Since itís now for sale again after nearly twenty years via GOG.COM, when a friend told me he had never played Ultima 7, I made a gift of it to him. I was kinda excited to hear what he thought of it, but I was not immune to one noteworthy fear: What if he didnít like it? Ultima 7 was different even in its day, in an era when RPGs were a bit different from how they are today.
He promises to do a little write-up in the future, but the bottom line is: He got lost, bored, and gave up. While I donít believe heís a fan of extensive hand-holding in games, he really felt like he could use a lot more direction in U7. And to be fair Ė even back in 1992, when I first played, I hit a point where I got lost and bored and put the game on the shelf for a few weeks. Then I came back with a vengeance, finished the rest of the game within a couple of days (including one full where I was stuck at home with a wrenched knee Ė yes, queue the old Skyrim meme jokesÖ) It was a mesmerizing, wonderful experience Ė so much so that only hours after finishing the game, I re-installed Ultima 4 and started playing it just so I could spend more time in Britannia.
This saddens me on a number of levels, because U7 still remains not just a milestone, but still an old favorite. I havenít played it start-to-finish in a long time, but every time I do jump in Ė to grab a screenshot or just as a reminder Ė I find myself sucked in, talking to characters I only vaguely remember (if at all). Itís impossible to completely go back, as after a couple of sentences of dialog I find myself remembering a little bit more about the entire game and whatís supposed to happen next. So I canít quite join my friend in giving it a clean-slate playthrough.