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I must admit, I would not really consider myself a huge fan of the Ultima game series. I've played Ultima IV, Martian Dreams, and Ultima VII (the last of which I'm really enjoying right now), but I don't know too much of the series. But I was still surprised to see there wasn't a thread for this groundbreaking CRPG series.
I am not totally sure if too many people will post in a thread about a game series that mostly ended a decade ago (unless you count Ultima Online). But, I just wanted to put this out here to see if it gets any reaction.
edited 24th Dec '12 1:18:28 AM by doctrainAUM
Ultima was a great series. Unfortunately, I didn't grow up with it like a few of my friends, but I still found it enjoyable when I got around to it.
Its sad to see how the series turned out. Ultima IX is a terrible thing to have as a gravestone. I'd actually like to see a proper return to form for the series, but I know it'll never happen.
edited 24th Dec '12 10:07:07 PM by Zeromaeus
I hear with the right mods and unofficial patches, Ultima IX is not that bad. Still not the sendoff it deserved, but better than what it originally was.
I haven't played the first three games, but Ultima IV, V, VI, VII, Martian Dreams, Savage Empire and the Ultima Underworld games are all great. I'm particularly fond of Ultima Underworld, I think it holds up really well in terms of gameplay and atmosphere despite its age.
Ultima IX was actually the first Ultima game I played. Not the best introduction to the series, I can tell you.
Ultima Underworld is definitely a gem. Though the enemy scaling was kinda bullshit...
Due to my procrastination habits and trouble getting into the games, I didn't play very much of them (I did, however, read Nakar's LPs, which also means I spoiled myself, but then, I already knew the twist of VI). But even then I could feel the sheer greatness of IV (I swear, it has to be the most innovative CRPG ever and there is nothing else like it) and VII (Black Gate, that is). Of course, the other games (well, maybe not II) are very good too. I think I really should get back to playing them, but that goes for a lot of things...
Despite many other people disagreeing and some saying that it's age makes it nearly unplayable, I think that Ultima I is actually quite fun. It's not so hard, if you know what you are doing (even if it boils down to stat-raising-signs-spamming). Despite that, I never beat it either, but I got to the space battle section, where you fight space ships that are totally not Tie Fighters. Yeah, back then, Ultima was weird and random...
The Underworld games are awesome too, of course. In some ways, they are the origin (heh) of every free-roaming first-person game. Including FPS, if it's true that Carmack was inspired by an UU (which seems to be disputed by some). But even on their own, they are still great games.
So I decided I'm going to play through the Ultima series in chronological order. I'm pretty sure this is the correct sequence in-universe;
I just beat Ultima I and I've gotten started on Revenge of the Enchantress. I'll probably skip U8 and U9 because they're kinda... crap. It's a shame the series never got the finale it deserved.
Yeah... I wouldn't play U9...
What's a paladin?
Anyway, Ultima II is pretty weird. I'm not sure if it's meant to be set in the real world after Minax's invasion, or some alternate Earth, or if she's altered it with magic or whatever, but the world is strangely filled with orcs and monsters despite apparently being set in the real world. There's also multiple time periods to contend with, which confuses things further.
I also find it amusing that I can just walk from one end of the planet to another without any kind of transport for days at a time. Apparently the Stranger (not the Avatar yet) is a relative of the Vault Dweller.
edited 5th Feb '13 10:01:15 AM by Talby
Well, Missing Ultima 0 (Akalabeth: World of Doom) but can't blame you. Plus its more like a distant predecessor than an actual game of the series.
Yeah, I skipped Akalabeth since it's technically not part of the series and is pretty much just a prototype for Ultima I. Even some of the quests are the same. (Thou must go forth and slay a gelatinous cube!)
edited 5th Feb '13 10:15:45 AM by Talby
I hear IX gets better with an unofficial patch and a large addon that adds a bunch of content to the game, including new objects, higher-res textures, and bug fixes. It's in this link: http://www.forgottenworld.de/index.php/screenshots/ultima-ix-patchs-and-forgotten-world-releases
I've played the three first and Akalabeth, and I'm planning to play Ultima IV soon. Not really my favourite kind of RPG, but it has some really interesting ideas and concepts.
A laudable effort, but no amount of patching can fix the horrible plot and disrespect for the lore.
So Ultima II is pretty infuriating. I finally got the item that allows you to command pirate frigates, but now none of the damn things are appearing. It's also annoying how you continue to consume food even when in towns, unlike Ultima I.
Honestly, I don't think that Ultima XI, if it had been made as originally intended, would be much better than the mess we got instead. Story-wise, I mean. There is actually a summary of the original plot and... I don't like it. At all.
No, but really, there were many problems going into IX. It was never going to be all that good.
So, how do you feel about fan-made sequels/remakes, in particular those intended to replace Ultima IX?
For myself, I'm somewhat hopeful about at least one: the team seem to have put in an awful lot of work, have put out some interesting screenshots, have a decent-looking story and seem to have a good appreciation for the lore and history of Ultima (even down to having a full timeline — their own storyline elements included — readable on their site).
While a part of me does niggle at it being "non-canon", I nevertheless like what I've seen on their site and fora, and am hopeful of getting to play the final result, should it indeed come out one day. ^_^
(I'm tempted to link to the fan-game mentioned above, but am a little worried about attracting litigious eyes towards it against the (quite possible, I fear) case that they haven't gained permission to use the Ultima IP... ^^; )
As long as they aren't selling it, they should be golden.
Also, fan-made content is the only way IX could get better, so I personally don't mind.
I think some of the exposition problems with IX could have been prevented if, instead of the Avatar, you were playing as some new schlub the Time Lord called upon to stop the Guardian's fight with the Titan of Aether (AKA the former Avatar) before they destroyed Britannia. Then he'd have a reason to not have a clue what everyone's talking about.
Your knowledge of the land will be great. What's a paladin?
Really, they should have went the same route as some of the older games and just assumed you knew everything, or at least had the decency to read the small novel of a manual that should be packed with it.
edited 7th Feb '13 6:32:04 PM by Zeromaeus
Well, take out that line, and then my idea would work.
In terms of being sued for copyright infringement, as I understand it a free project may still very well be sued: it's still illegal, I believe. Indeed, I recall other free fan-projects being shut down. For example, the fan-made King's Quest sequel, The Silver Lining, got shut down a few times over the years before it was finally allowed out, as I recall.
I imagine that the project being free does increase the probability of the IP holder turning a blind eye, but I don't think that it leaves the project entirely in the clear at all. :/
Now this is annoying. In Ultima II, I finally got a blue tassel off a thief, but now I can't find a pirate frigate. I fought several before I got the tassel, but now there's none to be found. What was Richard Garriott thinking by having such an essential item be an extremely rare random drop?
edited 9th Feb '13 10:47:48 AM by Talby
With Telltale Games making a comeback due to their assets being purchased by a different company, do you think the same could happen for Origin Systems?
No. EA owns them outright already. What is there to bring back? Garriott moved on, Ultima and WC got sequels under EA and then the franchises retired after EA ran them into the ground.
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