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Default Old RPGs… which ones?

February 3rd, 2013, 15:45
I really want to take a glance at masterpieces of the old days. But without being turned off instantly by my modern experiences.

So far I decided to look at Ultima and Wizardry series, they sound like they're considered masterpieces. The question is: which games should I pick from these series to start with? I don't want to miss out on a lot of backstory and content, but I suspect that the earliest games in those series would be unplayable for me.

And please tell me that it's worth it. Because there's a lot of talk about how RPGs used to be better, but I have no idea if that's actually true or nostalgia. So I hope you'll recommed an old game that can prove the point.

P.S.
Just to portray what would capture my attention for sure, I love games with complex battle mechanics (not click-click-click), plots, and realistic characters. Once I attempted Eye of the Beholder and gave up on it, as it had no plot or characters, so maybe something more fitting to these categories would be better.
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February 3rd, 2013, 16:44
Many of the older games are quite different from the modern ones. I would not say better or worse, it is all down to taste. But they did not hand you things on a silver platter nearly as much as modern games do though.

If you want some plot, then I would recommend either starting with Ultima 4 or 5. You don't have to play Ultima 1-3 (and in fact, I would recommend that you don't, unless you want to see how far games have come since then). Ultima 4 is still rather crude, but it has some interesting story moments. Ultima 5 improves upon Ultima 4 in almost every way.

But if you just want a taste of something older, that does not feel as "dated", I would recommend picking up Fallout, or the Infinity Engine games, and then work yourself back from there. Ultima 7 is also a good starting point, and it is quite old (on the other hand, it is not very complex, but the setting is very well crafted).
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February 3rd, 2013, 17:05
If you want good battle options, you can always try Pool of Radiance. It will take some effort to get it going, but not many games will beat it for tactital options.

None of the Wizardry games have ever done anything for me, so I can't offer any help there. I'd recommend Might and Magic instead, and suggest starting with World of Xeen (4 and 5 combined). It's quite accessible once you get used to the controls.

The plots and characters of these old games are often left for you to flesh out in your imagination, so if you need cutscenes to really pull you along, then you may not want to delve too far back.
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February 3rd, 2013, 17:35
I agree with Fnord about Ultima.
As for Wizardry 1-5 all use the same "engine", and Wiz 5 was extremely outdated when it was released.
I can recommend Wizardry 6. It's an excellent game if you like exploring, some puzzle element, quite a bit of combat and a unique character advancement system.

If you like complex battles you really should try the old Gold Box AD&D games. They are my favourite of the old classic CRPG series.
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February 3rd, 2013, 17:55
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
But if you just want a taste of something older, that does not feel as "dated", I would recommend picking up Fallout, or the Infinity Engine games, and then work yourself back from there.
I played Infinity engine games and was looking for some "older" masterpieces. Am I wrong in thinking that the two series I named would fall into that category? I'm not really sure what was considered a masterpiece back in the day.

Thank you for suggestions, and it's interesting that according to the news Ultima IV is going to be remade soon, although it sounds strange: online, paid content?.. I guess I'll try a higher version just in case the remake is good. I keep reading that VII is very good, and you second it, so it sounds like a nice start.

Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
If you want good battle options, you can always try Pool of Radiance. It will take some effort to get it going, but not many games will beat it for tactital options.
The new one or the old one?

Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
I'd recommend Might and Magic instead, and suggest starting with World of Xeen (4 and 5 combined). It's quite accessible once you get used to the controls.
Oh my I forgot about Might & Magic! Heard so much about it but never tried. *puts it on the list*

Originally Posted by PetrusOctavianus View Post
If you like complex battles you really should try the old Gold Box AD&D games. They are my favourite of the old classic CRPG series.
Which one is the best? I'm a little afraid of them graphically, but if the games are interesting, graphics can be overlooked. I really just want a sort of a historical tour, in a museum of a few best masterpieces. Previously I played a few text adventures for that purpose (Zork series) and they were really nice.
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February 3rd, 2013, 17:56
Everyone has posted some good info so far, and I'm a PC gaming noob but I would recommend Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven. Very enjoyable game and very much playable today.

You get to create a party and the combat can be played in either turn-based or real-time at the press of a button. Lots of skills and stats to ponder, lots of quests, guilds, loot, etc. Very cool game.
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February 3rd, 2013, 18:07
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
And please tell me that it's worth it. Because there's a lot of talk about how RPGs used to be better, but I have no idea if that's actually true or nostalgia. So I hope you'll recommed an old game that can prove the point.
Yes, a lot of it is nostalgia. When I go back and play old games now, they just seem tiresome and repetitive.
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February 3rd, 2013, 18:40
Originally Posted by Elel View Post

The new one or the old one?
The old one. Definitely the old one. I can't imagine anyone recommending the remake.

It's the first of the Gold Box games, and the best one to start with since it eases you in at level one. I suppose you could start with Gateway to the Savage Frontier, which I remember enjoying (at least until the final battle), but I'd stick with PoR.
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February 3rd, 2013, 19:12
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
The old one. Definitely the old one. I can't imagine anyone recommending the remake.

It's the first of the Gold Box games, and the best one to start with since it eases you in at level one. I suppose you could start with Gateway to the Savage Frontier, which I remember enjoying (at least until the final battle), but I'd stick with PoR.
The new one is not fundamentally broken, and had they just hired better level designers, it could probably have been a pretty good game.

Originally Posted by Elel View Post
I played Infinity engine games and was looking for some "older" masterpieces. Am I wrong in thinking that the two series I named would fall into that category? I'm not really sure what was considered a masterpiece back in the day.

Thank you for suggestions, and it's interesting that according to the news Ultima IV is going to be remade soon, although it sounds strange: online, paid content?.. I guess I'll try a higher version just in case the remake is good. I keep reading that VII is very good, and you second it, so it sounds like a nice start.
The major CRPG series of the 80's were incredibly influential, and helped shape games into what they are today, but there are some parts of them that have aged really poorly, interface being one of them, and they are also from an era where many games were not quite so fair as modern games. They required a lot of grind and could force you to solve "puzzles" without any real hints. The games from the second half of the 80's were better than the earlier ones, though I would still recommend playing Ultima 4 with a walkthrough.

There is a story connection between the Ultima games, though a weak one between 1-3 and the later games, and a relatively strong one between 4-5-6-7-8 (consider 9 to be a separate game not part of the Ultima series, and you'll appreciate it a lot more) but yea, Ultima 7 is a nice start.
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February 3rd, 2013, 19:12
Hi, I'd recommend Fallout and Fallout 2.

I think these two have amazing gameplay, quests, storylines, memorable characters…
I think the combat is quite good too.

The games have aged quite well too in my opinion.
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February 3rd, 2013, 20:13
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
The old one. Definitely the old one. I can't imagine anyone recommending the remake.

It's the first of the Gold Box games, and the best one to start with since it eases you in at level one. I suppose you could start with Gateway to the Savage Frontier, which I remember enjoying (at least until the final battle), but I'd stick with PoR.
Of the Gold Box games, the one I enjoyed the most was Dark Queen of Krynn. Tastes vary though. It is a high-level game and can be pretty challenging at times. I'd start with PoR so you get the hang of the old AD&D rules.

The whole Krynn series is one I wouldn't mind seeing rebooted with a modern game engine and rules.
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February 3rd, 2013, 21:00
Ultima IV was the first CRPG that "blew my mind" back in the day. Take that for what it's worth, but personally I think of it as one of the key cornerstones of CRPGs in a historical sense. The interface and graphics can be troublesome to modern sensibilities, but it's totally worth it. I highly recommend playing Ultima IV through VII in sequence if you have the time. I guess if you only pick a couple of them, maybe go with just IV and VII.

Even to this day I'm using the horribly pixelated U4 avatar as my forum avatar (see to the left) in tribute to how much that game means to me.

And I second the recommendation of the Gold Box series - these will definitely give you nice complex tactical battle mechanics.
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February 3rd, 2013, 21:41
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
Thank you for suggestions, and it's interesting that according to the news Ultima IV is going to be remade soon, although it sounds strange: online, paid content?…
Ultima Forever is only going to be loosely based on Ultima IV. Gameplay-wise, I don't believe it's going to be anything like the older titles.

Imo, the older Ultima titles are tough to get into if you didn't play them back in the day. Personally, I would just go straight to Ultima VII.
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February 3rd, 2013, 22:40
Originally Posted by Elel View Post
Which one is the best? I'm a little afraid of them graphically, but if the games are interesting, graphics can be overlooked. I really just want a sort of a historical tour, in a museum of a few best masterpieces. Previously I played a few text adventures for that purpose (Zork series) and they were really nice.
There are four different series:
1. The Forgotten Realms Pools series
2. The Dragonlance series
3. The Forgotten Realms Savage Frontier series
4. The Buck Roger series

I'd recommend the Dragonlance series - Champions of Krynn, Death Knights of Krynn and Dark Queen of Krynn - personally.
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February 3rd, 2013, 23:32
It's not as well known as the Gold Box games, but another good D&D game is Dark Sun: Shattered Lands. It's got a really good, non-standard setting and some cool concepts, and feels a bit like a proto-Baldur's Gate. It's a pity that everything that's come since, with the notable exception of PST, has kept to the blandest-of-the-bland Forgotten Realms setting.
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February 4th, 2013, 00:41
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
It's not as well known as the Gold Box games, but another good D&D game is Dark Sun: Shattered Lands.[snip] feels a bit like a proto-Baldur's Gate.
Like I should have said it myself.
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February 4th, 2013, 01:20
Since the Goldbox games have been mentioned, I'd highly suggest trying both Buck Rogers games - they feature a well-integrated and ridicolously extensive skill system, coupled with a well-done sci-fi setting and interesting quests (not to mention that many events have multiple possible choices, sometimes with delayed consequences, especially in the 2nd one).

I'll also add a game which absolutely needs to mentioned, since it's one of the best RPGs ever made: Darklands.
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February 4th, 2013, 02:16
Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
The old one. Definitely the old one. I can't imagine anyone recommending the remake.
Over here! *waves hand*

"For Innos!"
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February 4th, 2013, 05:05
Thank you for all recommendations, but I can't play so many games

So I guess it'll be Ultima 7 for starters, and then we'll see. Dark Sun is actually on my list of games to play, but not the immediate one, so hopefully one day I'll get to it.

Originally Posted by Menigal View Post
It's a pity that everything that's come since, with the notable exception of PST, has kept to the blandest-of-the-bland Forgotten Realms setting.
I'd be happy to see more FR games, mostly because I've only seen NWN and BG series in that setting. And the magic system in AD&D is great.
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February 4th, 2013, 10:44
In my opinion it would be far more natural to start with Might & Magic than Wizardry, but whatever floats your boat really. MM6-8 are generally considered the best of the lot, with MM7 probably the most highly rated.

I see a lot of recommendations on *really* old games. Not sure what you're after really, but I certainly wouldn't backtrack that far myself these days. There are better options - Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment, M&M6-8, Fallout, Arcanum, Gothic. These are all classics that have aged really well and won't make your eyes bleed.
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