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Pagan: Ultima VIII (DOS)

76
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Tibes80 (1495)
Written on  :  Jul 28, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars

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Summary

Hard to get past the short-comings but ultimately immersive and rewarding...

The Good

Ultima 8 was oft berrated at the time of release for moving away from the traditional Ultima style, e.g. the changed isometric perspective, no party system and rendered (not hand painted) graphics. Putting that aside however the game's graphics are excellent for the time and the world is even more finely detailed than in Ultima 7.

The removal of the party system and having the player being alone for the whole game I found as a bonus too. The atmosphere and loneliness that this creates is invaluable in sucking the player into the world. As the player gains skills in spellcasting and the like you get a real sense of "a single force to be reckoned with" evolving in your character.

The story of this game I find is more memorable than previous games (probably because it takes place in a different Ultima universe) and there so many cool little touches that stick in my memory.

The Bad

The game was not without it's problems. Certainly the release version was plagued with problems; the worst of which made the jumping puzzles next to impossible to complete. In the release version the Avatar could only jump set distances and directions which made landing on specific targets (e.g. moving platforms) a very hit and miss affair, involving a lot of saving and reloading.

This was addressed (along with numerous other problems and bugs) in the patch release. The patch made it so the Avatar jumped to wherever you pointed the cursor, provided it was in range, and although the jumping puzzles were still irritating, you could put up with them.

The Bottom Line

This game requires a bit of effort to get into; to get past the bugs and gameplay flaws, however at its core is a good story and excellent attention to detail which made (for me) a memorable RPG-come-action experience.