Very similar to The Black Gate, without all the bugs
First of all, I'd have to say that I liked this game far more than The Black Gate, part one of Ultima 7. The paper doll inventory was different and interesting, but I'd have to say that that was nothing new--Event Horizon/Dreamforge have been using that method for years. I liked the new setting of the game, with its different monsters and characters. Although this explains where the other towns went--except for Vesper, I don't think they've been in any Ultima game since Ultima 3. The graphics were the same for Ultima 7. The exception here is that you could sell more items for cash in this game, until you got the spell False Coin. Jewelry and certain leather and antique armor items could be sold, as well as reagents--I preferred this to only being able to get gems and gold bars and nuggets in Ultima 7. While some spells were the same, others were different. The add-on for this game was no cakewalk, though, but well worth it--not only did you get the highest stats, you also ended up with some really useful items, like the Ring of Reagents--you never had to buy reagents again! Music was exactly the same as Ultima 7, part one. The ending was really great--the animation at the end was spectacular. And NO BUGS--yippee!!
The fact that almost everyone in the towns died at the end of the game--what the heck was up with that?! The fact that Dupre killed himself--ok, so it was to save the Avatar, but WHY?! even have this in there!!
The Bottom Line
Very, very similar to Ultima 7. I think most hardcore Ultima gamers didn't really like the change in setting, but I really liked it.