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Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny (DOS)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  G P (3)
Written on  :  Aug 11, 2001
Platform  :  DOS

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Summary

This game is so good that I created an account for the sole purpose of reviewing the game

The Good

Ultima V was a Christmas present. Boy am I glad my parents saw me reading the box cover while at the Games and Gadgets.

What I liked best about Ultima V at the time that I was a 13/14 year old playing it, was just how compelling and immersive the plot and gameplay were. I can still remember the worry and fear that I had the first few times I walked into a town occupied by a Shadowlord, or first stepped into Blackthorn's castle. I lived this game. I even dreamt this game.

The second best thing I liked, though it dovetails into the first, is how smart the game was. As a 13/14 year old, I never before heard the words Avatar or Codex or Stygian or Mandrake Root, or mantra. Nor did I ever stop to think about the importance of virtue. This game challenged and enlightened me. I'm grateful for that.

Now, 10-11 years later, what do I like about it? I like the top-down point of view. I like the icon-based combat. An icon-based--wait-for-your-turn-to-attack gameplay has the advantage of building tension as you wait to see whether you will have enough time and luck to manuever your badly wounded party member out of the battle field. Tension/atmospherics--they are part of what made this game so great. The, um, "live action," swordplay of today's games just doesn't do it for me. I don't so much enjoy to fight as I do to think and manage. Ultima V understood that and took advantage of that.

Lastly, I'd like to say that I really wanted to help the people of Brittania. This game was compelling, immersive, smart and taut. But most of all, it was the greatest video game I have ever played.

The Bad

What didn't I like about Ultima V? Ultima VI, Ultima IX and any other RPG I have since played or tried to have played. This game spoiled me. It was my first real RPG experience, and by far it has been my best. Nothing compares.

Graphics? Well, I'd trade in my video cards etc for my C64. The graphics were clean and just fine, thank you. What's more, by not having today's wizardry, the player was allowed to actually imagine the world for himself, to fill in the world's missing pieces with his own imagination. In that regard, the game was allowed to be personal and the player interacted instead of just having all the cliffs and waterfalls etc. laid out for him to see.

Typing in responses? Again, this is not a knock, but a positive. Beyond routinely asking for a character's name and job, you were required to at least put some thought in picking out what were the key words in the conversation that would unlock more information. The game kept you active. It didn't just ask you to select one of three possible responses, then read the character's response, and then repeat the process for the other two original responses.

I loved this game. It's only fault was that it made every other game I have played a disappointment.

The Bottom Line

I would describe Ultima V as an involved RPG that pulls you in because the characters are interesting, the plot is smart and challenging, and the gameplay let's you think. Ultima V is my favorite game of all time. I CAN'T RECOMMEND IT HIGHLY ENOUGH.