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Review of Riven: The Sequel to Myst by Lucien21

Stars - 35

Rating by Lucien21 posted on May 27, 2012 | edit | delete

Beautiful, but empty experience

It’s no secret I was never the biggest fan of Myst. However tell people that you hate Myst is normally interpreted as a hatred for all first person puzzles games of that type.

That’s not true I just never got into the whole D’Ni history and the worlds were always far too barren for my liking.

Riven being the sequel to Myst isn’t a game I’ve played twice. Until now that is.

Getting the game to run on my PC was an adventure all on it’s own. The 5 disc version I have isn’t windows 7 friendly. I ended up having to install it on the Virtual PC set up that I have and then manually copying the CD files to the hard drive so that I didn’t have to swaps discs when you go to another island.

Anyway, the game itself…....

The world itself is or at least was in it’s day, beautifully rendered with a nice variety of locations between the islands. Moving between them treats you to a fun roller coaster ride on rails or mine cart. The screens are far too static though. Apart from the occasional insect or a couple of times you see some wildlife or native there is precious little happening on screen.

Moving around is clunky flip screen movement but is fine for that type of game. Although it was frustrating that the turn radius changed all the time and sometimes you turned 90 degrees and sometimes 180 which lead to a couple of occasions getting confused and going in circles on the forest island while trying to find a particular location.

The atmosphere is nice and there is something to be said about exploration in a stranger in a strange land scenario. Slowly having to learn everything about a totally new environment would be fun. In this it is mainly reserved to learning the numbering system or some animals and their noises.

I yearned for more information on the background to the islands, the plants and animals, the machinery, the characters etc etc There is precious little in the way of story except for the 3 or 4 journals that you read in the game.

Puzzles were harder than Myst and a couple of them are very obscure (blooming placing marbles on a 25x25 grid comes to mind). It did remind me of the good old days of playing adventure games with a pad of paper and a pen and scribbling down a lot of useless information in the hope it solves a puzzle.

A lot of the time it was a case of randomly pulling levers in the hopes that something would happen.

Overall I can see how people revere this game as highly as they do. It has a peaceful charm, it is challenging and it looks very good. I had some fun playing it.

However it just ain’t my thing. It’s too empty and not enough of a plot to be any where near my top 5.

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Time Played: Under 1 hour

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