The original Myst game was ground-breaking in graphics, unusual puzzles and an immersive world. Many adventure game players started the genre with Myst and prefer this type of game. Myst III Exile is a return to the style and feel of the original.
This is a game of careful exploration, observation and being patient. As with the other Myst games, this features beautiful 3-D graphics, good music, with minimal character interactions. Use sight and sound to solve the puzzles that will unlock the world.
There is a small basic story behind this game. While you visit Atrus who can create worlds and write linking books between them, a madman breaks in and steals the most important book. You follow using a linking book, and find yourself in a world originally set up to train Atrus's sons. From here, you need to find the links to the three worlds set up by Atrus and piece together the story of the madman.
This game, like its ancestors, is one primarily of exploration and discovering the interactions between objects within the world. The interface can be in either Free Look Mode where moving the cursor moves your point of view or in Cursor Mode where you can carefully explore one area of the screen and your point of view only changes when the cursor is at the edge of the screen. Most of the game is better played using Free Look, but you will need to switch to access your (very small) inventory. There also a few times when Cursor mode makes finding smaller hot spots easier.
As you move around, look carefully for alternate exits and for pages from Saavedro's journal. There may be exits in directions you don't expect or two different paths very close together. You will need to travel to every corner to solve the mysteries in each of the worlds. The journal will give you insight into what Saavedro is attempting to do and hints to solve some of the puzzles.
Be prepared to take notes. There are some hints on the first world you enter that will assist you in solving puzzles. Other times, you may need to record patterns or how to return to certain spots.
When you have solved the puzzles on all three other worlds, and get access to the final book in the central area, save Myst III. There are alternate ends to the game. Several of them are very bad leading to your death or your failure to retrieve the stolen book. There are two endings with you retrieving the book, but only one is a good ending.
The game requires CD 1 to be placed in the drive to begin. Very irritating when you have a CD from the game in the CDRom drive, just not number 1.
The nature world is too much of a maze. Urk.
Myst was a leading game of its time. This game, while not groundbreaking, is a worthy successor with similar puzzles. No critical timing, few hunt the pixel, and the possibility of death only appears right at the end of the game. The game is suitable for all family members though younger members of the family may need assistance.
If you need a hand getting through the game, try Sinjin's Guide to Myst III (a complete walkthrough with screenshots or Universal Hint System which gives you a series of clues on how to solve specific puzzles.
This game, unlike Riven, does expect you to have completed Myst. Not that you need to have solved those puzzles, but if you have completed Myst you would know about Atrus's sons Sirrus and Achenar. If you haven't played Myst it's sufficient to know that they were both evil (in different ways) and that they are forever trapped in books with no links.
Presto Studios, responsible for this and the brilliant Journeyman 3: Legacy of Time has shut shop. Very sad for those of us who have admired their games.