Thursday, 22 January 2015

Five Down, Six to go...wait...

Ultima 5 is done, and I have to say I didn't enjoy it *that* much. It seemed to be very grindy and with a lot of pretty boring back-and-forthing. Is that any different to any other RPG? Well, that's arguable, one thing it's certainly not very different from, though, is Ultima 4. Maybe playing those to back-to-back wasn't such a good idea, as they do feel very similar. The world is obviously the same, but there's more than that, the engine's still the same, they have the same feel, the shrines are the same, but here they're worse...you now have to visit the shrine, then take a trip over to the island of the codex, then go back to the shrine to meditate again. It just seems a bit needlessly repetitive. Okay, I could handle going back to the codex again to get the knowledge after visiting each shrine, but why then make me go all the way back to the shrine again? Especially when I need to perform exactly the same actions for every single shrine. It's just no fun. The dungeons are also the same rubbish first person mixed with top down view that only seems like a minor upgrade from Ultima 1 - or even Akalabeth. I'm pretty certain Ultima 6 gets rid of all this, though, which is a blessed relief. It's not all doom and gloom, though, the Ultima games are still very solid RPGs, and it is good fun following a trail of clues to find the next macguffin. The Shadowlords were also a good enemy - harassing you all the way through the game, and a real satisfaction to finally beat. Blackthorn was a bit more of a 'meh'nemy (my new word of the day!). He has a good set up and an interesting conclusion, but he's not really in your face enough throughout the quest. The dungeons are a pain in the bum as always, and I really wish there was an option to have the characters auto-target the nearest enemy in combat. Other than that, it was good - worth playing, but I'm glad it's over. Oh, and I did like the bit at the end when you finally return back home after saving Britannia, only to find that your house has been burgled while you've been away and all your stuff has been nicked!

Next, it's on to Ultima 6. This is a game I bought and played...gosh, must be over 20 years ago now. I remember lots of bits and bobs in it, and I've still got pages and pages of notes stuffed in the game box (with the 3.5" floppies). I don't *think* I ever finished it, but I know what happened at the end, so I'm not sure if I did finish it or if I've just picked up the ending through received wisdom over the years. Guess I'll soon find out. First, though, I'm going to have a go at Conquest of the New World. It's a fairly open-ended game as far as I know, so I'll just be playing through the campaign scenarios and seeing what happens.

Update: I tried Conquest of the New World and it's pretty much what I expected, but man is it slow. We're talking minutes between hitting 'End Turn' and being able to take your next turn. I know my old computer is a bit tired, but I don't think it would struggle too much with a 20 year-old game. So, anyway, I'll leave it in the pile, but it's not something I want right now. To the randometer, batman! Next up on the randometer is...Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals! I don't know anything about it except that Steam users seem to think it's rubbish. It looks like a modern Myst-style adventure game, so we'll see.

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