It’s way past my bedtime, but I finally finished Myst IV. I’ll admit I made heavy use both of the built-in hint system and a walkthrough I found on the Web. Partly, this was because Revelation had the same problem as Exile: at times, the necessary path or puzzle piece was too hard to find, or it turned out to be in a place I thought I’d checked, but I hadn’t clicked in exactly the right place.
I also “cheated” because I found many of the puzzles far too tedious. One of the things I liked about the original Myst, and especially Riven, is that the process of solving the puzzles also caused the story to unfold. What I found about Revelation was that I would enter an age (or part of an age), wander around for a while, learn the story points, and then be stuck with three or four complex and annoying puzzles, that I had figure out before I could move on and learn more about the story or characters. Usually I “got” what the puzzle wanted me to do, but I’m not determined enough—or not clever enough—to go through the process of figuring the right solution. I almost prefer looking up the solution, so I can get on with the game and cool new things. In that respect, I was a little disappointed; Revelation’s plots and characters had a lot of good setup, but once the plot got going, there wasn’t much in the way of meat, and the climax and ending felt especially weak.
I’ve never been good at puzzles. I like to feel clever, and being on the receiving end of a puzzle usually make me feel a little dim. What I really like is giving puzzles, since then I already know the answer, and I can feel smart (it’s too bad I don’t have a gift for inventing them, either.) Knowing that the solutions were so quick at hand probably made me more likely to use them; if I’d had to play the game without access to the hint guide or walkthrough (like with Riven), maybe I would have gotten through more of it on my own. On the other hand, maybe I would have given up and put the game on a shelf for a couple of years, as I did with the original Myst.
Did I really “play” Revelation? Probably not. On the other hand, I played enough of it to make myself happy, and it did last me two weeks of evenings, which is pretty good. Myst IV: Revelation did have some fun and interesting points, but the gameplay was mostly the same as Myst III: Exile, with a less detailed story.
Overall rating: B