Written by  :  Jeanne (76519)
Written on  :  Nov 14, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

If you’ve waited until now to play one of the Myst games, don’t wait any longer!

The Good

Some reviewers are bound and determined to thwart the entire Myst Series, some to the point of blaming it for the downturn of the adventure genre as a whole. To that, I say BALDERDASH! If you have stayed away from these games because of those reviews, you have missed out on some of the most entertaining, challenging, engrossing and enduring experiences you may ever have within a game world. For those of you not familiar with the series, here’s a basic synopsis.

Creating worlds simply by writing them in a journal – sounds like the ultimate Sim, doesn’t it? Atrus creates worlds, or “Ages”, as he calls them, just by writing his ideas in books. You are able to visit and explore each Age by opening his book and entering the picture inside.This type of magic transforms a blank page into a self-contained world complete with animals, plants and people, all of which evolve and grow over time. But, playing God can be tricky business, as Atrus has learned the hard way. Mistakes made in his early efforts backfired and caused destruction and loss of lives. This chapter in the saga deals with those mistakes, and with a bitter “exiled” survivor bent on revenge against Atrus and his family. You’ll be exploring some of his first Ages – the ones he created to help his two sons learn. Each one is unique in itself with it’s own atmosphere, beauty and, of course, puzzles.

Like in the preceding games, strange contraptions need to be manipulated, all with a specific purpose you must discover. There is a color puzzle and a sound puzzle, but fortunately, no mazes or sliders (hallelujah!) In my estimation, the puzzles are of Medium-to-Hard difficulty for the most part. Be prepared to be utterly confused at first, but with a keen eye and perseverance, the answers will dawn on you like a revelation from above. There are surprises around every corner, interesting gizmos and buildings to explore. There are creatures too – a beautiful mother bird and her young as well as an adorable little hamster-sized animal. During your adventure, you will solve some puzzles either using or helping those creatures.

I can’t begin to describe in words how beautiful the graphics are in EXILE. I was awestruck and totally thrilled with every step. It is definitely a feast for the eyes, but my ears were not neglected. The fully orchestrated musical score brought me to blissful tears at times. Realistic sound effects, from the chirping of birds to the crashing of waves on rocks, add to the ambiance.

I also liked the two different endings, both of which are interesting to watch. And, if you make the wrong choice during the last segment, you can actually die!

I thank my lucky stars that the Patch provided support for my aging video card. Otherwise I couldn’t have played the game at all. A nice feature is having optional hardware support for all of the major 3D accelerator cards. Supposedly this enhances the graphics even more, if you can imagine that, by adding more movement to the scenery. Because the game was published as a Windows/Macintosh hybrid, MAC users can enjoy it too.

The Bad

It’s hard to find anything bad about EXILE, but with a little thought, I did find a few little things, if you want to get picky.
  • Pixel Hunting. The cursor doesn’t help you find all the “hot spots” and walkways. (Remember this and look everywhere all the time.)
  • Disk Swapping – Disk 1 must be inserted each time you start. (No biggy, just needless.)
  • No earth-shattering advances in technology or interface. (This is not necessarily a bad thing. There was nothing wrong with the first Myst engine, so why change it?)
  • The Bottom Line

    Don’t rush through this game. Take your time, relax, and let yourself be consumed by the absolute uniqueness of each Age. You will be rewarded for your efforts with a fully satisfying experience. Fans of the predecessors and players who have enjoyed other 1st person adventures (Beyond Atlantis, for example) will love this game – as I did.

    The foremost enticement of this sequel is the advancement of a story that began in the first game. As you begin playing EXILE, you’ll read enough background to get the gist of the story, so it is not necessary to play MYST and RIVEN beforehand (but it helps). I hope this is not the end of this saga and that there will be another sequel!