Friday, 21 March 2014
A quick Friday update to say I'm still really enjoying Excelsior: Phase One. I've no idea how far I've got in it or how much I've got left to go - every time I finish one quest, I'm given another one, and on it goes. I'm some celestial 'fixer' who's been sent down through time and space to sort out the disturbance in the force (as it were) in Lysandia. The back story doesn't really do much except act as a framing device and I guess explains how the two games in the series can be connected but set on completely different worlds. The graphics are very basic - pretty much a spitting image of what you'll see in Ultima 3/4, but they do the job well enough. The writing is good, with interesting characters and good little side stories. There isn't tons there, but what there is is pleasant enough. The combat is very easy to use (stand next to someone and hit A to attack) and there are some good, varied spells to cast. Even one for killing chickens, which I tried once in town and then immediately got murdered by the town militia for destroying someone's livestock! The dungeons are fun without being too frustrating - lots of mazes and puzzles, but I haven't been dead-ended yet. The one problem I do have with it is that there are tons of fetch quests and travel between towns can take an age (and the things you need are *always* on opposite corners of the map). Some sort of teleport/rapid transport system would work wonders here. At one point in the game you pick up a balloon, and I thought I'd be able to use it to travel, but alas, it's only used as a meteorological device in one of the quests. There is an object that you can drop then cast a spell to immediately warp to it, which is great, but obviously that only works with one location. I'd have preferred something that allowed me to warp to a number of towns, or something. It's a small complaint for what is a surprisingly enjoyable little game. I hope I'm going to wrap it up soon, I'm really looking forward to the next one in the series.