Myst: Masterpiece Edition


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Rating: 4.8/5 (74 votes)
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Myst: Masterpiece Edition

JohnBIt isn't a new game by any means, but Myst has enthralled gamers for almost two decades. The remade Myst: Masterpiece Edition continues that tradition with better visuals and a remastered musical score. Originally released as an early CD-ROM game, Myst has since been ported to more than a dozen different gaming platforms, most recently receiving an iOS version for iPhone and iPod Touch owners to enjoy. Myst is a point-and-click adventure that takes place through a series of still scenes as you journey through a (mostly) uninhabited land of steam-powered machines and mysterious contraptions that fuel unknown devices. As you poke your nose around every corner and through every door, you eventually discover more of the plot and backstory, doubling the intrigue and drawing you ever deeper into the world that is Myst.

Myst: Masterpiece EditionThroughout the main island of Myst you, as an unnamed stranger, will come across several books that somehow transport you to different worlds (ages). Traveling to these places drops you in new environments with their own set of contraptions to discover, locations to explore, and puzzles to solve. You'll also discover a red and blue book housed in the library on the main island. Investigating these produces very little information at first, but perhaps if you recover the red and blue pages from other ages, something interesting might occur?

Myst is entirely mouse-driven. To move from area to area, move the cursor to the edge of the screen or just click where you want to go. Cursor changes will indicate when you can travel to different places or interact with objects. You never know what will happen when you click on something, either, which is part of the charm of the game.

Analysis: Myst is a quiet, slow game of exploration and endless mystery. Each area you walk through is filled with things to look at, each one adding another question mark in the grand scheme of things. What's that lever there for? Why doesn't it make a sound when I switch it? Where do those stones lead? Is there anything over this hill? It's no accident Myst has been hailed as one of the greatest point-and-click games of all time, even so many years after its initial release.

Myst: Masterpiece EditionThere are very few words that describe Myst better than "epic". The story is epic, the puzzles are epic, the setting is epic, the music is epic, and the sense of wonder is beyond epic. Very little language is used to tell the story, allowing you to roam the islands with only the thoughts in your head to keep you company. Most puzzles use symbols you have to decipher as opposed to letters or numbers, so even if you're a seasoned point-and-click gamer, Myst won't seem all that run-of-the-mill to you.

Drawbacks? Apart from its increasing age (which isn't as much of a problem as most 20 year old games), there is very little to find fault with Myst. The series isn't without its anti-fans, though, and the most widely-cited criticism is the game is little more than an interactive slideshow. While Myst may not be as interactive as most modern games, it isn't trying to interact with your reflexes or your mouse, it's interacting with your brain. Thinking about things you've seen while wandering the island is important to solving the puzzles, so if you aren't thinking, you aren't playing. And if you aren't playing, you might as well be watching your aunt's vacation slides from Maui.

There are a number of "modernized" versions of Myst available, the most notable being realMYST and Myst: Masterpiece Edition. The former turns Myst into a free-roaming 3D experience, while the latter is a graphical overhaul that improves the look and feel of the game without changing the core experience. And let's not forget the four sequels, especially the amazing Riven.

So many years after its initial release, Myst still looks good and plays well, even to our "high graphics budget"-spoiled eyes. If the content of a game is more important to you than anything else, Myst is practically the unsurpassable goal all other games strive to equal.

Note: This review is for Myst: Masterpiece Edition, a 2000 update from the original with identical gameplay but with digitally remastered music, visuals re-rendered in 24-bit truecolor, and some redone cinemas.

WindowsWindows:
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.

19 Comments

Nothing compares to that first time playing through this game.

NOTHING.

Just like with Final Fantasy 7 or the Lord of the Rings movies, I'd give up quite a bit to feel the way I did the first time I experienced this stuff.

Maybe once I start getting paid again I'll download this, for nostalgia's sake, and hope that I forget the solutions and more importantly how everything works, so that I can rediscover it.

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Best... game... EVER. For those who can't get enough of Myst, try the 4 sequels (Riven, Exile, Revelation, and End of Ages). And if that isn't enough, try Myst Online: Uru Live, the MMO version of the Uru games. It's free and on it's way to becoming open source.

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Myst shares a characteristic of Deus Ex, in that every time it gets mentioned somewhere, someone is prompted to reinstall it.

I've gone through great pains to keep my copies of the Myst series (the only one I'm lacking is Revelation, and it's hideously expensive on Amazon right now). They're possibly the only games in my collection that, even though I've beaten them, I still go back and replay.

While the version of Myst mentioned above is good, I happen to prefer RealMyst myself, because the full 3D treatment makes navigation significantly easier. It also has the benefit of an additional Age to poke around in once the main story is finished, something with a stronger tie-in to Riven.

I'd also highly recommend looking up the online version of MOUL (or, if you prefer, Myst Online: Uru Live). It's got all the same stuff as the retail version, with the added benefit of being able to meet other people in the ages, AND they sometimes throw in little changes to puzzle over.

RealMyst and Riven are both available on Steam for a pittance; I think they're about $6 each. So for the first one, it just depends on which flavor you want -- GOG is getting to be just as good as Steam, so it's a win either way.

To give you an idea of how good these are, the original Myst was selling at retail stores for full price over ten years after release. I don't think any other computer game can claim to have avoided the 'bargain bin' that long.

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Interesting tidbit, Myst was the best-selling PC game of all time until The Sims was released. If you like Myst, I would also recommend The Journeyman Project series.

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Oh, the Journeyman Project. I still fondly remember Buried in Time... one of the best adventure games I've played

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steelstrings Author Profile Page January 9, 2011 3:31 PM

I wished they'd make more..Always loved the experience...Nothing beats the original Myst games...

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The Myst games are some of my favorites of all time, in a genre that's sadly neglected. If you like Myst, I highly recommend the Syberia games, which are also very atmospheric, and feature some great characters.

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Ah, the good old days when adventure games didn't have Hint or Skip buttons. Wait a minute, I think I'm nearly bald because of that.
The first playing of the original Myst was like no other gaming experience before or since. The level of intrigue was mind-boggling.
And Buried In Time was hands-down the funniest game I ever played.

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"Not available for Mac?" I got the game on CD ten years or so ago, for the Mac.

[This review is for the Masterpiece Edition available through Good Old Games (GOG.com), which does not have a Mac version available. -Jay]

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crimsonthread Author Profile Page January 9, 2011 10:45 PM

For those who may be interested, there is a trilogy of Myst novels, as well. They kind of give a background for the games, and I would highly recommend them for any diehard fans. :)

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crimsonthread Author Profile Page January 9, 2011 10:46 PM

Meant to include a link for the books: http://www.amazon.com/Myst-Reader-Rand-Miller/dp/1401307817

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Oh Myst, what a beautiful experience. I enjoyed RealMyst - watching night fall was breathtaking - but the graphics aren't totally up to snuff, and the bonus world was not terribly challenging to find nor was there much to do when you found it.

The "interactive slideshow" comment may have to do with the fact that Myst was designed with Hypercard, a very cool old Mac program that was very much like building websites (hot buttons, linking one "card" to another) before the internet exploded. In any case the puzzle-solving was quite involved for a "slideshow" which happens to have such beautifully designed graphics that they still hold up all this time later.

I believe Riven actually improved upon Myst - it was more immersive, more stunning, and a LOT more difficult. Exile was at least as good as Riven - its navigation system improved, the storyline is excellent and the puzzles are just hard enough. In my opinion, Revelations is pretty good (the story is quite compelling) and End of Ages is only okay, however those are the two I have not yet replayed. Is Uru any good?

I remember being at friend's house when we were kids, she had a brand new Mac (this is in the mid-90s) and I was there with her when she beat this "newfangled Myst game" for the first time and to say I was impressed with the game would be an understatement. I didn't know anything about these kinds of computer games, but from that point on I was hooked.

Thank you for putting this classic up on your site ... aside from Uru, the Masterpiece edition is the only Myst I haven't played!

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Preemptive apologies for the text wall. I came in here intending to give a short blurb on Uru for ottoman and wound up doing a small review...

On doing a bit of research (as I have only played Myst, Riven, and - of course - Uru), it appears that, mechanics-wise, Uru is a bit of a prequel to End of Ages. Firstly, it is primarily a first/third person game, with the option to change control schemes to the more traditional "slideshow" navigation or the 360 rotation from exile. It also includes the tablets and their respective counterparts (dodging a few spoilers here, but if you've played EoA you should know what I mean) and it includes an item called a "ki" that you find in one of the ages, which - aside from being a magical door-opening MacGuffin, can take pictures (hooray for not needing a pen and paper constantly!). It sets itself apart, however, by having several additions that hint that the game was designed to be multiplayer, one of which being a rudimentary character creation system as well as a few puzzles that make you think, "Hmm, this seems like it was made for a couple people to solve, then got chopped...".

The storyline is handed to you through journal pages you find scattered around the ages, all of which give you some form of something that is necessary to move on in the game, making the storyline overt, but still ultimately ignorable for people who just want to wander about solving puzzles and looking at scenery (which, by the way, is gorgeous. If it wasn't, it really wouldn't be a myst game, would it?)

As for the puzzles? Honestly, it has been a while since I played the game, so I can't quite remember them. What I do remember is they spread across the entire spectrum, from "Durr" to face-shatteringly frustrating, but not impossible. Then again, I do tend to get stuck in even the simplest room-escape games (Oh dora, why must you make them look so easy D:), so, this could just be me.

Ultimately? I thought it was pretty good.

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Ottoman, you can download Myst Online: URU Live for free at mystonline.com, so I recommend you try it out there. Is it good? Some would probably say yes, others no. It does share a lot in common with Myst V, especially the presence of the Bahro (no tablet though, mkelican, just things called "Bahro Stones" which are basically linking books on rocks). I, personally, love it (and hope it becomes open source soon if ever), and I personally think the Age of Ahnonay is one of the most genius things in the series. It's a relatively large download, but any Myst fan should at the least try it out.

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Myst was great, but Riven was the high point of the series.

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Personally, I think that Riven isn't as good as Myst. It seems to focus more on the graphics than the storyline (although I love the cart thingy that goes along the track).

Myst is indeed EPIC. The storyline is great, the puzzles just right, and even the graphics were quite good for its time. I don't generally like point-and-click games, but Myst goes on my list of top games.

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I played them all, including mystunline URU. was good for a while, but the lag was beyond horrible.. amost to the point of not being able to play

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tylerrose Author Profile Page May 20, 2011 1:42 PM

I have really enjoyed playing Myst and plan on playing the sequels BUT I am so stuck on the part where you have to use the keyboard and the control panel, I just can't get it to work, is there anyway I can just skip it so I can at least finish the game so I can play another one...

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