You will find no spoilers about any Myst episode in this post.

Myst 5 came out last week, and it sold out pretty much everywhere right away. My Amazon order showed it as shipping at the beginning of October but I found one copy at Target by luck, so I grabbed it and canceled my Amazon order.

I have been a long-time fan of the Myst series, and in my experience, every Myst that comes out is better than the previous one. I already mentioned how much I liked Myst 4 : Revelation, and I am quite looking forward to immerse myself into the D’ni world one more time. Cyan has been very clear that this episode would be the last of the series, but I am hoping that they will change their mind, or that at least, the parallel Uru series will keep the adventure game genre alive for many more years.

Quick anecdote about Myst 4: I was in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago and as I was walking in the tropical forest among the lush vegetation disturbed by the screams of various animals, my first thought was that it reminded me of the Haven world in Myst 4…. That’s how good it was..

I spent an hour beginning Myst 5 this past weekend, and here are a few quick thoughts.

So far, the beginning has been a bit disappointing. I haven’t been able to travel to a main age yet, and the scenery and the graphics are not really that impressive. I guess that six months of hardcore World of Warcraft set the bar very high, and it’s disappointing to not be able to scroll at 360 degrees or to have to deal with jerky scrollings here and there.

But I have very high expectations, so don’t get the wrong impression: the graphics are up to today’s standards, and Myst 5 comes with three different ways to navigate, each conveniently assigned to the keys 1, 2 and 3. Mode 3 is probably the closest you can come to a World of Warcraft type of navigation (including complete freedom of movement, as in a first person shooter) while mode 1 only requires the mouse and one button to move around (but you are moving through static screens).

Cyan went one step further to make it easier for you to track your progress: not only can you take snapshots of any screen and annotate them, as in the previous episodes, the dialogues with the various characters are now archived as they happen, which will probably come in handy to make sure you didn’t miss any crucial clue.

I will not say anything about the story itself, first of all because I have just begun, but most of all because the main appeal of the Myst series is to discover the plot line and unravel the mystery as it unfolds before you. A hallmark of the Myst series is the radical shift between the moment where you begin the game and you hardly understand anything you see or hear, and the feeling of triumph at the end when everything (and I mean everything) falls into place and suddenly makes complete sense.

I am looking forward to this moment, but I am even more prepared to enjoy the journey that will take me there.