Unlike most adventure games, Myst offers no inventory, no death and no dialogue. Although puzzles don't seem to have much direct connection to the game, they share a commonality. They take on many forms but follow a consistent thread. Some puzzles are very challenging, even obtuse, creating an odd paradox: many buy but few complete it.
Riven is a success in much the same vain. You'll see the same click/move/slide-show interface, along with similar mechanical and navigational puzzles and the now-familiar "wander and wonder" gameplay. Riven's markedly improved graphics and sound further enhance the ambiance and make it even more immersive than its predecessor. The puzzles and problems are more cohesive, and there is more focus on story line.
You begin where Myst left off. Atrus has another task for you: rescue his wife from the evil clutches of Atrus's father Gehn, then permanently imprison Gehn in one of those "trap" books from Myst.
Your quest takes place in Riven, a fanciful world created by Gehn in the tradition of his ancestors--by simply imagining it and writing about it. Riven is a collection of small islands connected with catwalks, aerial trams and a mini-submarine.
Myst III: Exile concerns Atrus's earnest attempt at creating a new world. He hopes this world will mark the rebirth of the D'ni, but before he finishes his book, a thief breaks into his laboratory and mucks things up. Within each world you must right the wrongs the thief has created, all the while uncovering a deeper mystery surrounding his relationship to Atrus and his troublesome children.
New to the game is a full 3-D landscape, which replaces the static pre-rendered artwork of the previous games. The puzzles have been improved so that you can now see changes to the environment immediately after you solve one, rather than simply moving on to the next picture. Still, the puzzles are often wickedly difficult and may prove frustrating to new players.
Myst fans of old will be delighted with this new version, and those new to the series will be enchanted, provided they are willing to spend time on the puzzles, enjoy the scenery and let the game carry them away.--Andrew S Bub Amazon.com