With the publication of MYST V: End of Ages an era of gaming comes to a close. It was the brothers, Rand and Robyn Miller, and their blockbuster CD-ROM adventure game that proved PC's were a force in gaming. With MYST they had the best selling game of the 20th century and now Myst V brings it to a close.
Closely related to the previous Cyan title, "Uru: Ages Beyond Myst," Myst V picks up where it left off. While no knowledge of this game is needed to enjoy Myst V fully, as all you need to know is explained, those who are fans of Uru will find the Myst V experience enriched. Yeesha, daughter to the "hero" of the Myst series, Atrus, finds it is her destiny to rebuild the ancient D'ni civilization. However, she needs your help but pleads with you not to give it. Esher, one of the few D'ni remaining, agrees with her on this point alone. So, it is up to you to decide who gets the power of the Tablet, a stone slate with the power to alter worlds, and what is to become of D'ni and the mysterious creatures known as the Bahro.
Myst V leaves the fate of D'ni and Atrus' legacy up to you. Choose wisely.
Using an updated version of their Plasma engine, the same engine used to craft Uru and realMYST, Cyan brings life and detail to their Ages, or worlds, and characters like never before. And even manage to rival Valve's "Half Life 2" facial animations and character movement. They pull this off by using motion capture for the human characters and mapping the faces of real actors to the heads of these characters. What you end up with is a real-time 3D character with such subtle and nuanced facial expression you'd think they were real people. And, in a way, they are. The only downside to this is that you'll need a beefy video card to really squeeze all the beauty out of this gem.
As always puzzles play a central role to advancing within the game but to Cyan's credit (and my relief) they've put a large emphasis on exploration. So, while you'll have to eventually deal with the puzzles, you'll have more than enough look at in wonderment in between bouts of frustration.
With deeper sadness it appears, for the time, this will be the final game published by Cyan Worlds. Due to financial constraints they've been force to lay off all but two of their staff while they look for outside funding for further projects. Cyan prided itself in bucking the trend and making an easy buck by avoiding genres that have flooded the PC market such as first-person-shooters and other overly violent subjects. They prided themselves by putting the story first and building a game on top of that. To say they were mistaken in this approach may be unwise. Whether you loved or hated their games it is a fact that PC gaming would not be where it is today without two brothers working out of a garage in Spokane Washington 13 years ago.
But, as they say, perhaps the ending has not yet been written...
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