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Review: 'Myst V' a grand finale for series

By Marc Saltzman
Gannett News Service

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In "Myst V: End of Ages," players travel to four unique worlds, or "ages."

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One of the longest-running and most popular PC game series of all time is finally coming to an end.

The aptly named "Myst V: End of Ages" offers some closure to fans who became captivated by the beautiful but challenging point-and-click adventure games -- many as far back as the original "Myst" in 1993 for the Macintosh and Windows platforms.

Though not without a few shortcomings, the fifth and final game in the series is a worthy conclusion.

Without spoiling the story, which is one of the franchise's greatest strengths, "End of Ages" begins as you're chosen to restore the lost empire of the troubled D'ni civilization by traveling to four unique worlds, or "ages." Ultimately, players are forced to make a decision that will affect the future of the D'ni people.

Game play has remained the same over the years: Players navigate surreal worlds from a first-person perspective, solve increasingly tough logic puzzles, and, in a departure from the original game, you must also interact with lifelike characters who can help or hinder your progress.

Unlike past games, however, you can now choose from one of three ways to control your character: the classic click scheme, whereby your character will only take one step at a time; a "free look" mode that lets you move around using the W, S, A and D keys; and a third that serves as a hybrid between the two for newbie players.

Also new to "End of Ages" is the use of Slates, which are best described as stone tablets that can be engraved upon to travel to new worlds or solve puzzles.

Slates also are used to communicate with the strange Bahro creatures, a species instrumental in helping you through this challenging single-player game.

While both graceful and gratifying, "End of Ages" isn't a perfect adventure.

Players may find themselves bored with the lengthy and overly dramatic character dialogue that makes up a good part of game. Also, while the game makers are finally letting players move around the world freely instead of the often-criticized "slide show" view of these beautiful worlds, "End of Ages" is ironically less interactive than past "Myst" games.

Fortunately, these complaints do not take away much from this grand finale.

"Myst" fans may be disappointed their favorite adventure series has come to an end, but they won't be disappointed with this game.

"End of Ages" is a fun and sometimes tough title that's perfect for those who enjoy story, dialogue and puzzle-solving instead of action games with gratuitous violence.

"Myst V" is rated E for everyone and retails for $49.99.

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