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Riven is unquestionably a masterpiece. The depth of design, the impact of the visuals. I remember playing this on a friend’s Windows 95 PC almost 15 years ago and I hadn’t played it since. Today, it exceeded every expectation at every step. Riven is a game for explorers, people who have the compunction to explore every square inch of a world, people who do not see absorbing the atmosphere as boring. If you’re the kind of person who skips nothing and always watches every cutscene in games, then Riven will be nothing short of a joy to behind.
When it comes to puzzles, Riven is very passive and doesn’t put everything you need right in front of you like some GCSE exam. You will have to take notes, think laterally, and spend hours exploring and getting the gist of the whole picture of what is being presented to you. It is therefore very difficult at times, and you can be wondering around because you missed the seemingly obvious doo-dad somewhere else. There’s no hints system like Myst:ME, and whilst that was a big problem when the game was new, we have GameFAQs and so forth to provide direction. If anything, by not having a hints system, it makes me more determined to play the game properly without cheating and resort to asking questions in forums if I get stuck. Myst:ME can be blasted through in a couple of hours if you take the hints, whilst Riven is something that may take at least days, if not weeks or months to solve.
Other than the blinding difficulty in some places (due to the hands-off, passive nature of puzzle explanation), this game is a stunning masterpiece of point and click games. Even if you use a walktrhough there’s still enough gawping visuals to be worth the price alone. The graphics hold up today, though if there was a game that would need a HD remake, Riven is it.
Duh, forgot to add a bit about the sound.
Screenshots don’t do it justice because it’s the whole atmosphere that makes everything so poignant. The audio completes the picture and that is the depth to which the design illustrates a deep culture in the game. It is essential to hear the game on good speakers or at least on headphones and to miss the sound is to view the game in a flat and emotionless manner.
hmmm that post sort of got me interested again. the only myst game i own is Myst 4 i think. or is it 3? the newest one. i didnt really enjoy it that much because of all the random puzzling. but im sure most myst games are like that.. judging by your description of the puzzles they would blow my mind on many levels, not all positive.