Written by  :  Vance (101)
Written on  :  Oct 18, 2000
Platform  :  DOS

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Umm... ah... well...

The Good

Well, it still had the same basic feel, STORYWISE, mind you, of the Ultima series. The implementation isn't as bad as most people claim, the debunkers probably mostly being those weird purists who resisted the new interface and graphics rehaul back in Ultima 6. The new spellcasting system is also slightly less cumbersome in the long run, something that definitely needed fixing after the switch to real-time. Oh, yeah, and the graphics were a lot cleaner than the previous outings, so that the Avatar didn't get lost whenever I passed a tree.

The Bad

Okay, I try being nice. REALLY I try, but I think that badness is inherent in most every game there is. It's just the varying degrees we have here. Ultima 8 is well balanced in these respects. First, even though the new interface is not bad, it's a radical departure from the RPG style of the old Ultimas. Richard "I wear costume jewelry" Garriot should have remembered that his audience consists of people whose idea of strenuous physical activity is placing a conference call, and all the additional clicky-clicky action here gave several people heart attacks. And to be serious, some of those platform jumping sections were pretty rediculous. Second, while the story is still pretty involved, it seems that the Avatar has to behave like a total hooligan to achieve his goals. This is fine for Ultima, or should I say Ultima One through Four, but hey, we're an Avatar now! I fully expected part 9 to depict a fall from grace, but apparantly the moral here is "Hey, it's not my planet. Let's litter!" If there is actual alien life in the universe they probably haven't contacted us yet because they have played Ultima 8, and they know we suck.

The Bottom Line

This is actually a nice game. If you don't mind something different, something a little more actiony, try it.