If there was ever a game that set the term of classic, adventure, puzzle-solving, many of us would have our own favorites as to why we think set the standard for the genre. But there is one name that has been on pretty much every platform from the PC PlayStation to Atari Jaguar, to Android to the Oculus Quest even back on to PC and that is MYST. Even though there may have been remakes of the game from realMyst to the MYST: Masterpiece Edition, each one brought the mystery in drawing players on the island of MYST and its ages. So does developer Cyan reimagine the world of MYST? So has developer Cyan improved on the immersion and the puzzles? Let’s find out with MYST for PCVR.
In MYST you play as an unknown person who comes across a book called MYST where you must solve puzzles while exploring the island along with finding the pages that will allow them to be transported to different ages of the island. So before jumping right in, there are a few things that you will want to know. First, you can play in non-VR and VR. Second, do not rush. MYST is not about rushing, but about the puzzles and the story. Second, try not to overthink everything as there are a lot of puzzles here in MYST, but the clues can be known if one just listens for them. Third, don’t rush. MYST is not about rushing through as quickly as possible. It is about the story that is being told. Fourth, have some fun. And lastly, I started to think about how I was going to do this review per se. When MYST first was announced for VR, it came out on the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and I reviewed it. I really wanted to see if what was missing from the Quest/Quest 2 version has been added or if there were improvements implemented that should be noticed and that is what I decided on here. To see the review of MYST that was done on the Oculus Quest/Quest 2, that can be found here. So with that said, let’s continue…
So before we can move forward, there is a little bit of a history that needs to be said just to help bring you up to speed. The world of MYST can be an amazing one, but at times, can be confusing. When you first start MYST, you do hear the voice of one Artus. He has created the book of MYST, a way of linking and teleportation that when someone touches the last page, they are transported. Artus is married to Catherine and they have two sons, Achenar and Sirrus. However, due to greed and as punishment, Artus has trapped his two sons into books Achenar is in the blue and Sirrus is in the red book. So as you are solving puzzles and going to the different ages, listening and reading the clues, you are in search of the different red and blue pages that are scattered throughout. So now that we are somewhat brought up to date, we shall move on.
Before starting MYST, you will want to go into settings and really decide the best way for you to play. Do you want the ability to skip elevator and vehicle transitions, do you want to hurry up and downstairs, teleport, have smooth turning, play without sound if you are hard of hearing, have subtitles, have gameplay context subtitles, randomized puzzles? It’s really up to you. One of the things the original MYST is when you come across messages, they were in CGI and it just added to the experience. When the game was released for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2, those messages were met with the CG counterparts. For example…
But in the PCVR version, there is the option to play the classic game which results in how the original game was presented. For players brand new to MYST, they may like the updated CG version, but it’s great that the original is an option here as well.
There was also something missing when experiencing the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 version that is kind of notorious with MYST and that is note-taking. MYST is the type of game where you have puzzles that would result in writing down maybe coordinates, numbers, or really anything you would think might be helpful along the way. I mean, there was even a pretty good size original MYST hint book that you could buy.
So in the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 version, you actually have to pull away from your headset which honestly will break the immersion for many. But Cyan did something here that solves the issue of needing paper thus saving the environment but doesn’t break any immersion and that is the implementation of being able to take pictures from within the game and being able to go to the main menu to look at your photos. So thank you for doing this Cyan, thank you.
Going through the different ages of MYST on PCVR really is beautiful in VR. There is just something about being in the first-person view in this atmosphere as you try and figure out what is going on and why. Each of the different ages, Mechanical, Stoneship, Channelwood, Selenitic each bring the amount of detail to it that you can tell had a lot of work put in it from when it first released to even the new edition for PCVR.
For example, just look at the lighting right before going into the Channelwood age and then once you are in there. See the murky water just barely move from seeing the detail on the bark of the tree to even hearing the crickets and frogs. It really just brings the essence to the immersion in VR that has to be seen as well as heard.
With the different puzzles that look pretty fantastic that lead you to new audio clues and the pages, there was something else that was missing from the Quest/Quest 2 version of the game. When you play a game like MYST that was not made for VR, which includes puzzles such as these that may require more thought, paper comes in handy. A way to write down coordinates or numbers for puzzles that you may have to come back to. In the Quest/Quest 2 the really on way to accomplish this is you would have to lift and look away from the headset which can take away from the immersion. In the PCVR version, Cyan has solved this with the ability to take pics from within the game and then go to the menu and look at your pics as a way for it not to break the immersion which works really well here.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. Already before being reworked for Virtual Reality, MYST looked good. Releasing it on Oculus Quest/Quest 2 and now PCVR shows how pretty the graphics really are. From the small details such as the individual keys on the piano (fun puzzle) to the going through the mazes and blue fog of the Selenitic Age really comes through in VR and again brings an immersion that MYST was always destined to have for VR. Sound is also an important factor in MYST. Some puzzles will require you to listen to get things just right and it seems to have more of an impact here. Listening to the music on the Stoneship age really has this futuristic tone to it and is something I could listen to as it really is that relaxing.
MYST for PCVR took everything I wanted my MYST experience to be and brought a smile to my face. Everything that I was wising from the Quest/Quest2 version that may have been slightly missed has been very well thought of and taken a step further. I just hope that for those that may not have a PC to run PCVR, that the Quest/Quest 2 version can get updated to have an overall universal version of the game to play.
MYST in VR still does not hold our hand as we explore, but does allow us to take our time as we do it. When you add in a ton of comfort settings from the ability to skip elevators and vehicle transitions to having quick travel, to even changing the turning, CYAN has thought about pretty much everyone and their needs.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to go back, discover the last ending, and wish upon the Cyan stars that the sequels, Riven, MYST III: Exile, MYST IV: Revelation, and MYST V: End of Ages all receive the VR treatment they deserve.