@impynickers I think for now I’ll just go with Underworld. I’ve been on a roll with dungeon crawlers recently and I guess it’ll be nice to play the games that inspired almost every popular first person game on today’s console. I’ve already done System Shock 2, BioShock, and Arx Fatalis. May as well go back further.
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@RedSwirl Yes, anything before Ultima VI is going to be probably impenetrable to modern gamers.
Most critics will cite Ultima VII as the height of the series, from my view it is an excellent example of an early CRPG being ahead of its time in its attitude toward world manipulation and NPC’s having daily routines like in Skyrim. The difference is that this is 2D, old school clicking and questing. You could look at the general gameplay as being similar to a JRPG with a real time combat system, except you have an inventory and can pick up/craft objects if you want. There are also classic PC game dialogue options, which you choose to find out information you need to move forward. The story is not given to you freely, you have to question and explore.
Ultima VIII and IX were both considered dissapointments by critics and fans, but they are probably the most accessible of any Ultima games.
Ultima IX was very much ahead of its time in 3D open world RPG style, but it was practically unplayable at launch due too game breaking glitches and bugs, and some people could not get over the hilariously stiff dialogue. The game is still beautiful IMO, still very interesting, and does things that 3D RPG’s hadn’t begun to do till recently. The game is now perfectly playable with patches, and the GOG edition should play without problems.
Ultima Underworld I think holds up pretty well, its sequel I think even better. They are a lot like recent first person dungeon crawls like Grimrock and Undercroft, except true to old school fashion there are some points where you might get lost trying to figure out what to do. Easily remedied if your are using a FAQ. I think though that these are historically some of the best examples of the genre, though I think the modern versions are a little more accessible.
I have no idea where to begin with this GOG sale. For starters every damn Ultima game is on sale, but most of the early ones look way too old for my ass. How have the Underworld games aged?
The only thing I don’t like about Ultima Underworld is the bizarre and ridiculous control scheme, which tends to see you stumbling around like a drunken idiot most of the time. What I wouldn’t give for a modern remake with WSAD controls…
That said, they’re great games with wonderful music and questionable voice acting.
WHA’ ‘AST THOU DUN WIV AAHR LOWD’S DAUGH’ER ARIEL? DROPPED ‘ER BELOW TO AN ACCOMPICE AH’LL WAYGERR
@unmanneddrone Yes I would vouch for Ultima Underworlds validity. Both the first and Second are great. The first for its relevance in gaming history, second for its relevance as an actual Ultima game. That and Warren Spector had his god like hands all over the first game. Really great interfaces for their day, and the game played really well. Some aspects are still a little cryptic for modern gamers, but most games were like that back then. Totally worth checking out.
@unmanneddrone The FUUUUCK?! I honestly had never heard of the Source mod until now but looks like something I’d always thought of – answering the question of how to make a medieval first person war game.
Personally I still think melee combat is still an advantage of the Japanese, but that’s arcadey beat-em-up combat. It’s nice that more people are trying to not imitate that route and go with something that at least vaguely resembles operating both a sword and shield. Ironically, the one game to do this the best in my eyes has been Demon’s Souls.
Other games did something similar earlier like the original Chivalry mod (which I will try out soon) and even Dark Messiah (which both run on Source actually), but Demon’s Souls was the first game I played that did it with precision. It took me less than 30 seconds to grasp that game’s combat system, and soon after I could appreciate the precise timing involved in the system. The best fights in that game are “human-shaped” bosses and invasions probably. I really hope Team Chivalry are looking at that game for reference.
It would be kinda badass if I could go viking in this joint though. The video says raid objectives are basically just that – raiding shit. Recently I’ve been reading comics – both western and Japanese, about vikings and just how fucked-up they were. Why the fuck can’t I roll up in a long-ass boat with some berserkers and just start tearing up saxony?!
The other thing I’m liking a lot right now is the move towards more realistic, or at least more authentic-looking medieval armor. To be perfectly honest the kind of armor you see in games like Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age are precisely what kept me away from western fantasy for so long – the art design just doesn’t look very interesting and is honestly a bit laughable, even in Skyrim. I know most Bethesda game mods basically amount to anime porn, but I’m seriously considering downloading this particular set of Skyrim armor: http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/21228 I just love that look of having plates on top of plates on top of plates. I’d take medieval Iron Man over the Dragon Bone armor any day. At least Dark Souls takes just enough artistic influence from Kentaro Mirua to look unique, yet still tries to make armor and weapons look plausible, if a bit stylish at times.
Lastly though, the reason I’m into Arx right now is purely for the dungeon-crawling, which I got back into for a bit. Maybe to get myself back in the mood for Dark Souls if some modder can fix the PC port. Either way I’ve already got Grimrock on deck. On the subject, is Ultima Underworld really that big a deal? People talk about it like it’s the greatest action dungeon crawler of all time. I think even Japanese RPG developers talk about that game. The screens on GOG look old as fuck though.
Also, I remember Underworld having a crap 3D engine with bendy textures even back then but by golly that game was atmospheric and I’m very keen to try it again.