Game

Review: Myst Returns with Updated Graphics, Same Classic Gameplay

Screenshot: Myst

There’s an ongoing internet joke about Todd Howard and rereleasing Skyrim, but there’s been so many releases of Myst at this point that even Todd has to be taking notes. Okay, I’m joking, but Myst has seen its share fair of rereleases since its original Mac OS release in 1993, followed the next year by a Windows release and then 3DO, Sega Saturn, Atari Jaguar in 1994, and PlayStation in 1995. There’s been a Nintendo DS version, a 3DS version, an Android release and more.  It was even rereleased as a (somewhat controversial) realMyst in 2014 and upgraded to realMyst: Masterpiece Edition in 2015 with upgraded graphics/better performance. Myst is obviously a beloved classic that has been released on platform after platform. But how does this latest release hold up?

Myst, as this release is known, is a fully 3D recreation of the original Myst.  Released last year on Oculus Quest (read my review here) it breathed new life into the original, but at the time, it wasn’t the best experience to play on virtual reality headsets. Myst requires you to take notes to use later, and doing so in a virtual reality headset isn’t very easy. The biggest change I noticed when jumping into this version is the addition of a photo mode which allows you to quickly take a picture you can reference later, in-game.  That means those who want to experience Myst in full virtual reality will have an easier time of it. Those on PC will finally get a chance to deal with Myst’s enigmatic puzzles as if they’re in the same room as them.

Screenshot: Myst

While playing Myst on my Quest 2 was very fun, playing Myst on my gaming rig with an Index headset is still fun, but now it looks even more spectacular. It’s basically the same virtual reality experience as the Quest 2 offered, just with higher fidelity graphics—and sometimes that can make a difference. Myst has never looked so good, and that goes double for the non-VR version. There’s something about manipulating Myst’s puzzles with touch controls, and stepping into each of its ages, see these worlds from my perspective, that awakens a wonderment in me not unlike the first time I saw Myst’s full-motion video segments, and pre-rendered graphics.

If you don’t have a virtual reality headset, don’t worry: Myst, while definitely fun and playable in virtual reality, was originally made for a flat screen. Much like realMyst, Myst is fully explorable in 3D. It plays like a modern first person puzzle game, but lacks many of the quality of life and signposting tricks that other more modern games employ. Myst is a game that was made in 1993, and it doesn’t hold your hand to help. As you explore the starting island, and eventually wander into each of Myst’s five ages, you’ll interact with a hauntingly realized world with puzzles that have captivated and inspired since the early 90s. Myst has a puzzle design that I haven’t really encountered in most modern games. It requires you to scour its environment, with every symbol and written line of dialogue a possible clue or solution to a puzzle you’ve been ramming your head against for hours. There’s a particular satisfaction in solving the puzzles of Myst without a guide, but there’s no shame in using one if you’re truly stumped.

Screenshot: Myst

Myst is a beautiful recreation of the original. With graphic options like NVidia’s DLSS and ray tracing, the Ages of Myst have never looked so good. Myst Island itself is a little bland compared to the moody and atmospheric ages, but this overhaul has brought it visually closer to the original Myst than the efforts made in realMyst. I don’t know for sure if Myst was built over the geometry of realMyst, but it sure seems like it, and there’s even the inclusion of a certain character’s grave (which is a bit of a spoiler) that first appeared in realMyst.

Myst is a true classic, and this latest release is probably its best. I’d love to see the sequels get the same treatment as this update, but that doesn’t seem likely—at least not anytime soon. But it’s good to see Myst getting released to new audiences who can experience the computer game phenomenon of the early 90s.

 

Myst is available tomorrow on PC and Mac via Steam, and Xbox Series X and Xbox One, including Xbox Gamepass.

 

 

A PC key was provided to us for the purposes of this review.

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