The Confusing Masterpiece
HPLovegamesParticipantPodcasterNovember 4, 2019 at 7:08 am #2976
Ultima VII was the greatest game where I never really knew what the hell was going on around me.
My history with Ultima games was Ultima III on the Nintendo (didn’t get very far), Ultima VII on PC (Nearly beat it), then the Ultima Underworld series (played to multiple completions with different types of characters).
Ultima VII immediately drew me in with its story, and compelling visuals. I was fascinated to find myself immediately plunged into a murder mystery instead of being sent off to a dungeon to kill rat monsters. The characters were interesting, and reacted in very human ways to my actions.
Then, at some point, I got into a fight. I had no idea what was happening. I didn’t know if I was winning or losing. I wasn’t sure if my master archer companion was actually doing more damage than the little kid with the sling, or how any of them compared to my first level sword swinging. The real time combat was jerky and confusing. I occasionally wasn’t sure if my companions had just started crap with a nearby creature, or if the creature was actually hostile to begin with.
Against wisps, I just stared at the screen and hoped for the best while things blinked and exploded.
I kept getting my characters trained when possible. I never knew when they were qualified for more training. I didn’t know the effect of the training. I often had no idea what weapon was best for them (eventually the kid had a triple crossbow, but I never knew if he was actually proficient or using it well…).
By the end of the game, I had a small army following me around. The problem with a small army is that you have to feed them. So, I would open my “backpack,” which is the HORRIBLE inventory system, and have piles of meat and cheese stacked over my keys, quest items, spare weapons, magic potions, etc. While we were successfully killing things, I felt like I was going to run out of resources to feed my guys and craft new spells. So, I ended up turning to guides to step me through the remaining quests.
That made the game feel like a job. I think I glitched just outside the final dungeon, then walked away.
At least I can say I got The Hoe of Destruction.
yozyParticipantPodcasterNovember 4, 2019 at 9:00 am #2978
For me this seems to be a problem with many older RPGs. They require a lot of investment into discovery of the correct way of playing the game. Also, I find them often quite unforgiving when it comes to character creation.
How is Ultima VII when it comes to description of spells and weapons? Are they in game accessible or is it guess work like in Ishars and Realms of Arkania?
PixParticipantPodcasterNovember 27, 2019 at 1:28 pm #3006
You don’t need to worry overly about stats in Ultima 7. As far as I’m concerned it’s barely an RPG, and has as much in common with adventure games. There was a lot of criticism at the time from displeased fans about this despite the high regard it’s held in these days. The stats were massively simplified from previous games at any rate. Combat is largely avoidable and essentially automatic when it does happen. Gameplay in U7 is more about exploring the world, talking to dozens of NPC’s and completing quests. It has a really compelling open world that you can tackle in nearly any order you like, only gradually learning what is going on and what the main quest is really about.
There was an add-on (Forge Of Virtue) released some time after the original game which added an extra island and quest. Any version you are likely to play now should come with this pre-installed. This was kind of an authorised cheat pack as if you complete the quest it will up the stats of your avatar beyond the original limits and give you a talking sword with insta-kill powers. I highly recommend completing that quest at the earliest opportunity. Combat is not the strongest aspect of U7 and this will stop you having to worry about it much.
I’m seriously looking forward to playing this again myself. I’m a massive Origin fan to the extent that I collected all the games and blogged my way through everything they ever released about 15 years back. I’ve finished every Ultima, many of them loads of times on different platforms but I rushed through Ultima 7 all those years back, didn’t give it the time it deserved and I’ve always meant to go back to it. I did play the SNES version later but it’s not quite the same to say the least. On the PC it’s definitely an absolute classic by any standards, can’t wait to give it another go.
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