Myst remake impressions: Good-looking island touch-ups, launch-week woes

Enlarge / Welcome again, but once more, to Myst Island.

Cyan Worlds, Inc.

This week, eight months after a touched-up model of 1993’s Myst landed solely on the Oculus Quest VR system, the identical remake has been additional touched up and made accessible on extra units—together with non-VR choices. This remade model of the puzzle basic, merely titled Myst, is included on Xbox Sport Cross on each consoles and PC, and that subscription possibility could also be simpler for some longtime followers to swallow than one other $30 retail buy (on Xbox, Steam, or GOG).

This launch goes past the touch-ups present in 2014’s realMyst Masterpiece Version, but it surely’s equal elements refined and iffy. Cyan has to this point been proactive on its Steam boards, suggesting that followers ought to count on fixes and responses to a few of this launch’s first-week woes in brief order. Within the meantime, sure returns to Myst Island are already straightforward to suggest. Others benefit a wait-and-see strategy.

Modifications delicate and main since realMyst

On probably the most fundamental degree possible, this week’s Myst is identical because the CD-ROM Myst you already know and (probably) love. Ought to you have got the unique sport’s puzzles and steps memorized, load the sport in its default state, and you’ll both unravel each puzzle and story as you keep in mind it or skip the hunt for clues and immediately expose all ages connected to Myst Island.

However this journey is not similar to the unique. For one, gamers can not count on the unique sport’s Hypercard-based point-and-click system. That is now a real-time, first-person sport, modeled after the controls you’d discover in a shooter on PC or consoles. There isn’t any menu toggle to revert to the unique sport’s slideshow type—nor the realMyst 2000 version’s “node-by-node” easy walks between the unique sport’s frozen moments. I am truthfully peeved that the latter has been eliminated for non-VR gamers. I all the time appreciated that possibility to separate the distinction between the previous and the brand new.

Just a few of the sport’s switches and machines have been touched as much as account for both VR compatibility or the shift to trendy controls, too. As an alternative of clicking within the middle of a portray to activate a door, for instance, you now must goal at a mechanical swap subsequent to the portray. As soon as touched, the mechanical swap animates with a chunky sound impact. Generally, I favor the brand new touch-ups, partly as a result of I imagined a completely unfamiliar participant attempting Myst for the primary time and having extra apparent, mechanical objects to click on and manipulate. Mercifully, gamers will not must rewind their mind to the unfamiliar universe of mid-’90s CD-ROMs, however the coronary heart of every puzzle stays intact.

In the meantime, the sport’s unique geometry has been overhauled—now for the third time, after two variations of realMyst and this time inside Unreal Engine 4. For probably the most half, the outcomes are fairly good-looking, whether or not because of extra bespoke foliage and bushes, improved texture high quality and object selection, or (most impressively) extra lifelike and grounded lighting that emulates material-based bounces, even with out ray tracing enabled. When reviewing every model of the sport side-by-side, you’ll be able to see Cyan making use of a unique philosophy to how its dated 1994 CGI needs to be introduced ahead into a brand new computing era. The outcomes present the staff’s willingness to reimagine numerous architectural touches or pure rock, forest, and water formations.

The essential stuff seems to be similar or mighty acquainted in comparison with the unique sport, and main island and underground preparations are almost similar when it comes to bodily strolling distance. Plus, fairly truthfully, neither model of realMyst holds up notably nicely in 2021, particularly when it comes to 3D translations of pure world components. In case you’re asking me to choose a favourite model of Myst, the grainy unique remains to be my favourite, however I would in all probability reasonably play this 12 months’s mannequin.

Strong defaults on each PC and console

Ought to you have got an Xbox console (as little as the bottom Xbox One or as new as Xbox Collection X) and Sport Cross, I would argue that is one of the simplest ways to dive again into the sport in 2D, not less than in the event you’re already paying for Sport Cross. Efficiency and picture high quality are fairly sharp on Collection X/S, with a lot of the sport’s PC results toggles enabled and a body charge that appears to stay to 60 fps. Each Xbox One variations drop to 30 fps, decrease resolutions, and decreased graphics sliders. Specifically, you may see much less grass and foliage on a base Xbox One, with the outcomes trying extra just like the wimpy Oculus Quest model. (The console model is at present Xbox unique. Sorry, PlayStation and Change followers.)

On a options foundation, not less than when it comes to flat-screen gaming, you are getting virtually the very same expertise. So if it can save you $30 through Sport Cross, you must try this.

Past the visuals, there’s the query of whether or not this can be a higher gaming possibility for anybody new to the meandering, puzzle-solving island pastiche. I would say the reply is finally sure, whether or not as a result of Myst‘s genre-defining basis deserves to be so fastidiously preserved, or as a result of a superb gaming completionist ought to play CD-ROM fare meant for bigger consideration spans. You may’t get far in Myst with out studying its texts, taking notes, and turning into absorbed in its plot, and that runs counter to the colder likes of The Talos Precept and The Witness. Sit along with your youngsters and this model of Myst, and no matter buy value is connected would possibly quickly soften away as you peel its mysteries away collectively.

In the meantime, PC gamers can count on the same old slate of visible toggles, which Cyan fortunately exposes to gamers for straightforward tweaking. Since that is the unique Myst we’re speaking about—not up to date with large, strolling robots or high-speed motion sequences—you’ll be able to arguably get away with an emphasis on visuals over excessive body charges on older PCs. Must you wish to peel again some frames, this model of Myst consists of two upscaling choices: Nvidia’s DLSS, which is unique to its RTX graphics playing cards, and AMD’s FSR, which works on a bigger number of each AMD and Nvidia GPUs.

I’ve examined each DLSS and FSR in video games that assist each, and my common conclusion has been a vote in favor of DLSS, which is admittedly an apples-versus-oranges showdown. DLSS can faucet into devoted GPU cores to do its work, whereas FSR cannot say the identical, so it errs on the facet of minimally invasive visible trickery. FSR is at its finest once you’re high-quality working a decrease base decision anyway, however solely DLSS actually neatly builds a brand new pixel mannequin on high of a decrease base decision. The identical bears out in Myst 2021. It’s extremely difficult to show this out in single screenshots, as a few of every tech’s trickery is healthier represented with shifting pictures, however you’ll be able to see Nvidia finally win in comparisons, albeit in precisely noticeable methods, within the above screenshot comparability gallery.

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