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Default Ultima 4 - Retrospective @ GameTap

November 30th, 2007, 16:12
A nice retrospective on Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar can be found at GameTap. Here's a sample:
Designer Richard "Lord British" Garriott had already made a name for himself with the first three Ultima titles. These turn-based role-playing games borrowed rules and mythology from Dungeons & Dragons, infusing them with innovative plots involving space and time travel. They were definitely significant works, and by converting the traditional tabletop experience of D&D to home computers, they paved the way for the PC and console RPGs we know today. But aside from the technological feat of computerizing complex RPG rules, they were hardly revolutionary.

Ultima IV, on the other hand, most definitely was. Not through its technological advances, since it looked hardly better than Ultima III. And not through its fundamental gameplay, since it played like only a slightly evolved version of what Ultima had been doing all along.

No, Ultima IV was a revolution simply because of its theme. Your goal here was not to save the world from an evil magician or a diabolical computer; your goal was to save the world from itself. Lord British, the benevolent ruler of Britannia, notices that his people are lacking in direction and focus in their lives, and puts out a call for a leader to step forth and serve as an example of virtue to the populace. If you wish to become this leader—this avatar of virtue—your job is to learn, study, and implement the Eight Virtues: honesty, compassion, valor, justice, sacrifice, honor, spirituality, and humility.
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November 30th, 2007, 16:12
What an incredible, incredible game. I still think this is the most significant crpg to ever be made. Ultima IV-VII stands even today as a pinnacle of great gaming.
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November 30th, 2007, 18:57
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
What an incredible, incredible game. I still think this is the most significant crpg to ever be made. Ultima IV-VII stands even today as a pinnacle of great gaming.
I can only agree! Those middle Ultima games 4-7 are indeed a pinnacle of RPG gaming! Alas to those younger players who never played it when it was new! Those were great days to be a gamer.

Many games and gaming worlds are forgotten soon after release, but whoever was an Avatar in Britannia will never forget the world, the companions, the quests, everything.

Too bad Lord British makes shooter MMos now.
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November 30th, 2007, 20:36
I must admit that Ultima VII was the 1st real RPG I played and I played it solidly for several months oblivious to what was happening to the rest of the gaming world.
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November 30th, 2007, 21:25
Yes, Ultima VII can take a few months from a gamer's life. Not like the current offerings, which are struggling for 20 hours.
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December 1st, 2007, 00:46
While I acknowledge the importance and greatness of the game, for me it's my least favourite of the 4-7 group. SI and WoD are superior IMO!!

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December 1st, 2007, 01:09
I thought U4 was great as well… but my favorite of the series was U5

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December 1st, 2007, 01:35
Ultima VII was my favorite of the entire series, but IV was definitely the most significant of them. It's funny, because from a pure game mechanic perspective, it was no big deal. Way simpler than modern faction systems. But in a simple game, easily expressed context - it rocked. I kinda feel it was a little bit of a missed opportunity, too… an evolutionary branch of RPGs that was never fully explored before it was dismissed and we found ourselves playing (today) endless Diablo clones.
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December 1st, 2007, 02:01
I played only V and VII but I always thought the VII real-time battle was a bit poor. It looked and played awful. Player had little control or idea what was going on. Just close your eyes and hope your party member stay alive. Othervice the game was great though.
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December 1st, 2007, 19:55
Originally Posted by elikal View Post
Too bad Lord British makes shooter MMos now.
Part of me hopes Tabula Rasa will be a flop so Richard Garriot creates a new single player rpg series similar to the Ultima series. Is that bad?

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December 1st, 2007, 20:08
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Part of me hopes Tabula Rasa will be a flop so Richard Garriot creates a new single player rpg series similar to the Ultima series. Is that bad?
No providing the men in suits are kept on a different planet. Though I enjoyed Pagan I never thought of it as another true Ultima and IX was good in bits but way too buggy (something we are use to nowadays).

I suppose like most of us he has to move forwards and find new challenges. Still we can dream.

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December 2nd, 2007, 06:21
Nay, thou nave.

I hate how somehow U3 gets lumped it with the previous II. Exodus was extremely innovative too. It not only introduced an excellent party system to CRPG's, there were adventure elements and a very tight story. Let's not forget sound! Mockingboard sound! Not just PC Speaker stuff.

It inspired clones and ripoffs such as Questron, Wasteland, Zelda, and Final Fantasy (the folks that made Questron atually purchased a license from poor Richard for it). While waiting for U4, U1 and U2 got an upgrade to U3 style graphics.

U4 took it to a new level - a paradigm shift in gaming. I acknowledge U4's accomplishments. U5 did not have a compelling story. U6, U7, and the UU's were unplayable with on hardware available at the time I'm sorry to say. By the time I got to play them they were just too dated.

And another thing, where's U3 and U4 on that IGN list?

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December 2nd, 2007, 06:25
Sorry LD, but I totally disagree with your comments on U5-7 and the UU's. I still don't find them dated, except for the graphics, and considering Eschalon is a new game, those graphics stand up very well!!

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December 4th, 2007, 07:11
I agree with Corwin. No way were those graphics dated. I remember drooling over the improvements in the games from Ultima 4 - 5 - 6. What I remember most was the mirror actually had a reflection (That was HUGE back then ) Also a lot of other tiny details. I had no problem buying Ultima 5 or 6 when they were first release and playing them. Heck, even U5 and U6 were still coming out on the commadore 64 back then so I don't think there was a hardware problem. The only real hardware problem I ever had way back then was upgrading from EGA to VGA and I don't believe there was a huge EGA VGA problem with U5 or 6.

U5 was and is my favorite. Probably not just mine since Lazurus is one of the best Ultima mods out there, next to exile of course.

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December 4th, 2007, 14:52
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
Part of me hopes Tabula Rasa will be a flop so Richard Garriot creates a new single player rpg series similar to the Ultima series. Is that bad?
I don't see how it can succeed … I've put less than a dozen hours into it but is one of those things that comes across as 'jack of all trades, master of none' - mediocre shooter, mediocre RPG, mediocre setting, mediocre … oh, you get the point. If I can sustain some decent play time I'll do a review for MMOWatch.

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December 4th, 2007, 17:24
I know lots of people who like tabula rasa and it has received plenty of fair reviews too. If you dont like it then you should propably stay away from mmogs until somthing really new is released (its all bullshit though - youll die of old age before that happens so dont) or you are refreshed and ready to play them again.

I have had two breaks - one 3 year break (after zombiemud) and another 6 year break (after UO) but after been away for long t ime I usually get my interest to mmogs back. Right now Im finding wow battlechest quite a lot of fun. 6 years ago I would have hated it.
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December 4th, 2007, 17:36
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
I know lots of people who like tabula rasa and it has received plenty of fair reviews too. If you dont like it then you should propably stay away from mmogs until somthing really new is released (its all bullshit though - youll die of old age before that happens so dont) or you are refreshed and ready to play them again.
I'm not really a MMO person, but got TR for review and am giving it a shot … but as I said elsewhere since my favorite genres are FPS and RPG it *should* have been a natural.

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December 4th, 2007, 17:51
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I'm not really a MMO person, but got TR for review and am giving it a shot … but as I said elsewhere since my favorite genres are FPS and RPG it *should* have been a natural.
Ah thats the whole problem. MMOG is not RPG except for few elements like char development, limited dialogue with NPC, etc. "Quests" are more than often simplistic excuses to kill 5 rattlings and get their tails. Also there is no "big" story (they say LOTRO is exception to this but I havent played it yet).

Tabula rasa is not FPS either. You never had to target lock into a zombie in doom to shoot it with a boomstick. And there was no "autofire". Exception to this is hellgate in which actually does shoot like FPS. You can play it like regular shooter allthough on otherhand som dont consider it as a mmo due to the amount of instancing so its questionable whether it counts. Its more like guild wars than a real mmo. Not sure how to classify them - IMOG - instanced multiplayer online game.

Good RPGs usually have good story and interesting combat (action/tactical). MMOG has nothing of those except perhaps "tactical" combat if pressing buttons 1-9 in different patterns sounds like a fun strategy game. Its more like playing piano with one hand than anything tactical. Only few mmos/imos have tried to have good story/combat (LOTRO/HELLGATE). AFAIK tabula rasa (allthough it looks like a shooter) didnt even try.
Last edited by zakhal; December 4th, 2007 at 18:25.
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December 4th, 2007, 21:50
I know we're getting far afield here, but I like the combat system in Hellgate much more than TR, and like the RPG-ish systems in WoW, EQ2, and any other MMO I've tried more than TR. It isn't terrible, but I just don't find it impressive at all.

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December 5th, 2007, 01:45
You're also getting WAY off topic!!

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