Review by Somber Fox
Here we have what was the first story oriented game in the Ultima series. Unlike the previous five games, Ultima VI focuses much more on exploration, adventure, and puzzles than on battle. This is a good thing. The fun factor shot up another notch from the previous game.
Game play - 9/10
The battle system was given a bit of an overhaul from the previous games. While controls remain the same, now you have the option of setting tactics for each of your fighters so you don't have to manually control them all. You can for example set powerful fighters to attack the enemy's front and flanks while mages remain in the back. Battles are all fought on the main map, you don't switch to a ''battle screen'' like the previous three games.
The spell system was almost completely overhauled as well. Instead of requiring you to chant the spells and mix the reagents yourself, it's done automatically. Also, to cast a spell you must have a spellbook in one of your hands. This limits your equipment usage since the best weapons are two handed and you must unequip them to cast a spell. You must earn new spells, you can't just get the reagents and cast them. You are required to purchase sheets of paper from wizards and put them in the spellbook first.
An extra inventory feature was added, weight. Each character can carry a different amount of weight, depending on their strength. Each item has a weight and your character can not carry more than their maximum. This gets very annoying at times, especially when you need to carry very heavy items.
Dungeon exploration is completely different, and I prefer it this way! Instead of the first person view that has been used in the previous five games, now dungeons are explored in the normal overhead view. Also, you'll find that there is lots of valuable stuff in them so there is more of a reason to explore them than there was in the previous games.
The world is huge! No longer do towns look small on the map and require a switch to a new screen to enter them. It's all integrated now, one huge continuous world.
NPC speech is more important than ever. Also, the game gives you the option to have the game highlight keywords.
Story - 8/10
Gargoyles were once believed to be mythical creatures, but after the first expedition into the Underworld. At first they were peaceful and left the humans alone, but now are coming into Britannia, causing havoc.
Gargoyles have been raiding homes and villages, taking over the shrines and causing much damage. Humans have organized groups of the most skilled warriors to try and stop the gargoyles, but they have failed.
The methods that the gargoyles use suggest that they are searching for something of great value. There are even rumors that they seek the destruction of you, the Avatar.
You are to find out what the gargoyles seek and stop them if possible.
My comment: When you reach near endgame, the story gets very interesting. I'm not giving spoilers, so play the game and find out what I mean!
Audio - 6/10
There's only four music tracks in the game, they play randomly, and they aren't that great. Random tracks at random times don't help set the mood for a game.
I can't even hear any sound effects, so I can't comment on that.
Video - 8/10
Graphics are greatly improved over Ultima V like Ultima V was improved over Ultima IV. Monsters are now variable in size and can be as large as 4-6 or more tiles. In all previous Ultima games, all monsters took up only a single tile.
Items and equipment now have graphics! Each weapon, item, armor, etc. has a unique graphic on screen.
Re-playability - 6/10
As with most RPGs, once you've played the game you probably won't want to play again unfortunately.
Overall - 9/10
Another masterpiece by Lord British. This is a must play for all PC RPG gamers.
To buy or not to buy? - Another one of the ''must haves'' in the Ultima series.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/25/02, Updated 10/30/02
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