics themselves are quite good, smooth and well rendered. Characters have full facial expression and lip-synch to their dialogue, which is impressive to watch. The “actors” in Myst V might be virtual images, but they have definite body language. Every gesture helps bring the characters to life.

 

The puzzles in Myst V span the range of trivial trials to major conundrums. Players won’t be able to solve the entire game in a single session. Myst V: End of Ages requires patience and ingenuity. Some of the puzzles are more time-consuming to solve than others, but each of them can be solved. Sometimes it is important to bear this in mind, along with the concept of keeping it simple. At times the least complicated solution is the right one. The puzzles come in many forms as well as many difficulties. There are logic puzzles, puzzles that must be completed in a set amount of time, and puzzles that challenge the player’s ability to solve three-dimensional mazes. Like its predecessors, Myst V is a journey of fun and excitement. The puzzles whet a player’s appetite for the additional tidbits of story, plot, and history that litter the game like precious gems hidden in a cluttered home.

Once you begin solving the puzzles and exploring the world of Myst V: End of Ages you will find yourself wrapped up in a surprisingly compelling story. The characters have a great deal of depth and the puzzles are like locks, preventing you from discovering more. Myst V can be very addictive in the “just another minute” sense. It’s a good idea to set aside time to play the game with a definite stopping point if you pull it out on a week night. Things like school or work can become minor concerns, which is a definite plus for fans of the puzzle-solving genre. Be warned that Myst V can become your world at times and enjoy!

Fans of the Myst series will definitely enjoy Myst V: End of Ages. It brings together all the hallmarks of the acclaimed series. A wonderful story, beautiful graphics, life-like sound quality, and of course the intricate puzzles make Myst V a gem for the genre. Given the ease of learning the interface new players can dive right in along side veterans of the previous titles. The puzzles can be challenging, and at times frustrating, but they are also fun to solve. Myst V is a game where players have to earn their advancement. It takes ingenuity and wit to navigate through the Ages and restore the worlds of Myst. If you are up for the challenge take a deep breath and step into the pages of history.

Review Scoring Details for Myst V: End of Ages

Gameplay: 8.0
The world of Myst V: End of Ages is very easy to navigate and enjoy. There is always something more to see or do as you progress through the game. The interface is very fluid and responsive, although the click-to-move system may take some getting used to for new players.

Graphics: 8.5
The visual world of Myst V is very well done, but it isn’t as exceptional as some of its predecessors. High quality graphics are becoming common in the video game industry. Myst V is very well done, but it doesn’t completely blow the competition out of the water.

Sound: 9.0
The voice-overs are exceptional and the background music is superb. Each Age has music of its own and distinctive sounds. It’s also fun to interact with the various items in the world. Everything has its own sound, from the quiet creak of rusted controls to the dull thump as your character walks across a wooden bridge.

Difficulty: Medium/High

Concept: 8.0
Myst V: End of Ages brings the series back to gamers. It keeps the solid foundations of the earlier Myst games and introduces some new twists. The use of Writing, the “magic” that created the Ages in the first place, to solve puzzles is just one of the interesting concepts from the last chapter in this great story.

Overall: 8.4
Myst V: End of Ages is a solid puzzle game that players of all ages can enjoy. It lacks action or gore, which will make it easier on parents, but is also very immersive. The beautiful graphics and excellent voice-over work help transport players into the Ages of Myst.


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