Riven Post Mortem

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I am done Riven. (Willing to offer my copy for sale or trade with some other recent title of approximate $50 value, send mail directly to me) I am disappointed, ultimately. It really was only Myst with a makeover. There was nothing really new in there, The book-reading for clues and story stuff was localized in several info dumps rather than spread around well, and all the action took place in the one world. Sure, the islands looked a little different, but ultimately, it was all one feel. The thing I liked about Myst was the different feels, the mood, the atmosphere, of the various worlds. Myst lacked this. Somehow I wanted them to go MORE into the world-travelling in this one. I was expecting to go to prehistoric worlds, etc. The other problem I had was that I hate puzzles that require a lot of tedious work once you get the Aha! experience. Forcing people to do stupid mindless things for the sake of upping the "X hours of gameplay!" figure is really poor. I was hoping they'd be more about figuring out how the machines worked in some sense other than just push this and that happens, turnn all the levers on. Like the machines in Obsidian were GREAT for this. (Obsidian, if you've not played it, is worth it. You wouldn't expect good things from a Rocket Science/Segasoft title, but this was good. It's a geek game. You need to learn chemistry and turing machines to finish some puzzles.)

Anyway, that's it from the Cyan front. Let's hope no one decides to make clones of this. Dammit, I want CHARACTERS in the game. Obsidian had some fun ones. Riven was... dry and empty.

-- Michael Johnson (aries@media.mit.edu), November 13, 1997

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