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September 10, 2004
Myst III Exile - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
26/9/2002UbiSoftPresto Studios1M15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Some of the lush visuals.
One thing you'll need to understand before placing this disc into your console, this is not a first-person shooter, nor does it even register on the action scale at all. This game is designed for those with patience enough to sit through several gruelling hours of constant puzzle-solving and intense mindstraining. This is merely a gorgeous masterpiece spectacle of a video game, designed for the strong-minded individuals out there seeking a legitimate challenge from a console game. And if choose to play this title, you'll get just that, and then some.

Now obviously, the Myst series is known simply because of it's impressive success throughout the world of computer gaming, winning numerous awards, including best seller PC game. And although Myst, and it's sequel Riven were both available for the PlayStation, unfortunately, Myst III: Exile has only been released onto the Xbox, PC, and of course, the PlayStation 2.

As the adventure begins, Catherine greets you with her new-born child, and then introduces you to Atrus' study. After she leaves you for a short minute, or two, Atrus then emerges in the doorway, greeting you, and he then continues to thank you again for your help in Riven. And obviously, if you haven't played Riven, you would not have the slighest clue what I'm rambling on about, but anyway, Atrus is the main character, and Catherine is his wife, whom you had to rescue from Riven.

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An interior location.
And this is where now the main plot is explained, as Atrus informs you that he has now written another age (much like Riven), although this time around he has corrected the mistakes he had made in writing Riven. This time around, the age has been written for the D'ni. The D'ni are a native population that Atrus and Catherine have devoted their lives to helping. As you'll then find out, Atrus gave them a place to live in Riven, but obviously, Riven fell into decay and chaos, leaving Atrus feeling horrible guilt. And now to get to this newly written age, you and Atrus must link to it, using a linking book.

What happens next will leave you with your jaw on your toes, but I'll leave that for you to find out, as numerous disasterous circumstances arise, and you then arrive into the new age in the most shocking circumstances. And now without Atrus, you can freely roam this world and solve it's many puzzles and gaze at it's natural beauty. It's definitely an artform.

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An airship?
As far as gameplay goes, you are simply to explore the vast and glorious world. You have your analouge sticks, and your control pad, as you must simply freely roam the land and follow your cursor (which changes at different situations). The game is also USB mouse compatible so gamers have the option of using their mouse to control the search around the civilizations. Obviously the shape buttons (circle, square, triangle and cross) are used, but only for selecting things and searching into your inventory, simply, you spent more time scaling the area than doing any of those things. But luckily, it's all balanced out so you enjoy yourself trying to solve the overly difficult puzzles. And I do mean difficult.

Luckily this game really suffers from no really noticable flaws, so overly it's a solid effort from Presto Studios (respectful developers) to assure that the experience isn't tainted by minor glitches that could have easily been avoided. And for that obvious effort, I say well done, because you've created a masterpiece, to put it simply.

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Looking outside.
Graphically, Myst III is a work of absolute art, and even by glancing at the cover art, it's easy to tell that the graphics crew on this project worked to their absolute limits to create an experience that was so realistically portrayed, yet still felt like a fantasy, and they have succeeded easily to make it a visually satisfying journey, and I applaud the efforts shown on paper, by Presto Studios.

The age is designed to an immaculately high standard, and even though the game is two years old, graphically, it is certainly one of the games that still leaps out at me with it's gorgeous textures and amazing fluid animation. Even some games that have recently been released, have failed to meet the standards set by Myst III, which for them is disappointing, but for the graphics artists on this game, it really shows how far their efforts have taken this game to it's accolades. It's simply beautiful.

And the character models, looking overly life-like, for some strange reason, have been planted into the lush scenery almost perfectly, and they move with gorgeous animation that even makes me wonder how this game hasn't made a best-seller, due to it's for some reason incredibly poor review scoring across several other publications, which is puzzling.

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Check out the table.
And did anyone mention 'a splendid orchestral score'? Oh, thought not. You may notice while you're travelling across the age that you're accompanied by a stunning score that would make even the strongest at heart weep, especially if you're in a tough spot and all hope is lost. But that is only one of the many pluses for the sound department, this game also includes some of the finest voice acting seen on a console, only matched recently by the cinematic cutscenes of Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon, but nonetheless, the talent on the cast sets the tone for the entire game, it's very impressive the amount of voice talent on the list, aswell.

Despite what other websites may claim, I found Myst III: Exile to be a challenge of the strong minded, and those willing to step up and tackle this phenomenal masterpiece of video game history deserves applause. And overly, I'm rather impressed by the underrated efforts put forth by Presto Studios on this title, and they have done a sensational job in making an undisputedly puzzling, simply beautiful adventure that questions logic and goes where several games dare to even tread.

Review By: Brodie Gibbons

GRAPHICSAs mentioned, simply stunning backdrops create the illusion, and all that is left for you to do is dream. The character models are incredible, and the animations are as fluid and I've seen in any video game, yet. Very brave effort by Presto Studios to design such a gorgeous piece of art. And that's being absolutely serious!
SOUNDFrom the orchestral score to the pleasing and soothing voice acting, this game has everything needed in the sound department to keep anybody satisified. But if anyone manages to notice anything, they're being fussy, extremely fussy.
GAMEPLAYAlthough strangely addictive, this game is incredibly difficult, and gamers are often forced to reach for the game guide, which can be worrying. How smart do they think we are? But aside from that, and a few minor mishaps with the camera angles, this game sticks to it's roots, as it takes the name of Myst and Riven and builds, in the best way possible.
VALUEHmm, once you finish this game, I cannot see you wanting to try it again, unless you're bored and have about a week off school, or work. Because this is no five minute walk in the part, but you'll definitely get a run for your money, but the question remains, how many runs will you choose to go on? Personally, one is easily enough for me to handle.
OVERALLWhat more can be said that hasn't already? Myst III: Exile is a exploration centred puzzle, that has been built to challenge those willing enough to attempt it's very difficult mind-bending puzzles. And as a whole, it's been an extremely solid effort from Presto Studios to have created what I can only sum up as a 'beautiful epic masterpiece', and I applaud their effort.

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