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Endings Will spoil game endings, of course

#1 User is offline   thistle 

  • rehlyihmah (the unseen)
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Posted 19 July 2014 - 05:40 PM

Hello friends,

I've recently completed the Myst saga (excluding Uru, but feel free to comment on that as well), and I've been contemplating their respective endings, or rather, the approach to endings.

The beginnings of Myst games seem generally to be oblique, allowing the player to unravel the mystery as he or she plays through the game. Endings, of course, need to be definitive, and I find they largely determine how I feel about each game overall.

Here are my thoughts specific to each game...

Myst: Sure, there's a bit of a "That's it?" feeling, but in retrospect, I feel that Myst's anticlimactic ending was a stroke of genius. It cements the idea that this isn't your usual video game where we'll be showered with gold or anointed ruler or marry the most beautiful lad/lass in the land as a reward for 'beating' the game. In fact, Atrus is busy with much more important things than you, mysterious as your arrival may have been. The entire game disrupts the traditional story arc, and the ending is key--which may understandably bug some people, but I think it's brilliant.

Riven: I admit I was not thrilled, at first, to be cast out to drift among the stars, as eeriely beautiful the 'good' ending is, although I did like the understated reunion between Atrus and Catherine. But perhaps what I like best about Riven was how many 'bad' endings they filmed, each fascinating in its own right. I think the details they poured into alternate endings helped make Riven such an immersive experience; the fate of the world is indeed precarious, with more ways to fail than to suceed.

Exile: I'm ambivalent about the decisions that the player must make to reach the 'good' ending, but that aside, I think Exile's ending for me fell particularly flat because by the end of the game, I cared more about Saavedro than about Atrus and Catherine (especially Exile's Catherine). The view of Narayan was lovely--but the simplistic, poorly written cinematic of Atrus and Catherine was an uninspiring note to end on. Atrus' speech helped patch that over, but barely.

Revelation: I was very disappointed with the plot in this one, and even hoped there would be an entirely alternate ending where Sirrus was not evil. I felt that the player's 'choice' was too contrived, and Achenar's death melodramatic. However, Atrus' final monologue was lovely... so I left the game on a good note. I liked that the brothers ended tragically, and that the game designers didn't paste on too saccharine an ending. (Seems like my reaction to this one was the direct opposite of Exile.)

Myst V: I don't know what to think of this one yet, having so recently completed the game... I didn't mind the ending, but felt it erased some of the uncertainty and sadness you'll find in most other Myst endings, which (bizzarely) made Myst V feel a bit empty. (Plus, Esher's end was pretty campy.) I should be glad everyone's happy, but I guess the end of Myst V really means that the mystery is over, forever, for the stranger...

Please feel free to disagree! Would love to hear your opinions, as well as thoughts on if there's a particularly 'Myst-ish' approach to endings...



#2 User is offline   RobertMakes 

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:36 AM

Congratulations! I hope your journey through them was stellar! So anyway, thoughts...

MYST: I completely agree, the ending (the "good" ending) makes perfect sense. I think a traditional ending jumping to credits would have taken away from the fact that you're supposed to be trapped on a island. A pat on the back for doing a good job and then being left alone to wander makes it feel more real in context.

RIVEN: I like the ending. It connects the first two games together so nicely. The star fissure you fall into at the end of Riven is the same that the Myst linking book falls through at the beginning of Myst. That's how the stranger (you) finds the book in the first place, it fell into our world. So the end of Riven isn't about drifting among the stars, it's about finally going home. Something you didn't get to do in the first game. Also, yes, the fact that there are so many different other endings is great! I didn't even realize that there was one were you could get shot until recently!

EXILE: I think all the games after Myst and Riven are full of mixed feelings. Saaverdo's happy little ending was great. Absolutely. And sure, the cut scene when you go back to Tomahna may have been a little flat, but seriously you had to return the book anyway so you can't really end right after Saaverdo leaves. Now maybe after Saaverdo's farewell, a cut scene mixing Atrus's end speech with you returning the Releeshahn book (rather than you going/clicking to return it yourself) would have been another way to end it? I don't know. The problem is mixing a satisfying end narrative with a [mostly] free-roaming, decision-making gaming experience. I don't see how Exile could ended in the same way Myst ended.

REVELATION: What makes the player's decision feel contrived to you exactly? I just want to know where your thinking is on this. The details are a bit foggy in my head anyway. I just remember wanting more of an ending even during Atrus' speech. Revelation is definitely a grab bag in my book. For instance, it has some of the best pre-rendered graphics in any Myst game, but the camera quality for the live-action parts seems low. And some feel the Dream elements take away from the classic Myst experience. But overall, Revelation is still cool and the ending is alright.

END OF AGES: The endings are okay. The lack of "uncertainty and sadness" you're talking about stems from the fact that game is supposed to be the end of the series, so they wanted it to be more certain and happy. There are just so many other things that bug me about EoA. One problem I have is that it's plot is such a departure from the other Myst games. I feel that EoA should have been called URU 2 or a stand alone spin off. It's just so different. I heard recently that the game was thrown together with leftovers from URU and that the story was an arc for Myst Online that would have been explored over time. Instead it was all crammed into one game. My point is I think the endings (and story) would have been better if they were able to do what they originally wanted to do with it. This isn't to say that I don't enjoy End of Ages. There are many aspects I love about the game. I just wish they were executed better.

I like Myst and Riven the most. The games and their "proper" endings compliment each other so well. But the variety of endings in each installment is something I enjoy about the Myst games.

#3 User is offline   tbr 

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 03:53 AM

There's a pattern in all of the games of setting up an important binary choice near the end.

Myst - which brother should I free? The correct answer of course is neither.
Riven - should I use the linking book when Gehn offers me? Maybe this one doesn't quite fit in with the rest; if you paid any attention to the story, it's pretty obvious you should use the book.
Exile - should I free Saavedro? Either way will "win" the game, although not freeing him isn't quite a "good" ending.
Revelation - silver or amber lever? Blargh, this is such a bad part of the game...
End of Ages - should I give the tablet to Yeesha or Esher? Like in Myst, the answer is neither...

In the later games, these choices feel kind of tacked on, like it "has" to be there to follow the tradition... In Myst, the question "who should I trust?" is there from the start, and only in the end, when you can choose, you realise you should trust neither. Revelation especially is so bad, because you suddenly find yourself in this contrieved situation, where you focus more on the horrible acting than on the choice you have...

As I wrote, I'm not sure Riven's choice counts - there wasn't a lot of "tradition" to follow at this point, it's not quite at the end of the game, and it's rather obvious what you should do.

One thing I really like with Riven is the way it ends with a bang - the whole world is destroyed. It's kind of like the way many movies and other stories end with an important character dying - it very clearly brings the story to a closure, if a sad one. In Riven, it's not a character that has defined the story and that you've grown to know and like, it's the world you've been exploring all this time. So obviously, the world has to go!

#4 User is offline   Topher Bear 

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 03:49 AM

Though I agree that the choices feel more tacked on in the later games, end of ages was much more reminiscent of original Myst. All the way through you are trying to decide who is more deserving, Yeesha or Esher? And in the end the answer is neither!

Personally I found Yeesha more and more deranged and wouldn't want to give it to her, Esher almost had a deserving cause. I felt his reaction when you do give it to him was very much out of character.

Revelations was so bad I've mostly forgotten it. I didn't like the way it was kind of opposite to original Myst.

Although Riven was a choice to use the book or not, basically you were backed into a corner, if you don't use the book you just keep exploring the islands forever. There is no other progression until you do (as long as you stay away from Gehn's lair)

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