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RealMyst: Masterpiece Edition review: The same Myst you know and love, but prettier

Hayden Dingman | March 24, 2014
Meet the new Myst, a lot like the old Myst, but with vastly improved graphics. Does the classic stand up to the test of time?

What I mean is Myst's fantastical hub world, Myst Island, smashes together elements from four or five very different design schools, and this clashing juxtaposition of the various ages both makes Myst Island visually fascinating and makes it a relic of a type of '90s hodge-podge design that's largely disappeared--and that no amount of high-res textures can cover up. Nowadays games, especially puzzle games, value a coherency or cohesiveness to the environmental designs that just isn't present in Myst.

But really that's neither here nor there. Myst Island is Myst Island, and I still love it even if the design is insane.

What I don't love is the amount of frame-dropping in realMyst: Masterpiece Edition. There's no way of getting around it-- realMyst: Masterpiece Edition is poorly optimized. Despite multiple patches since release, the game still slows down for inexplicable reasons. Even with graphics settings dialed down I experienced stuttering. The game looks good, but not that good, and certainly not good enough I should've had trouble getting it to run, even at the highest graphics settings.

The proof is in the playing
RealMyst: Masterpiece Edition also has two control schemes: A "Classic" mode that controls like the point-and-click games of yesteryear, and a free-roam mode that allows you to walk and look around at will.

With Classic controls, Cyan went back in and mapped the original camera angles from 2D Myst onto the 3D environments, so you're basically playingMyst as it was originally intended, except instead of warping to the next camera angle, your character walks over. It's a bit disorienting if you did play original Myst, because walking over takes up more time (though there's a bar to adjust walk speed).

Free-roam mode is a mess, however. When you're walking, the game controls like a standard first-person game--that is to say, when you move the mouse your view also changes. This is how first-person games have played since time immemorial. But when you stop moving in realMyst: Masterpiece Edition, your controls change. Now you have to hold down right click to pan around, or scroll with the edges of the screen.

It's an awkward and convoluted means of control, and I found myself more often than not moving rapidly back and forth so I could trick the game into giving me standard mouse-look controls instead of dealing with the Right-Click-to-pan scheme.

As far as how difficult Myst actually is these days—well, I honestly can't tell you. I didn't feel like I remembered much of the game's solutions going in. Nevertheless, I beat it in four hours. Whether that's a commentary on the game being simpler in a post-Riven, post-adulthood, or post-"I've played a ton of games and recognize some of the tropes" world...I just can't say.

 

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