YMMV / Riven

  • Better on DVD: The digital version is much smoother than the original version, which came on a whopping five CD-ROM's that required you to swap them every time you went to another of Riven's five islands.
  • Even Better Sequel
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • If the player was feeling doubtful about judging Gehn, their minds will quickly change after Gehn is caught doing this: After you link into the prison book that Gehn wants you to use first, we see Gehn open the book, ready to link in (releasing you). However, Gehn is carrying his custom-built musket, maybe to threaten his son Atrus, but is more likely ready to shoot him dead in revenge. This can severely interfere with sympathy the player had for Gehn's troubled past.
    • In a bad-ending,evidence that Gehn truly wants to kill his son is revealed, when he actually does fatally shoot Atrus.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • The intro actually has a too-fast-to-see frame of Gehn looking at you as a subliminal message to give you the feeling someone's watching. It's actually inside the distorted Gateway Image of Riven's Descriptive Book, giving the impression that Gehn already knows you're coming.
    • There's a door on "Temple Island", where you start - it's locked, but you can crawl underneath it. What's behind it? Nothing, except a small peephole into the temple.
      • When the temple is rotated properly, the door gives access to the valve that powers the Star Fissure scope. The reason it's locked is that Gehn probably didn't want anyone else using the scope.
    • There's a throne room (of sorts) near the temple, connected to it by surveillance camera and holographic imager. If you enter the temple, sometimes the imager will be running and you can see Gehn hurriedly switch it off - and you can't catch him before he escapes.
      • During the normal course of events, the first thing you find is the transmitting room, which contains the holographic camera, and the two surveillance monitors which show the inside of the temple and the maglev terminal outside; there's also a switch to open and shut the temple's main door. The next thing you find, just down the corridor from the preceding room, is a secret entrance to the temple. The game permits you to put the full picture together yourself: Gehn waits in the transmission room for representatives from the village to arrive via the maglev; when the maglev pulls into the station he flicks the switch to open the door, sits down in the throne, and lowers the hologram apparatus into position; his image is then projected into the temple to speak with his lowly subjects, who most assuredly have no idea that they could reach him simply by finding the door and walking down the hallway. He has a frightening amount of technology invested in making the more superstitious of the villagers view him as omnipotent. This is by no means the only manifestation of his controlling nature, but as early glimpses go it's profoundly unsettling, and gives you a very good idea of whom you're up against.
    • There's a periscope in the middle of the lake on Village Island, which turns out to be connected to another hidden surveillance room. Fortunately, when you're out wandering around the lake, it's not used. However, Cyan originally intended to have the periscope pointed at you the entire time, but it was too complex to render in every shot.
    • When you break into Gehn's office, there's a D'ni rifle and smoking-pipe sitting on a desk. But if you break in a second time, they're gone... and you don't see either of them again until you unlock his linking books.
    • Not to mention snooping around Gehn's office in general. Not knowing if he was going to walk in on you.
  • Player Punch: There's the moment where you read one of Gehn's journals. He's crying about his deceased wife, Keta, and unlike the neat and ordered previous pages, the pages on this one are stained with tears. The worst part is is that you have to trap him before you can learn about this.
    • Just in case you didn't know how much he misses her, there is also a photograph of her and a short video message where she promises always to love him "to twenty-five", which is a D'ni idiom meaning to the greatest extent.
  • Squick: Gehn captures frogs and smokes frog extract for his pipe.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: John Keston, the actor who plays Gehn, has a cult following. This is mainly thanks to his well received acting ability in the game. In fact, it is safe to assume that he is one of best actors in the Myst series.