@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.
GOG.com delivers the goods once again.51.449716 -2.149409
I finished Ultima I last year, more out of a stubborn sense of curiosity than anything else. I quite enjoyed it, though it is very simplistic. I haven’t tried the others as yet (except Underworld 1 and 2, which are super-great even despite their laughable 3D graphics and bizarre control scheme today) but I fully intend to at the very least try VII if and when GOG gets it.
I learned all I needed to know about Britannia over a 56k connection on Ultima Online (I could talk for days). Still, free Ultima IV on GoG? *yoink*
Speaking of GoG, not only are 1-3 cheap, but 4 is currently free
@unmanneddrone Yeah, for some reason Ultima and Wizardry became popular in Japan, but not any WRPG since. Maybe that’s because those games ended up inspiring Dragon Quest and after that Japan was like “Nah it’s cool. We got our own thing now.” Or maybe it’s just the fact that after those translations, WRPGs didn’t really come out on consoles again until the present day.
Anyway, so, what I’m getting here is that if I were to find a family tree of all video game RPGs, it would read something like “Wizardry -> Ultima -> Ultima 2 -> Ultima 3 -> Western/Japanese divergence -> Everything else”?
OH! and a note about the console games: They were JRPG’s, and weren’t made by Richard Garriot aka. Lord British. My friend actually owns a couple cartridges of Ultima games, and they are quite different, but actually pretty neat. They seem to retain some of the storylines and the locationsin the world.
😮 Ultima and I have history.
If you are looking for the very life source of the RPG genre, the series that begat all others. You have found it.
The legend goes that the precursor to Ultima, Akalabeth (aka. Ultima 0) … may have been THE original graphic based RPG.
My cousin played them alot, and he passed on his love of the series to me. I recall being 3 years old staring at Ultima III on a computer screen with what was then incredible graphics being absolutely hypnotized. Travelling across the world, visiting towns, being chased by monsters.
*sigh* If only it wasn’t boring as shit today */sigh*
Don’t get me wrong, its still kind of fun. I however dare you to complete any of the original 3 games. The mindset for actually playing and beating those games has long since passed. I leave it to the 1980’s.
The 4th game was notable for innovating consequence in games, where if you steal or kill someone: guards will hunt you down. The first game to do that ever. Its still really hard to play now though.
Ultima V, was pretty good. It was probably the height of design of the ‘old Ultima’s’. I little cleaner and straight forward.
Ultima VI, completely playable. Very enjoyable. Began the trademark of insanely interactive environments in Ultima games. Ie. Finding all the ingredients to make bread and popping it into an oven, and finding yourself with a loaf of bread. It did rely slightly on text based cues, like the older games, but it was quite playable in comparison.
Ultima VII. generally considered the best in the series. Refined interface, all around better production value.
Definitely one of the best old school WRPG’s.
Ultima VIII. If Ultima was more arcadey, and you didn’t have a party. An interesting experiment, and I actually really like the game. It never reached the heights of VII though IMO.
Ultima IX. The notorious conclusion. On release it was dumped on continuously by press.
However, it was incredibly ahead of its time. Like @Unmanneddrone stated, it layed the foundation for games like the Witcher. It had bugs (which are now pretty well patched) game breaking bugs.
Also its voice acting was laughable.
I ended up loving the game despite all this. I look back on the shit slinging as overblown and unfortunate. It was a game that I compared every other game release in its genre to for many years. I still think it does some things more competently. The world was beautiful and colourful and richly detailed. The dungeons were death mazes filled with impossible puzzles. Some of which I spent months on. It had was a third person action RPG done well, back when such a thing did not exist.
So… yeah. Can I show .. um… can I show you my cloth map collection?
@redswir1 I’d say you wouldn’t have the WRPG as it is today without the Ultima foundation, not to mention Ultima Online was the precursor things like World of Warcraft AND the Ultima Underworld games really did a lot for expanding upon the conceit of the FPS in much the same way as System Shock did. One of the first really effective graphical world building/inhabitation efforts in the medium for my money. Even the buggy, busted and broken Ultima 9 (which apparently was the cause of Ultima Online 2 getting shelved) was a tremendous step towards things like The Witcher.
Has a very rich backstory, too, if you’re into that. Even if you wait a while for the next Ultima batch from GoG…I’d say for your money it’d be better to nab something like the Ultima VII games, The Black Gate and Serpent Isle – that particular section of the Ultima franchise is seminal to the isometric RPG. You can really see them shine through in things like Baldur’s Gate.
Takes a lot to get me interested in fantasy, but the Ultima series definitely deserves its place at the table.
Other squaddies will definitely have a deeper and more profound love, no doubt.
@bluesforbuddha@bowlisimo See, in the original Deus Ex I decided to go mostly stealth, but dropped my pacifism rule for certain kinds of people. Specifically: MK12 members and anyone else who was obviously “in” on the whole corrupt shadow government deal. I would stay mostly cool, gas my way into that Hong Kong corporation’s front door and past the receptionist. As soon as an alarm went off down in the labs though, I basically turned into Ziyi Zang with that nano sword.
I am considering doing the same thing with the mercs in Human Revolution. I am especially considering doing this since I spoiled myself into finding out about a part later on where some of the dudes can permanently kill one of your dudes.
Now I need to ask if anyone here has played Ultima. The first three games just hit GOG (totoal of 15MB WTF?!), and looking at screenshots of them has given me a glimpse into the time before time. At what point do the Ultima games have, like, actual graphics?
Look, I’m 25 years old. I was born in ’86 and started gaming in ’90. NES is about as far back as I think I could go, though according to my research there were console versions of Ultimas 3-6. So what is the significance of that franchise? Is it like the Dragon Quest of the west or something? I remember reading that the guy who directed Final Fantasy XII and Tactics was heavily influenced by Ultima.