User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Past Featured Games

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Deadly Premonition

You might have heard the phrase "it's so bad it's good" being applied to this game - and, as far as some of its quirky dialogue and gameplay peculiarities go, this is an apt definition. But Deadly Premonition also has fantastic gameplay aspects - such as free-roaming a large, exquisitely detailed town populated by lively, interesting characters with their own schedules, completing side quests and soaking in the game's sometimes campy, sometimes genuinely spine-chilling atmosphere. And let us not forget its honest-to-God cool whodunit story with some great twists and turns. No matter how you look at it, Deadly Premonition has heaps of charisma and unique charm, clearly being a product of love. Don't miss one of the most original games of our time.

Jan 31, 2014, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)


Alshark

Many years ago, a little company named Right Stuff developed a Japanese-style RPGs that achieved something only very few other games of its genre managed to pull off: it combined an emotional, personal story with freedom of exploration in an awe-inspiring space setting. We loved traveling to remote planets in Mass Effect series, but more than a decade earlier Alshark featured physical travel through space, dogfights with enemy ships, and fully explorable planet surfaces. Freedom and cinematic storytelling aren't easy to blend, but Alshark brilliantly and generously gives us both. Unfortunately, none of its versions (including the ultimate one, for PCE CD) were ever translated into English - maybe a petition for a fan patch would help?

Jan 25, 2014, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)


Mount&Blade: With Fire and Sword. Mount&Blade is still one of the pioneering leaders of insane hybrids. If you thought leading an army while manually dodging 100 bows and crossbows one the battlefield was insanely difficult enough, try dodging 15th century Cossack musketeers while being chased by Polish Hussar heavy cavalry, avoiding Muscovite spears, flanked by Khanate horse archers, only to run into Swedish heavily armored infantry.

And that's on a good day.

Depending on how powerful your PC is, that's a few hundred units per battle...which still outnumbers most multiplayer first person shooters filled with cursing teenagers jumping into trees for no apparent reason.

If your hardcore gaming habits still don't find this a challenge enough, as an expansion for Mount&Blade: Warband, additional fan made mods are still available for both Warband and With Fire and Sword, some of which make the vanilla versions of these games appear ridiculously easy.

Guaranteed to annihilate one's social life faster than AAA multiplayer titles with multiple DLCs.

Jan 18, 2014, submitted by Indra is here (19783)


The Last of Us

The last step before the jump to a next-gen consoles. The Last of Us shows the true power of PS3 and is no doubt the best looking game to date made for the current generation consoles. From the creators of Uncharted series nothing short of perfection was expected, and they didn't fail to deliver just that.

This game is a fine mix of horror-survival (think Resident Evil 4), 3rd-person action (think Tomb Raider) and exploration (think Fallout 3) and does not feel like a short story in the least. Protagonist isn't just a rundown typical hero and you're in for some nice and unexpected treats on your adventure through a post-apocalyptic cities, forests, beaches and what not. If there was a game that could force you to buy a whole console because of it, this would be the one.

Jan 11, 2014, submitted by コナン (77429)

Starflight

While marveling at the coolness of Star Control II, it is important to study some game history and remember that, no matter its undeniable quality, that game was in essence a Starflight variant. Starflight will always surpass Elite in my eyes, because, while both games pioneered space exploration genre, Starflight did it with an emphasis on discovery and alien communication, toned down the simulation aspect, and replaced trading with elegant planet mining, resulting in a more RPG-like, plot-driven experience (no matter how well-hidden the plot was). Just driving your terrain vehicle and training your communication officer so that he'll be able to penetrate the minds of Arrogant Veloxi or laid-back Elowan is addictive as all hell. It is also a rare case where a console version of a Western PC game is probably the best one of all, with better graphics and much swifter interface.

Jan 05, 2014, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)


The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Featuring a game belonging to an ultra-popular franchise may seem redundant, but I had a reason for choosing this specific installment. It occupies an odd spot within the series, having a decidedly darker setting and story and introducing the controversial mechanic of a three-day in-game clock. However, after the initial discomfort of having to get used to the game's rules I began to gradually realize how marvelous it turned out to be. Instead of just being an add-on to the great Ocarina of Time, it came loaded with personality and gameplay ideas complementing and even surpassing those of its famed predecessor. The sheer magic of its world, the depth of interaction, and the incredible variety and richness of gameplay are greater than ever before. Of all Zelda games, this one is very close to being my personal favorite.

Sep 07, 2013, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)


Shadow Tower: Abyss

Forgotten gems by FromSoftware, part II. If the phrase King's Field with guns does something to you, get this game, apply the English translation patch, and plunge into the world of delightful From-style first-person action role-playing. You've got the exploration, you've got the challenge (though the game is actually easier than any King's Field), you've got incredible atmosphere that tops everything they've done before (courtesy of beautiful and detailed graphics), and you've got... that's right: guns! I haven't yet played the first game, but this criminally overlooked sequel is a must for fans of the great company's work.

Aug 25, 2013, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)


Narsillion: Leithian Another Story

In 1999, a small Korean development studio named Garam & Baram released Leithian, an innovative RPG that combined action-based combat, party management, and Eastern-style character-driven plot. Unfortunately, the game was plagued by severe balance issues. The prequel Narsillion corrects most of them while building upon the predecessor's brilliant ideas. Basically, if you want to have some addictive Diablo-style hack-and-slash with an abundance of items and character-building coupled with party management and a strong, emotional story that takes the best elements out of Japanese RPGs, this is the right address.

Aug 05, 2013, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)

Divine Divinity

Did you enjoy the fast gameplay and obsessive collecting of Diablo, but wanted some actual role-playing in it? Did you love the writing and the rich world of Baldur's Gate but would prefer solo action-oriented combat? Did you admire the vastness of Elder Scrolls games but wished their worlds were populated by interesting characters? Well, this underrated Belgian game sort of fulfills all those wishes. Sure, in each of those categories taken separately there are more polished, tighter games. But few other games let you have a bit of everything, in the right doses, where everything is created with passion and attention to detail. The only uncool part of this game is its title, but I guess you can forgive that.

Jul 24, 2013, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)


King's Field

Universal recognition came late to FromSoftware. Well, better late than never. Dark Souls is the new gourmet food of hardcore RPG fans, and its success drew attention to the company's earlier works. Inexplicably neglected, King's Field, their very first game, is an outstanding first-person 3D action RPG way ahead of its time, worthy of being mentioned together with Ultima Underworld and Arena as a genre-defining game. Superb semi-open level design, challenging battles, great atmosphere, and a fantastic sense of growth this game conveys betray its pedigree to anyone familiar with FromSoftware's more recent hits. Get it, play it, savor it.

Jul 11, 2013, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)


UnReal World Sometimes you've just had enough of mainstreaming gaming whose idea of creativity never really varies from their ability to copycat a previously successful title.

In this regard, one seemingly hybrid genre in the indie world is survival role-playing games, originally a genre adaptation of rogue variants where role-playing games goes back to its good ol' traditional roots of character development, getting lost, while still figuring out how to play the game after a few dozen humiliating deaths by mutated chickens.

UnReal World is perhaps one the most well known games of this genre. Introducing a huge world where (scenario depending), the player has to survive the wilds in an almost realistic setting of starvation and dodging bears. Need a spear to hunt? Buying stuff is for newbies. Make a spear on your own, chop wood, create traps to ensnare deer, or if all else fails, ambush wayward travellers and enjoy a new life of cannibalism.

On a side note, the game developers dedicate this game to the indigenous people of the world. So internet points for not creating yet another RPG where you have destroy some primal evil or a romance novel for nihilistic emo-teenagers.

Jun 24, 2013, submitted by Indra is here (19783)


Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

When FromSoftware was releasing their King's Field games, most people didn't pay attention - maybe because early 3D graphics and slow gameplay wasn't fashionable during the multimedia revolution. Now, fed up with linear, overly cinematic, hand-holding games, RPG lovers have opened their hearts to the phenomenon that is Dark Souls. This is a no-nonsense, hardcore game for people who like exploring vast, magnificently designed and darkly atmospheric interconnected worlds, fight very challenging enemies, and gradually build up a character out of a million options available. Dark Souls is the real deal, a game that boldly goes against modern design conventions, a game to be played and studied by everyone. And with a few tweaks, even the weird PC port is perfectly playable!

Jun 13, 2013, submitted by אולג 小奥 (171558)