Riven – 27 Years Later, Returning to the „Mystical” World

REVIEW – Cyan Worlds is back with a remake of its 1997 sequel to Myst. Though the puzzles can sometimes be quite intricate, the journey is beautiful, serene, and thrilling.

 

The creators of Myst, Cyan Worlds, have been diligently reviving their classic Myst series while also expanding their portfolio with similar environmental puzzle games like Firmament. So it’s no surprise that after Myst and Firmament, the team turned their attention to the 1997 sequel, Riven. This remake introduces a more explorable world filled with stunning scenery. While puzzle solutions and progression can be convoluted at times, the adventure remains a captivating experience.

 

 

A bold rescue across dimensions

 

Riven picks up almost immediately where Myst left off. Players once again step into the shoes of the previous game’s adventurer, this time with the help of Atrus, whom they assisted in stopping his nefarious sons in the first game. Now, Atrus reveals his biggest plight: his wife, Catherine, has been kidnapped and taken back to her home world, the Age of Riven. The culprit is Gehn, Atrus’s father, who became a ruler in the Age of Riven and now seeks to escape and restore the ancient D’Ni civilization. Atrus fears that if Gehn escapes, he will conquer other worlds as well.

Thus, the player is transported to Riven with the mission to rescue Catherine and capture Gehn using a mysterious Trap Book, which appears to be a portal to another Age but is actually a prison (similar to the books that trapped Atrus’s sons in Myst). Many narrative elements unfold similarly to the original. The main difference is that the FMV sequences have been replaced with 3D models, and the world is now fully explorable and observable in 3D, unlike the static screens and limited movement of the original. While the FMV had its charm, the well-animated characters make up for it. Exploring Riven is a delight, with special events and Easter eggs adding to the fun. Many of the original endings return, offering some replayability as you navigate Riven’s journey and make different choices.

 

 

A world of puzzles like never before

 

Riven’s transition to a more realistic and explorable world not only made it more beautiful but also enhanced the gameplay and puzzles. This world is breathtakingly gorgeous. Much like Myst, Riven features a series of islands that players must explore and unravel, each offering unique experiences.

The first island is a rock fortress filled with temples, alien scriptures, and various mechanical technologies, reminiscent of a steampunk factory powering sacred grounds. Soon, you cross to another island teeming with jungles and villages, with water flowing through cracked basins that you can even climb into. Each island boasts distinct landscapes and secrets to discover.

Riven’s islands are packed with puzzles and mysteries that players must solve while working to save Catherine and stop Gehn. Many challenges encountered early on can’t be solved until later, requiring new knowledge or items, preserving the classic “explore and poke everything” vibe of Riven and Myst. This can sometimes feel extremely cryptic, as it’s tough to know what to interact with and when.

One way Riven eases the puzzle difficulty is by bringing back a convenient screenshot system from Cyan Worlds’ previous games. With a single button press, you can take a quick screenshot stored in a special in-game folder. By opening your notebook, you can review all captured screenshots and reference them as needed. This is helpful for recalling distant clues and information, reducing extensive backtracking. Despite this, some puzzles remain challenging to piece together, even with this useful system.

 

 

A remake well done

 

Riven is another beautifully reimagined classic from Cyan Worlds, now playing better than ever. The puzzles and exploration are immersive, even if the frequent backtracking between islands can be a bit tedious. The returning notebook system is a great aid in easily accessing clues and information when used effectively. Overall, this is a gorgeous game worth exploring, offering a peaceful yet exciting experience whether you’re a returning player or discovering Riven for the first time.

-Gergely Herpai “BadSector”-

Pros:

+ Beautiful and detailed world
+ New 3D models and animations
+ Screenshot maker and note-taking option

Cons:

– Sometimes frustratingly complicated puzzles
– Long return trip between the islands
– The lack of FMV results in some loss of charm


Publisher: Cyan Worlds

Developer: Cyan Worlds

Style: Adventure, Puzzle

Release: June 25, 2024.

Riven

Gameplay - 8.2
Graphics - 9
Story - 7.8
Music/Audio - 8.5
Ambience - 8.8

8.5

EXCELLENT

The Riven remake is a beautifully reimagined classic that still features captivating puzzles and stunning environments. Although some puzzles are complex and the long journeys can be tiring, the new features like note-taking and 3D exploration modernize the experience without losing the original charm.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines - including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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