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Myst (PSP) artwork

Myst (PSP) review


"This is a bad port. Itís not broken, like Syberia DS, or a drastic departure from the original, like Deus Ex: The Conspiracy. It is pointless, though. Helplessly pointless. I canít figure out the rationale behind releasing it. Midway Games has taken an ancient game, rereleased it in the wrong aspect ratio on a tinier screen, and shoved in a level from the last full remake of the game... a remake wh..."



This is a bad port. Itís not broken, like Syberia DS, or a drastic departure from the original, like Deus Ex: The Conspiracy. It is pointless, though. Helplessly pointless. I canít figure out the rationale behind releasing it. Midway Games has taken an ancient game, rereleased it in the wrong aspect ratio on a tinier screen, and shoved in a level from the last full remake of the game... a remake which featured vastly improved graphics, the new age of Rime, and the ability to fully explore the game in real-time 3D.

Who is the targeted audience here?

I want to be absolutely clear on this. If youíve already beaten the original Myst, thereís no reason to go back. It has absolutely no replay value, nor are the graphics attractive enough to warrant revisiting. The only reason fans have been given to revisit it was in 2000, when realMyst was released with all the above mentioned features. That game was for both Mac and PC and is easily available today. The fact that it is a more advanced version than the PSP version, released in America 8 years later, again drives home the pointlessness of this port.

The only reason to purchase the PSP version is if (a) you have an unyielding desire to be able to play Myst in the bathroom or (b) if you missed realMyst and want to check out the Rime age. Veterans of Myst should already know the solution to the final puzzle and can easily bypass the entire game to jump right to the new content. Be warned, though: Rime sucks. Rime was never meant to be as puzzling or in-depth an Age as the others. It was designed to take advantage of the 3D environment and real time weather effects of realMyst. Snow tumbled through the darkened sky, lit by an occasional flash of some stellar peculiarity resembling the Aurora Borealis. You could walk up to the very edge of the wintry cliff you found yourself on and lean over to watch the waves rock gently against its base. When one of the puzzles required you to melt the frost from a jammed door, the frost peeled away bit by bit, slowly revealing the intricate carvings and bright colours that it had covered.

These things are all but gone in the PSP version, which resorts back to the older style of freeze frame portraits that you click on to interact with. Because Rime was meant to be looked at more than touched, with only two real puzzles in the entire Age, the result feels restrictive and underwhelming. I think there were a total of 20 screens, which were obviously poorly rendered freeze frames from the realMyst version. The snow in this Rime never reaches the ground but is instead locked in place, along with the now-grainy waves. The frost puzzle still remains, but the transition effect has been removed and the door always looks warm and surprisingly clean of ice, removing a vital clue to the puzzle.

Not only that, but the biggest puzzle, which was figuring out how to get to Rime, has been completely removed, along with the journal that told the entire history of the Age and its connection to the game. In realMyst, this journal is the start of a long search of Myst island for the entrance to a forgotten treasure. It was a particularly satisfying journey for long time fans of Myst, for whom the feeling was like returning to an old neighborhood to find your treehouse was still there and someone had built a clever addition onto it.

In the PSP remake, this search is gone. Instead, when you first return to Myst after your final discussion with Atrus, the game sends you to a freeze frame shot of the Rime book. With no explanation, you are sent to Rime to solve its two puzzles. The cinematic reward for solving these puzzles, incidentally, has also been cut from the game, to be replaced with an instant trip back to the main menu. There is a linking book back to Myst from Rime, but itís just there to tease you. Going through it only leads players to the freeze frame shot of the Rime book. Itís an infinite loop of boredom without any escape.

So you canít even take advantage of Atrusí final gift to you,* which was to continue exploring Myst and its connected ages. Why Sony would choose to host a project like this on PSN but turn down the ports of Sakura Wars is a mystery even Atrus couldnít solve.

*easily one of the shittiest gifts a person could give to you for solving his domestic problems

Rating: 2/10

zippdementia's avatar
Community review by zippdementia (July 07, 2010)

Zipp has spent most of his life standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox there. Sometimes he writes reviews and puts them in the mailbox.

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aschultz posted July 29, 2010:

This is a bash that I can see absolutely needed to be done for your own mental health. It provides a stark contrast to the fun you had with Myst. Your other review was a lot more fun but this is also good writing, no mistake. It feels about the right length. No sense complaining too much.
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zippdementia posted July 30, 2010:

Thanks for the feedback, Aschultz. I think this port just baffled me into writing a review.

I sense a build up to ROTW....

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