The Myst. A game that many have been talking about for the last three decades. I've never played it, but they say it was one of the best games in the '90s. So I gave Obduction a try, as it's from the same developer's team.
I was so excited to play it, but after finishing it, I'm sadly feeling disappointed.
It's a great game, don't take me wrong. The ideas behind it are top-notch. The puzzles are exquisite and innovatively original.
Level design is perfect. It's rare to see level design this well thought out in games. And the trees! The core trees are magically wonderful when lighted up.
But there's also that aftertaste.
I'm gonna skip some obvious things, such as missing graphical optimization and a flat 2D-like sound. If you hear cicadas, they are always on the left side no matter where you turn. Those are one of the things that although, they are there, are not so important to me.
Speaking about important things, let's say it frankly.
The UI is not so good. Especially in the settings. It doesn't follow any of the design principles, such as the proximity rule. Design-wise it feels unfinished. Also, you can't change keyboard controls. Screen capture is forcibly tied to the space bar. So no matter how many times you accidentally press it, you can't change it. It's the biggest key on the keyboard. The same goes for the right-click.
Some of the in-game controls were so confusing. The gear shift in the Kaptar is one of those. It's very unintuitive to rotate the lever around the circle. It's a remarkable idea yet very poorly executed. Also, rotating inset swap capsules was unintuitive. Plus targetting by blue laser could be done outside the cart, so you can actually see around when driving and aiming. So you don't need to just look through the monitor.
The biggest nono in the games is the absence of the map menu. I don't want to be rude. It was excusable in the last century.
Today it is just an arrogant developer's way of saying: "Our players must learn our world by memory. We, the developers, who have spent years creating it, will force you to know it by memory as well, no matter the cost. And to the level that we remember it. There is no way around it. Get used to it."
I love exploring, finding new areas. And exploring is fun and very welcome, but hey - there should be an easier way to navigate around than trial and error. None of the players like this. Hunrath was forgiving with that as you could navigate by surroundings, but Kaptar and partly Maray is another story.
The same goes for your devices, your toys. If you've forgotten where your cart is, good luck finding it. For the sake of us, players, please don't do that in the next game. Just add a map and track them automatically.
Lastly, don't split complex puzzles into two worlds. It's painful just before entering the Arai hive. I've spent around 15 minutes just waiting, staring at the loading screen, before correctly positioning the swap capsule/machine. No fun in that. Although the Maray's maze loading times were reduced, they were still there. Please don't repeat this again. There are many better solutions than loading two big worlds. I'm an SSD user with an okay CPU. I can't even imagine how painful it was for users with slower computers.
- - amazing graphics
- - top-notch level design
- - no ui map, you gotta learn it or print it
- - bad ui, ingame controls
- - ending feels rushed, the choices that lead to different endings are not properly explained