Obduction, 2

Rather more quickly than I expected, I am back to report completing Obduction, the new computer game from the makers of the Myst franchise, about which I previously blogged, for reasons that slightly soured me on the entire game. I was closer to the end than I’d thought. Indeed, gameplay implied that the central world, Hunrath, had access to three additional worlds, all of which had to be ‘connected’ in order to find the solution about the abducted humans from, mostly late 19th and early 20th century Arizona. This central plus three or four additional worlds has been the structure of all the Myst games.

But the third of the external worlds in Obduction turned out to be trivial, not a world to explore and figure out, just a world to enter to ‘connect’ another Tree and enable the game’s completion. After finishing I resorted to skimming fan sites and other sites via Google, including Reddit forums, and saw a couple comments suggesting that the creators — who crowd-funded the entire project — ran out of money and cut development of that third external world short.

I was also slightly peeved by something I could not figure out yesterday morning, and which, ironically considering my previous post, I resorted to searching online for a hint. Turns out the device I couldn’t figure out was a red herring, and perhaps I might have detected that with better graphics, since apparently some wording on that device, suitably translated, suggested its spoof existence.

The game, like all the earlier Myst games, has multiple endings, though not in quite the same way as those. The original Myst involved two brothers competing for your loyalty; Riven, the best of the Myst games, involved an encounter with a diabolical character at the end offering you various choices, which entailed your death, or a couple better resolutions. Later games worked similarly, in that they involved characters and decisions by the player about what to do… and resulted in ‘good’ or ‘bad’ endings, usually more than two.

Obduction has three endings, and there is character interaction of a sort, but not in a way as strong as all the earlier Myst games. (There is, by the way, explicit connection in Obduction to the Myst games, via a couple books in the Mayor’s bedroom that we can pick up and examine.) Again, these options feel like an unrealized potential.

So overall– a bit disappointed, but still a fan of these world-immersive puzzle games. If there is an Obduction 2, I’m there; yet I almost wish for an expanded completion of Obduction itself, which would be better.

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