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Default Which of the Ultima is the best for start?

April 3rd, 2008, 13:33
Hi,

okay, I admit, one of the series which went past me was Ultima. The only installment which I've played was Ultima Underworld (which is not either the part of the main serie). So which of the parts would you recommend as the best for playing (and starting with the serie).

Thanks!
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April 3rd, 2008, 13:55
If you really wanna play it and have never played it before Id recommend akalabeth - ultima 0. Also you might wanna consider playing the fan remakes instead of the old versions.
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April 3rd, 2008, 14:39
"Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, first released in 1985 (USCO# PA-317-504) for the Apple II, is the fourth in the series of Ultima computer role-playing games. It is the first in the "Age of Enlightenment" trilogy, shifting the series from the hack and slash, dungeon crawl gameplay of its "Age of Darkness" predecessors towards an ethically-nuanced, story-driven approach. In 1996 Computer Gaming World named Ultima IV as #2 on its Best Games of All Time list on the PC. Designer Richard Garriott considers this game to be among his favorites from the Ultima series."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_IV

I haven't played the ultima games either. However I'm gonna begin from Ultima IV sometime next summer (I have made plans ).

It seems like the fourth one is the best place to start. I once tried to begin playing the ultima series from number 6 but it didn't feel good cause the game pretty much assumed I already knew all the characters. The earlier ones (0-3) seem a bit too simplistic and crude, even for me. And I don't touch mods or fan-remakes. I always go for the original. I won't even touch emulators.
(And yes, I have an old dos pc… two, actually.)

Of course, someone other than me, might be interested in something like this:
http://xu4.sourceforge.net/index.php

By the way, I also have the Ultima IV for the NES!
Does anyone know if it's ANY good? Any good at all? Or should I just sell it for a very high price ?


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Last edited by Zakhary; April 3rd, 2008 at 14:46.
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April 3rd, 2008, 17:12
Hard to say which is the best for a newbie of the series because all games are old. The games are looong and most were made before the invention of the auto-map.

Ultima 9 is the weakest game , but itīs not as bad as the reviewers made it. Itīs similar to the first Gothic (minus the cynism and the complexity; which means Gothic is clearly better in just about everything). The good thing is that it looks decent and has a tolerable interface. IMHO the scores of an up-to-date U9 would be quite solid nowadays, because itīs a serious RPG and not only hack&slash.
The U5 remake for Dungeon Siege sounds like a good idea. I havenīt played it, but U5 is said to be one of the best games, and DS only provides the technology. I think even our own review said the remake is great.
U7 Exult is an obvious suggestion.
Anything before U5 is probably unplayable nowadays.
U8 aka Super Avatar Bros. is a matter of taste.
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April 3rd, 2008, 17:39
Ultima I-III are fun games, but while technically there is an overriding story arc, it's not that important to the games themselves or for Ultima IV-IX. There are some references to the events in I-III, but not enough that you need to have played them to catch on.

Ultima IV is probably the best place to start as the story arc of the Avatar runs from IV to IX (though it is referenced that the Avatar was actually the player from I-III as well, just not called that).

Here are my thoughts on the games:

IV- Quest for the Avatar - Obviously the place to start. There is a NWN module on it, but from what I read, it was severely limited by the NWN engine so I wouldn't recommend it to get the 'real story'. Granted, I knew what I was doing since I had played it before, but I finished the entire game in something like 8 hours a few years ago. It's amazing how much quicker the game goes when you don't have the long load times of the C64 holding you back!

V - Warriors of Destiny - As much as I loved U7, Ultima V has always been my favorite. It's a dark tale, but expertly done. I'm on the fence whether to recommend U5: Lazarus or not. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED Lazarus, and they did an amazing job of recreating it. However, for a modern game, because they so painstakingly tried to recreate the character and leveling systems, it seems a bit simple and some newer players didn't like that. Obviously a conscious choice by the dev (and one I support), but if you haven't played the original, it might turn you off. Also, I found that it became very unbalanced towards the end of the game.

VI: The False Prophet - The start of the new breed of games where we were no longer confined to monochrone (or 4 color) pixels. However, be careful. The story is great, but it is possible to literally skip half the game. There are several plot holes, and when I first played it, I unintentionally skipped to about 2/3 through (hint don't go to the Gargoyle City until you absolutely have to!). The U6-project is apparently coming along nicely, and hopefully will be as good as Lazarus (it is from what I've seen so far). Due to the plot issues in the original, I'd almost recommend the remake, if it were already finsihed. (also not the two spin offs were pretty fun, though not important to the story arc).

VII - The Black Gate and Serpent Isle - Absolutely amazing. Runs fairly well in DosBox, but I prefer Exult, if for nothing more than the better scaling of the graphics.

VIII: Pagan - Sad to say I never played this one for more than an hour or two. I may try again, but I couldn't get into it. From what I have seen of IX, the story isn't that important to the overall story arc, so I may never get to it.

IX: Ascention - I've had it for 9 years and finally started playing it. When I first got it, my PC wouldn't run it. Then I tried it years later and found it awful. I'm trying again, just for the closure. HIGHLY recommend using the unofficial patch as well as the community dialogue mod which makes it tie in better to the previous ones. It's a struggle getting through it, though in and of itself, it's not a bad game, it's just not a traditional Ultima game. It's like reaching for what you think is a Coke and getting mediocre Iced Tea. It just doesn't taste like you are expecting.

I sincerely hope that once the U6: Project is done, an effort will be made to remake U9, maybe using project Britannia, with the so-called original script.

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Last edited by blatantninja; April 3rd, 2008 at 17:48.
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April 3rd, 2008, 17:44
Originally Posted by Zakhary View Post
By the way, I also have the Ultima IV for the NES!
Does anyone know if it's ANY good? Any good at all? Or should I just sell it for a very high price ?
Richard Garriott said he was never happy with the way the ports turned out, but I played the U3 port and thought it was great. Not sure about the U4 port.

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April 3rd, 2008, 18:34
play VII , it is beyond doubt the best roleplaying game ever!
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April 3rd, 2008, 19:25
0-2 are exercises in game design

The series really came into its maturity with 3. It was, along with Wizardry and Print Shop, the most sophisticated and well made program to date and it even included sound if you could get your hands on a mockingboard. U3 was the standard every other gaming company aspired to.

U4 and U5 essentially built off where Garriot had taken U3 but of course U4 is a new paradigm in the way games were made.

Each Ultima essentially tried to outdo its predecesser. The results were fantastic in U3 and U4, disastrous in U8 and U9 and were a mixed bag in U2, U6, and U7, the UU's and the two U6 spinoffs. I'm not saying the UU's, U6 and U7 weren't great games but they required hardware that the average gamer simply did not have or couldn't afford.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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April 3rd, 2008, 20:06
If you like tileset gfx, go for Ultima V, that's where I started my Ultima addiction… if you like isometric and a bit nicer graphics, start from VI.
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April 3rd, 2008, 20:13
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Ultima I-III are fun games, but while technically there is an overriding story arc, it's not that important to the games themselves or for Ultima IV-IX. There are some references to the events in I-III, but not enough that you need to have played them to catch on.

Ultima IV is probably the best place to start as the story arc of the Avatar runs from IV to IX (though it is referenced that the Avatar was actually the player from I-III as well, just not called that).

Here are my thoughts on the games:

IV- Quest for the Avatar - Obviously the place to start. There is a NWN module on it, but from what I read, it was severely limited by the NWN engine so I wouldn't recommend it to get the 'real story'. Granted, I knew what I was doing since I had played it before, but I finished the entire game in something like 8 hours a few years ago. It's amazing how much quicker the game goes when you don't have the long load times of the C64 holding you back!
That pretty much confirms what I've understood so far by doing some reading
from various places. Now the only thing left for me to figure out is wheter to play the ms-dos or nes version. The story-arc aspect is very important to me.
And ultima IV has this glorious legendary reputation of one of the best games ever.


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April 3rd, 2008, 20:17
"Like Ultima III, Ultima IV was ported to NES by FCI and Pony Canyon. This version, titled Ultima: Quest of the Avatar, was released in 1990.

The overall game had not been changed much, though the approach was very similar to other console RPGs of the time, particularly Dragon Quest and NES Final Fantasy games.

Graphics had been completely redone, as was the music; the overall graphical and musical tone was close to the feel of the Japanese games. The dialogue options were quite limited once again. Another change is that you cannot have all seven recruitable characters in your party at the same time, as you could in other versions. Any character over the four you could have would stay at a hostel at Castle Britannia, requiring you to return there to change characters.

However, the combat system was fairly close to the computer games, with the additional option to use automated combat."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultima_IV

That sound bad?


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April 3rd, 2008, 20:27
Ultima VII would be my place to start.
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April 3rd, 2008, 20:33
Hard to say if that is bad or not. The original game was pretty well balanced to where you needed all of the 7 recruit-ables. If they rebalanced the game to handle only 4, that could be good, but if you need different ones at different times, going back to the castle to pick them up would be a pain (though you have to go back there a lot anyway).

Sounds like they mostly just took the engine from the U3 port and adapted it for U4.

I'd go with the original, either one will look archaic by today's standards anyway.

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April 4th, 2008, 00:40
Thanks for your valuable replies!! I'll try 4 and 7 simultaneously then and let's see which one will work for me better. Thanks again and I'll let you know how it goes for me. I was wizardry freak back in my younger days and didn't get into this isometric / top view thingie but now it's different for me and I don't want to miss those classic games.
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April 4th, 2008, 00:52
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
Richard Garriott said he was never happy with the way the ports turned out, but I played the U3 port and thought it was great. Not sure about the U4 port.
Yes, Ultima III on the NES was great for it's time. That was the first Western style RPG I really played.
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April 4th, 2008, 01:10
Strangely, I never really cared for IV as much as V-VII. I tried both NWN IV mods and didn't like either also. Personally, I'd suggest Lazarus, if only for the better graphics, but I still keep the entire Ultima Collection on my HD!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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April 4th, 2008, 01:21
This is U4 with xu4 on my laptop:

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y234/Turjan/Gipsy.jpg

I didn't get to playing through it yet, though. I guess I should have saved some CRT instead of widescreen LCDs for games like this, because LCD screens tend to make the blown up images look blocky.

This aside, U7 with Exult is technically quite a step up from U4. It's much more playable for today's "sensibilities". With U4, I had problems with taking it seriously.
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April 4th, 2008, 01:25
Corwin,

I can certainly understand why you might not like U4. Though it was revolutionary in its approach to gaming, it had a lot of flaws. U5 was essentially the same game engine (though I think they actually rewrote all of it), but it seemed like they fixed most of the flaws.

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April 4th, 2008, 05:49
I'd recommend not using the NES cartridges. I don't remember which Ultima I played on NES, must have been 3 or 4, but it liked to erase my game. Besides, the pc versions just feel more authentic.
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April 4th, 2008, 05:53
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
I'd recommend not using the NES cartridges. I don't remember which Ultima I played on NES, must have been 3 or 4, but it liked to erase my game. Besides, the pc versions just feel more authentic.
Just use an emulator if you want to try one of the NES versions. The problem with those old NES carts is that the lithium batteries that are used to save the games don't last forever.
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