Ultima Underworld - Retrospective @ FaultyPixel
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November 25th, 2013, 19:43
UU remains an all-time favorite for me. Part of it is the free-form design (and the "survival dungeon" aspect, which is rare today). It was designed by clueless newbs who bit off more than they could chew, but chewed it anyway, building systems to match the adventure instead of the other way around. I loved that.
That's the thing that many articles about the games (fortunately, not this one) get wrong, IMO. Sure, it was a big deal because it was the biggest, first true 3D first-person RPG. But there was a lot more to it than a 3D environment. It did a whole lot of things in a very different way - acting kind of like a "dungeon simulator" in some aspects - and people don't give that credit. They just look at the visuals and say, "Well, that was a big deal in its time."
I think the retrospective gets one thing wrong though - the Baron knows about the "Avatar," but just doesn't believe you are the guy. That's hardly uncommon in the Ultima series. In U6, you even have to prove you are who you say you are to your old buddy Lord British himself. It's not like there are televisions broadcasting your face to every household in Britannia, or that there's some kind of official Avatar seal that only you can possess. The Baron thinks you are a lying sack of crap.
Not that the plot is particularly tight in any other aspect. I'm just saying that the premise isn't as outrageous as the article suggest.
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