Typically a review is begun by providing a brief explanation and introduction to the game, or game series. In this case, however, there is no need. If you have not heard of Myst, and don't know what the game play is like, I'd like to introduce you to the twenty-first century. Only someone who missed out on the latter half of the last century wouldn't know. Even non-gamers know enough about Myst to have a vague idea of what is going on.
Just in case, though, I suppose a brief introduction is in order. Myst, Riven, and now, Exile, are adventure games. Though a bit obsolete now, the original Myst was a groundbreaking game in many ways. It was one of the first ever applications ever released on CD-ROM, before most people had, or even knew about CD-ROM *.) With, at the time, astonishing pre-rendered graphics, an intriguing mysterious story line about two people inside books, and very strange places with odd puzzles and Jules Vernian devices Myst was an unforgettable, bizarre experience. Not bad for a game made in someone's basement. Riven, its successor took the genre a giant leap further. With 16 bit pre-rendered graphics and the most intricate detail, even these days, seen in computer graphics, it brought the story of this rather strange family into new depths. Finally Exile is out, though from a new developer, to carry on the tradition.
Do note that the screen shots shown here are from the official Exile website, myst3.com. I did this because most of the fun of a Myst game is the exploration, and seeing things for the first time. That said, if I were to go post a ton of the coolest shots of the game, it would very effectively ruin parts of the playing experience. The fewer shots that are around, the more interesting the game will be to play, so since you've probably already seen these before, you won't be missing anything. You do have my personal assurance, though, that these shots aren't a select few cool ones. The entire game looks that good, and there are even quite a few shots that I think are cooler than the ones they took for the official site.
I must confess that initially I was got going to review Myst III. The Myst series is pretty much my favoirite gaming series there is, and with games I like that much, I hate having to think of them critically. So, I bought the game (collector's edition, of course) and the moment I began to play, I found myself pointing out details and commenting on the puzzles. I suppose you just can't take the critic out of a reviewer. I found that there was very little to be critical of, and much to enjoy in it. So, now that it's all over, I suppose there's no harm in reviewing it. I just have to find a way to shake this Myst withdrawal...
*As a bit of an aside, while searching one day for something related to Myst 1, I managed to find a very old page on Salon about the parody to Myst, Pyst (featuring John Goodman.) In it the author rambled on about the doomed fate of adventure games like Myst, and how CD-ROM as a media is destined for failure, and is already showing signs of disappearing, beyond value line software. Myst III, comes on four CDs. <g>
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