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Riven : The Sequel to Myst

Riven : The Sequel to Myst

January 1st, 1970

Literature & Fiction

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Riven : The Sequel to Myst


Perhaps you remember your last conversation with Atrus as he sat in that ancient room, constantly writing into the volume that lay before him. He spoke to you–even pleaded with you–regarding his sons, but still, his mind seemed occupied by something else, burdened. He was struggling with a tremendous weight, and he even spoke of a greater foe …

Welcome back to the world of Myst. Riven: The Sequel to Myst–the most highly anticipated CD-ROM game of all time–is finally here and worth the wait. Riven is larger, more impressive, more beautiful, and certainly more frustrating than its predecessor. To some degree, Riven is an extension of Myst, which is a positive thing for the legions of Myst fans who still feel the sting of disappointment from reaching that game's abrupt, cliffhanger ending.

In fact, Riven is an extension of Myst and then some–five CDs' worth of bizarre contraptions, puzzles, and riddles with a defining logic all their own; breathtaking scenery and locales; and intricately portrayed civilizations. In addition to a whole new set of worlds to discover, four years of development have brought this game to life in a way that wasn't possible for the original.

The first thing you will notice is that Riven is teeming with life compared to Myst. There are animals and insects and people–yes, you are no longer the only living soul in sight–and all of them figure prominently into the game and mysteries of the island. Sociological and political struggles are occurring on the island, and all of them impact your course of action in the game.

As the game begins, you arrive on the island to find yourself imprisoned by one of its inhabitants, dressed in a military uniform. He speaks to you in a foreign tongue and steals the book Atrus has given you to imprison Gehn, the “greater foe.” Then, outside of your field of vision, something or someone mysteriously attacks this stranger and drags him away. The direct encounter is a far cry from the disassociated heads trapped in the books of Myst. Later, as you explore, strange birds raise their heads as you intrude on their beachside nap. There are a variety of such strange and beautifully animated creatures in Riven, which serve to enhance the ambience of the game and figure directly into the action of the story. Riven also features much more dynamic motion than Myst: Cable cars hurtle through the sky, carts zoom through brightly lit underwater passageways, and a submarine rolls along the floor of a lake, creaking to a halt at various destinations.

While the initial puzzles of Myst were very focused and the path before you was relatively straight before branching out into a myriad of ages, Riven is vast and wanderable from the outset. You can travel between the islands, explore at your whim, and see many of the sites without crinkling your brow in frustration at a single puzzle. While initially daunting, this lends itself to a much more immersive experience than the original game and to a greater sense of freedom both in movement and in action. The puzzles of Riven build in intensity and difficulty, not just throughout the entire game but also on the individual islands themselves.

To confound you even further, the puzzles of each island are amazingly interconnected and dependent on one another. In Myst, it was occasionally necessary to solve one puzzle in order to gain information on a later one, but these usually followed in logical succession. In Riven, finding out how and where to begin is integral to the gameplay. You will not be able to solve one problem until you've conquered another and obtained all of the necessary information. Once you've figured that one out you'll be able to gain access to yet another puzzle–and so on.

Throw in several different final goals and possible endings (thankfully, the correct one is much more satisfying than Myst's), and you've got your work cut out for you. While this maddening level of interconnectedness may seem unduly cruel, it should hopefully keep you occupied while the Miller brothers and Cyan conjure up their next offering. Whether its a continuation of the series or something new, if the progress between Myst and Riven is any indication, it will certainly be something to see.

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Book Details

Binding: Unknown Binding


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