Myst III: Exile
Game Info
Xbox, PS2
Ubi Soft
Presto Studios
Official Website
ESRB Rating
The Good

• Deep story
• Fine art direction and excellent visuals
• Wonderful puzzles

The Bad

• Lacks interaction
• Puzzles may stump those without patience


Mention the word Myst to seasoned PC gamers and they'll most likely reminisce over some beautiful location they recall or cringe at the thought of a puzzle that had them running around for hours just to figure out what in the hell they were doing. The Myst series (Myst, Riven, and now Exile) is one of the biggest names in point-and-click PC adventures and with Exile, Xbox and PS2 players get their shot at the simple, yet effective, interface. Following the events of the previous titles, the story of Exile is about the D'ni, a race of people with the ability to scribe magical books that can take you to other worlds. At the beginning of the game, you meet Atrus, who likewise has this ability. Before too long, the mad Saavedro shows up to exact his revenge and you're drawn into the various "ages" that you must traverse to defeat him.

Exile is simple in both purpose and execution. While a lot of time could be spent walking around, looking at all the pretty locations, the real focus of Exile is to solve puzzles to allow you further access towards your goal. Controls are pretty simple - you can move the camera around with the analog stick. One button moves you forward to the next screen, another opens up the menu to access the books you find throughout the game, and another toggles the cursor on and off. When it comes to books, you'll find yourself needing to read them, not only for backstory, but to provide clues on how to complete some of the puzzles.

When it comes to puzzles, Exile will put even the sturdiest mind to task. Often you'll find yourself in a location with a number of things that you can interact with. The challenge is to figure out how they work together to serve a purpose. If you're lucky, they'll all be part of the same puzzle, but sometimes they aren't. Most of the time, you'll have no clue what you are supposed to do until you start messing with them.

The gameworld of Exile is built in a variety of pre-rendered still shots, animated CG locations with live full-motion-video actors in certain places that help move the story along. The process is quite interesting, not unlike a movie being filmed. If you're interested, the game comes with a "Making Of" feature that details the process. Moving around the game may look like a First Person Shooter, but instead it plays out more like an interactive slideshow. Each scene and location is finely detailed and the gameworld shows a great sense of imagination and design. While the game may not be impressive in terms of a powerful engine, the execution is good enough to deliver the experience.

The audio portion of the game is sharply executed with some fine voice-acting, well-realized sound effects and a soundtrack that lays the perfect groundwork for the somewhat surreal travel. In fact, both the sound effects and soundtrack really do wonders at drawing you into the pretty static locations, especially considering the lack of "human" interaction there is present. voice-acting is a little different in Exile as the actual voice actors are present on screen, so their performances carry a certain weight to them.

Myst III: Exile is one of those titles that is sure to have a fine line between love and hate. The game severely lacks when it comes to interaction or immediate gratification. If you're the kind of gamer who needs to be constantly barraged with action, you'll grow bored of this title quickly. If you're more patient, this title is sure to be a joy for you. Since the game is pretty linear, if you find yourself stumped with a puzzle, you'll basically be stuck until you figure it out and once you begin to do backtracking to solve some of the larger puzzles, the gorgeous locales may lose some of their luster.

If you haven't gotten it by now, Myst III: Exile is a game best for those with patience and a head for puzzles. It's not as interactive as, say, Syberia, but it still manages to deliver a wonderfully imaginitive world and story.

- - Vane

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