Myst IV: URU Ages Beyond Myst
As a continuation of the Myst series, Uru pushes Cyan's limits by building the most realistic 3D world ever created. Myst, Riven, and Exile (the three precursors to Uru) all follow one storyline that begins in Myst, and sums up in Exile. However, Uru is the beginning of a new storyline, and a new age for the D'Ni.
Uru presents the breathtaking worlds through either the first or third person, depending on where you are. Myst pushes it's own boundaries with the introduction of third person character control. Therefore, Uru gives you a character that you can guide. In addition, Uru enables total freedom of movement for the character. The prequels only allowed you to move through a certain set of predetermined "stops," and then rotate your view at those stops. With the third person view in Uru, the character can finally move independently. However, this leads to some basic control issues. The left and right arrow keys have a time lag of ~1.5 seconds between pressing and affecting the character's movement. Often, the character will run straight into the wall right next to the doorjam or hallway that they were intended to enter. After backing up, stopping, and readjusting direction, the character can finally progress forward (eight seconds later). If this only happened every once in a while, it would not be a problem. It happens all the time.
The spectacular graphics and environments that were built for each world make Uru both an amazing game, as well as a work of art. The attention to detail the Cyan team put into making the worlds as interactive and detailed as possible boggles the mind. For example, in the opening scene, the small pond that the character can run through actually ripples and changes its reflections depending on where you are in it. A little detail, but the difference is what keeps Uru just a notch above the rest of the videogame market. The physics of the game also add to the realism. When the character runs past a rock or log, they are kicked out of the way. Not only do they roll away, but they roll just as far as they would in real life, and slowly come to a stop. If you kick them uphill, they roll up, then back down a bit. Details like these add up. The same applies for when the character drops something. The object falls to the ground at what appears to be the same speed as in the real world, then bounces. These kinds of things make me wonder how many hours Cyan spent perfecting the game.
The Cyan team made Uru the first of it's kind by creating an online multi-player version of the game (MMORPG). When you complete the single-player version, the bookcase of worlds you have visited still less than a quarter full. (For the non-Myst players- Every time you visit a new world, you get a book that enables you to teleport into that world, and they are kept in a library bookcase) They intend to release new worlds through the multi-player game, and enable Uru to grow exponentially in size. As a long time Myst player, this seriously bothers me. I have always envisioned Myst as a one-person adventure. In Myst, as well as Riven, you never see another soul (other than one or two) as you play. The worlds are built with expansive towns and structures, yet the whole place is completely vacant. It appears almost as if the entire town just dropped everything and left. The spirit of adventuring and solving puzzles alone always drew me to Myst, and the addition of a multiplayer environment is not that appealing. I feel that if the game becomes multiplayer, then it will shift into a community, not one big puzzle game.
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst surpasses it's predecessors in quality and game design, and pushes the limits of interactive entertainment a little closer to the stars. The graphics, attention to detail, and storyline of the game keep players riveted, as well as addicted and craving more.
For information about Myst IV: Uru, please visit the following websites:
- Official Uru Website: http://uru.ubi.com/
- Official UruLive Website: http://www.urulive.com/
- Uru Obsession's FAQ Page: http://www.uruobsession.com/?page=FAQ
For hints, or full walkthroughs, of Uru worlds I suggest visiting
Uru Community Fansites:
(These websites served as my sources, as well as the 100+ hours I have spent playing Uru)
- The Guild of Greeters: http://www.guildofgreeters.com/home.html
- Uru Obsession: http://www.UruObsession.com/
- Mysterium: http://www.mysterium.ch/index-e.html
- Cyan Worlds: www.CyanWorlds.com
- D'Ni Desk: www.dnidesk.com