Myst V is the final chapter in the Myst series. It is a beautiful first person adventure created by Cyan that ties together the storyline of the previous chapters in the series. The game comes on a Mac/PC DVD or 3 CDs (PC only). It can also be downloaded from the Ubisoft website. Download times for high speed connections are stated as taking 2hr 47 min, and 3 days for dial-up. The game requires 4.5 GB of free hard drive space. The game loaded smoothly from the DVD and was very stable. I experienced no crashes or glitches.
The game begins in a room with a locked linking book to Myst. You cannot open the book, so start exploring. There are two characters in the game, Esher and Yeesha. They both give monologues that explain that the Tablet must be unlocked and Díni saved. The tablet is the key to the servitude of the Bahro and the power of the Díni. The tablet both controls the Bahro and makes them powerful. The Bahro made their appearance in URU and are the central focus of this game. As the game progresses you will learn more about them and their relationship with the Díni.
There are seven different ages that you will visit on your journey to unlock the tablet and learn about the Bahro. Each age has its own distinct appearance and feel. The graphics in each age are beautiful and in full 3-D. The variety between ages is dramatic, from a frozen world to a space station. Iím not quite sure how that age worked, it didnít seem to have any atmosphere, yet I could breath just fine. New in this game are the bubbles that contain the linking pedestal and slates. The bubbles show images on their surfaces of the ages with which they are linked. The images are always changing and are an amazing special effect.
In one age you will collect pages from Yeeshaís journal that will give insight into her life and her conflict on whether she is the Grower or it is fate that her life has taken this path. Esher also links in to provide information on the worlds, the Díni and Bahro. His speeches often contain helpful information on solving the puzzles you are presented with. Each of these monologues gives you a better feel for Yeesha, Esher and the Díni and what your ultimate decision must be.
The voice acting is uniformly excellent. In the English version Esher is performed by David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H, Lilo and Stitch, etc) and Rengin Altay returns as Yeesha.
There are three different ways to navigate through the game. Itís easy to switch from one mode to the other, so try them all and find what is best for you. The first is purely mouse driven, point and click, Classic mode. I found it nice for getting the right angle on the puzzles. The second mode of control is the Classic Plus mode. You point and click, but you can unlock the cursor with the right mouse button to look around at your surroundings. The third mode is the one I used the most. It is the advanced mode. You use the W, A, S, D keyboard keys for movement and the mouse to look around and interact with objects. I tended to get motion sicknesses from the Classic Mode, but had no problems with the advanced mode. I liked the feature in URU that you could switch from first person to third person perspectives.
You can save the game at any point with the camera. It will also allow you to add notes to the save slot. The game also automatically saves when you exit the game. Due to the stability of the game I didnít need to save often.
The puzzles have always been my favorite part of the Myst series. As expected the puzzles in Myst V require logic and observation as one would expect of a Myst game. There are none of the slider or math puzzles that some gamers dislike. However one of the main game elements, the slates, requires you to be able to use your mouse to draw freehand a symbol on to the slate. Some of you may have difficulty with that aspect of the game, especially if you draw as poorly as I do. Additionally there are minor timed elements to some of the puzzles. They donít prevent you from completing the puzzle, but you do waste time resetting the time. While these timed elements do make a certain sense in the context of the story, I found them rather annoying.
After you have explored all of the ages to your heartís content, and the tablet is free, you have a decision to make that will result in which ending you watch. As Yeesha tells you at the beginning of the game, ďChoose wisely in the end there is no second chanceĒ. Save the game at this point and so that you get that second chance and see where your decision leads.
Myst V- End of Ages is an excellent addition to the Myst family. The game is extremely stable, the graphics are gorgeous, and the voice acting is outstanding. I raised a few issues with some of the puzzles, but they are minor complaints that probably wonít bother many gamers. If you like the Myst series or adventure games in general, you should try this one.
The final grade is 95/100.