Review by DarkKusanagi

Reviewed: 05/12/04

Y is everyone bashing this great game?!?!

I have played a few of the old Ultimas, so I can see where some people anger comes from with missing story elements. But I believe the rest to just be nitpicking. I mean, this is personally one of my all time favorite games, and always comes into conversations when me and my friends talk about greatest PC game ever. I was shocked to find the bad reviews this game got, and wanted to post my review to persuade people not to pass this game up (albeit they will have a hard time finding it now).

Graphics (10/10)
They did a superb job on the graphics. I'm playing through the game for about my 5th time now, and the graphics impress me just as much now as they did when I bought the game 4 years ago. The characters are very well done, as is the weapons and armor. Even the everyday items such as carts and haystacks are well animated.The landscape is captivating, with a variety of plants and geological structures to see, to the wonderfully done cities and towns. The dungeons can be kind of bland at times, but then again, dungeons aren't supposed to be pretty and pleasing ^_^

Sound (9/10)
There are alot of familiar tunes in this game to people who have played past Ultimas, and those who haven't, well there is plenty of music in here to take you on your quest to save Britannia. I sometimes find myself humming some while I'm going about my day. It really fits with the game. The sound effects aren't bad either, although some people who nitpick might be annoyed that a rapier being drawn sounds the same as a mighty claymore being drawn. The voice acting is very well done. I don't think they could have picked better actors.

Story (9/10)
I couldn't remember the story very well to any of the past Ultimas, probably because I played them so long ago. Anyways, I was able to hop in on the story quite well. The story doesn't really require previous knowledge of the games, although it does add for a little bit of nostalgia when you enter the world. The story I feel, is very well done. There is plenty of non linear things to do: IE you know the next task is to go to a dungeon and retrieve a sigil, but who's stopping you from giving in to your curiosity of finding out whats on that island in the corner of the map.

I really enjoyed the gameplay. Alot of people miss the old Ultima gameplay, where you get a party and it is traditional RPG style, with Menus and such. I for one, prefer the open end Action style. You press TAB to draw your weapon and left click to hit. You also use spells which you can hotkey to a hotkey bar of 12 slots. It makes the game seem alot less boring. The gameplay is set up in a way, that you are in a land and must do tasks that are laid out for you (not going to give any spoilers) but in the process, you are free to go wherever you want. IE, did you ever think it was stupid to have to walk around a chain of mountains in a game? Well in Ultima IX you can go over them- providing you can find a way. Little things like that, and little easter eggs (talk to the woman in the house east of the Inn in Buccaneers Den ^_^) make the game different from any other I've played.

Well I guess this is really decided upon on how much you enjoy the game.
I am currently playing through it for my 5th time. It is that enjoyable. After you play through the games wonderful story and are about to face the final boss, I remember the funnest thing to do was to use the edit file thing under cheats on Game FAQs, and enable cheat mode. It would basically let you roam the lands, fighting whomever you wish, going wherever you wish, basically having total freedom. (I'd very very very strongly recommend only doing this right before the very end of the game, as doing so before will take away from the fun value).
Even though you beat it once, it's still fun to go back through and marvel at the world.

If you are looking for a game that is exactly like Ultima 1-8 you will be disappointed. If you however, keep an open mind, and try something new, you will be pleasantly surprised. You will find a HUGE action/rpg that to this day
May 12, 2004, still holds a special place in my game library. I play through this game at least once a year, it is just one of those games that you keep coming back to. Don't let the bad reviews sway you. Give it a try.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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