Ophidian Dragon blogs his way through the entire Ultima series, from beginning to end.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Review Overview!

Well, first some notes. I haven't posted in about a month. My original plan was to make a post about a curious surprise that a certain Lord British mentioned he'd send after I did as suggested by comments and informed him of my feat! However, he may have forgotten about it since nothing arrived, and if I wait too long to make a new post, it's possible no one will be reading, lol. So my plan is to make a few posts. One today will wrap up some responses to comments.

Then I'll write some summary posts going over each group of games. I figure overall they can be divided into several groups. The first is the earliest games, which were more experiments in programming and not anywhere near as cohesive (or worth playing) as the later games. The second is the sequence Ultima III, Ultima IV, and Ultima V, which to my mind seem like very similar games, although the late rone is far more sophisticated. I mean they seem to be evolving in one direction. I think there's a bit of a change in focus in VI, VII and Serpent Isle, as the style of gameplay changes significantly between V and VI and then massively between VI in VII. I'll also slide in three other discussions of the place of the spin-off games. I'll talk about how the Worlds of Ultima games in some ways were better than Ultima VI, the immersing gameplay of the Underworlds, and...um...I guess I'll talk about the Runes of Virtue games at some point. I'll wrap things up on a sour note by talking about why I think VIII and IX were failures.

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me my best Ultima experiences were in VI, Serpent Isle, and Underworld II. There are moments throughout the series that I think are highlights or just interesting to think about, and these three games had more than their fair share. Thinking about Underworld II also leads reminds me of how unrelentingly depressing that game is.

But some comments! First, I probably won't review any remakes. I've never been a big fan of remakes unless they are intended as ports or something sort of like ports (eg, Exult). To me, Ultima V isn't just a story about a kidnapped king, but it's also a spellcasting system and a combat system and a collection of tile graphics and some music, etc. That's not to say remakes aren't cool, but only that I probably won't feel the urge to play them as a part of this blog.

I was also asked about blogging other games...Probably not, lol. The most ridiculous thing about me blogging a year of video games is that I'm not actually much of a video game fan. I play Ultima. I also sometimes play Age of Empires online with a friend. That's pretty much it for me and games, besides the occasional NES jaunt (love that Solstice and Battle of Olympus). My next blog is most likely going to be on some other form of entertainment, e.g. a TV show, or maybe literature (but so many people know so much more than me about the latter). I've also contemplated going to every restaurant (alphabetically, via the phone book) in Lexington and discussing my thoughts on each of them. But for that I'd need a date or, possibly for some places, a bodyguard.

We'll see. But I'll make a note here on the off chance anyone is interested.


MagerValp said...

other games...

Not even Wasteland/Fallout/Fallout II?

GrahfZilla said...

A Fallout blog could be interesting, since it would lead straight into Fallout III's late 2008/early 2009 release.

But then would you really want to play all those weird Fallout games for the consoles too? I guess they might end up being better than the Runes of Virtue games.

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Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Thanks for the blog mate. I had followed you for almost a year, and lost track this past holiday. Just finished it up now and it made me kinda sad >< I looked forward to each new day and it was a lot of fun to read about these games. Best of luck with everything and go Ultima!

Anonymous said...

Hey! C'mon Mr Ultima blogger! I'm itchin' to hear your review!

Clarco said...

Hey Phid - I guess LB got caught up in dealing with Tabula Rasa...

In my experience, the Ultima games can be divided a bit differently: U1-3 are rather boring hack'n'slash games and to a certain extent, pointless. For example, if you do not find a ship in U2 early enough, you will mostly simply die.
In U3, if you meet poisonous creatures too early, your party will just die.
The dungeons of U2: pointless, I think. Not even good for collecting gold.

The second trilogy is something really different. First of all, with each game, the amount of combat needed is reduced and made easier on the player due to the AI system starting with U6.

I think in these three games, you can definitely see a huge development, both technically and story-wise.

The games afterwards and the Underworld series are a completely different bunch of games, though I would also consider them as two clusters.

About remakes: I can understand your feeling, though I would think that they are still worth blogging.

Gideon Kalve Jarvis said...

Your idea to review restaurants is a very good one, I think. Not so much, necessarily for the food, but for the overall experience. But if you look into each little joint and swanky eatery in the same spirit that you do your blogging of the Ultima games, then I think it will work out wonderfully, and would be extremely interesting to read.