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Ultima Series: Where to start? Hints? Suggestions?

Posted at 11:39 on March 24th, 2010 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I dug out my Ultima-Collection again, after failing to really get into the series several times. The only part I finished was the sixth one, which I played per walkthrough when the game was relatively new and I was relatively young. ;) I've got some fond memories of the huge gameworld, the freedom you have exploring this massive continent, vast amounts of NPCs... probably the game really was ahead for it's time. But I'm diverging...

I know that the games are seperated in three parts of three, the first one being the Dark Ages, the second one the Rise of the Avatar, the third one the Rise of the Guardian and somewhere inbetween the Ultima Underworld Series. And yes there is also Akalabeth, but since this one doesn't want to run in my DOS-Box and I remember it to be very, very primitive, I think I really will skip this one.

My question: Which one should I start with? I tried the first and the fourth and to be honest: The first one really seems... well boring. Almost noone to talk to, the graphics, which I may be able to ignore, are really substandard and the story sounds rather standard fare. The fourth seems more promising, since there appears to be more to the game than monster bashing. Although most people still utter simple one-liners, but then all of them have something to say. For the continuity it would be more interesting to start with game 1, but is it really worth it? I read the reviews here on TGOD, but I still can't make up my mind. I thought of cheating through the first three, just to get the story, but then I could just read the summaries in the manuals (btw: One of the real strong points of those games: really informative, lot's of background, interesting to read). Your opinions?

Plus: Any suggestions what to play and pay attention to? U4 determined my class as bard, with compassion as main virtue. While I can identify with that virtue, the class doesn't sound all that exciting. Mages, my prefered class, have honesty, a virtue I can't really identify with. I know it may sound rather ridculos giving this so much consideration, but on the other hand, in my eyes roleplaying starts with identification with the character and it's quest. And since the game seems to focus on virtues and living up to them, I think this is a rather important decision. What was your "main"-virtue? Have you given that any thought, or where you more concerned about game values?

Feel free to post anything else, that comes to your mind, when thinking of Ultima. ;)
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Dear Sir, I object strongly with the last thread, and the next post.
Posted at 13:36 on March 24th, 2010 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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I'm not the biggest expert on RPGs, but I have played the Ultima games (the first six at least). The first three are very average when it comes to the plot. Evil sorcerer threatens the world, defeated evil sorcerer's wife threatens the world and son of evil sorcerer and sorceress threatens the world. If you still want to play these games, try to get the Apple II versions - those are the best ones.

It was only in the 'second trilogy' when the stuff which really made the series famous to this day started. So if you feel you can't get into the first ones, you have my word you're not the only one. It's not a crime to skip those games. Not that they're really bad, but they just not as 'important' as the ones which came afterwards.
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 13:59 on March 24th, 2010 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Start with the fourth. And then the order (following the plot order, which sometimes is very slim from one game to another) would be:

Ultima IV
Ultima V
Ultima VI
Savage Empire
Martian Dreams
Ultima Underworld
Ultima VII
Ultima Underworld 2
Ultima VII second part
Ultima VIII

Ultima VIII is a nice game by itself, but can't compare to the rest. The second part of Ultima VII is clearly rushed, you'll notice as you advance the game. And Ultima IX is awful, the gameplay is nice, they could have been made a fun game with it, but it isn't an Ultima game, the story ranges from silly to stupid and ignores all it can from the previous games, avoid it.
Posted at 21:28 on March 24th, 2010 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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Though, of course, I don't think anyone would mind if you played part 2 and 3 and wrote reviews to complete the series on TGOD ;)
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Now you see the violence inherent in the system!
Posted at 14:59 on March 31st, 2010 | Quote | Edit | Delete
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By they way, there is also an spin-off for Gameboy (including a remake for SNES), the Runes of Virtues games, a kind of Zelda clone. I barely played to them, but it seems to include multiplayer.

And also, some of the console versions of the games are a new game of it's own, like Ultima V for NES, which looks more like Ultima VI, or Ultima VII for SNES, which changes everything on the game.
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