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Default Ultima 7 Part 1 - The Black Gate - Sub-Optimal Paths

September 2nd, 2008, 16:06
Corvus Elrod's blog has a piece on sub-optimal paths (what I'll call "taking the scenic route"), using U7 as a prime example. Here's an excerpt:
A great, perhaps even the greatest, example of a game that effectively uses sub-optimal paths for narrative purposes is Ultima VII: The Black Gate (U7). Amusingly, U7 also provides a ridiculously optimal route via a cheat room that was inserted into the game in order to give one of the studio’s speed run competitors an unfair advantage. The cheat room provides the player with all the items needed to complete the game and direct teleporter access to the final confrontation. I highly recommend playing through U7 twice–the first time by using the cheat room and finishing the game in easily under 20 minutes. The second time by following and completing every single possible sub-quest in the game. If you have the time and are so inclined, play through a third time following only the central plot. You can then make up your own mind which makes for a better gameplay experience–the optimal path(s), or the sub-optimal path.
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